Recently, Google rolled out Penguin 2.1 to help “clean” up the internet space due to the increasing problem of excessive or spammy looking backlinks. In the past, tactics like link stuffing and excessive backlinks have been used by some Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practitioners to artificially boost page rankings. This unsavory practice has degraded the user experience when using the search engines. Nothing is worse than searching for a review on televisions and receiving search results from a blog post about someone who was excited about getting home after a vacation and how they can’t wait to start reviewing what is on the television.
This shift on how Google is looking at websites is a breath of fresh air for many in the SEO industry… and is a thorn in the side for those who tried to “game” the system by getting unrelated content pointing back to their website. Over time, we should start to receive higher quality and better search results because of Penguin 2.1.
If Google has crawled your website and found problems related to the Penguin release, your ranking have probably been adversely affected (like a manual action) and there are specific actions needed to resolve them. Keep in mind, the process of resolving the problems and your recovery will NOT happen overnight.
First, take a good look at the external links pointing to your website. There are some really powerful and free tools which can help you identify who is linking to you. Evaluate how the links look and if they look spammy. Does the page have your website link and fifty other graphics or banners ads? Does this page linking to you have a ranking itself? If not, there probably isn’t much relevancy or value added. Remember, the name of the game is all about quality and value… not quantity.
Start the process of looking up the owners of those websites which you deem hurtful. Reach out to the Administrators of those websites and ask them of they would mind removing their link to you. Obviously, you can’t make them do it but many website owners will comply if you ask. Here is where you have to throw on your hat from, “How to Win Friends & Influence People” and make your request in a non-threatening or non-confrontational way. I like to throw in a statement saying their website practices are not in question but rather, I’m dealing with a problem and really need their assistance to get things in order on my side. The key here is to document everything. You will need to show Google you did your own due diligence in trying to resolve the issue. If you don’t get the help you need in getting the links removed, Google has designed a tool in Webmaster Tools to help you disavow the links pointing to you.
Cleaning up bad linking structures will ultimately improve the quality of the Internet as it continues to grow. I hope you haven’t been adversely affected by Penguin 2.1 but, if you have, here’s a way to resolving your situation and getting back in the good graces of Google and their bots.