Last week, Google released the first Penguin data refresh, now known as Penguin 1.1 -- as the Matt Cutts, said in a tweet announcing tehe update that it to impact less than 0.1 percent of English searches.
Now, in a latest article, SEOmoz describes how WPMU.org recovered from the Penguin Update. According ot SEOmoz post, the Google Aanalytics on April 24th, 2012, showed that the site was hit by the Penguin Update and the traffic from Google dropped over 81% week over week, and then a huge spike back on May 26th, returning the site to pre-Penguin traffic levels.
The arcitle claims the most influential factor in its recovery was "it was able to remove over a half a million links from sites using their WordPress themes." These sites used a WordPress theme supplied by WPMU.org, all with a link in footer and anchor text "WordPress MU" pointing back to the site.
As the removal of a large quantity of footer links, saying WPMU.org "instantly shut off almost 15,000 'iffy' sitewide, footer LRDs to their profile, dramatically improving their anchor text ratios, sitewide link volume, and more." They were easily able to get that link removed and over 500,000 links disappeared over night. They did not go after additional potential link profile issues prior to the Penguin refresh because they did not have time.
Here is what has contributed to their recovery:
- Pinged blogs that were originally highlighted by Matt Cutts in a conversation with the Syndey Harold - only one removed links, but they did come from a significant volume of splogs on the Blogdetik.com domain
- Submitted WPMU to the Penguin review form, twice, specifically referencing an article that was being beaten out by the links that referenced it
- Used SEOmoz campaign data to implement some canonical URLs to clean up crawl errors and also kill some unnecessary links across the site
- Did a bit of "SEO cleanup" that revealed WPMU.org sitemaps did not exist and/or were broken. Implemented sitemaps and submitted the feeds to Webmaster Tools, which was not happening previously
- Cleaned up numerous duplicate title tag issues as reported by Webmaster tools
- Continued to build natural links to the site and promote other positive signals such as referring traffic and social shares
- Very notably and importantly, got this specific use case in front of Google and also the greateer SEO community that highlighted it.
Also, Google a few months back changed how they described "negative SEO" for years:
Here is how Google described "negative SEO" before changes:
There's almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index. If you're concerned about another site linking to yours, we suggest contacting the webmaster of the site in question. Google aggregates and organizes information published on the web; we don't control the content of these pages.
After the changes:
Google works hard to prevent other webmasters from being able to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index. If you're concerned about another site linking to yours, we suggest contacting the webmaster of the site in question. Google aggregates and organizes information published on the web; we don't control the content of these pages.