Hey guys, I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been hard at work outside of SEO, trying other online money making methods. iPhone apps stuff, local business websites, forex and a bit of PPC. I’ve been talking a break on SEO to see if my sites would recover and try a few recovery methods over the past months. Since Penguin hit on April and the refresh in May my main websites have probably lost 70% of their traffic. Most of my traffic on these sites comes from Bing now. Bing is surprisingly decent traffic, I’m trying to see how I could better rank on Bing over time because I’m getting good traffic considering I barely have any #1 rankings on it, mostly #2-5. As far as I can tell age and having an EMD helps a lot for Bing traffic. Blog networks/article directories also work “well” but not as well as in Google (pre Penguin/2012). Like I said I can get a lot of page 1 rankings but the top #1-3 spot seem to be much harder for me to get on Bing consistently…
301 Redirects to Avoid the Penguin Slap
I tried copying my wordpress installations to a new domain, do a 301 redirect from the old one to the new one and hopefully get my rankings back. Did not work on the 2 domains I tried it. On another website, I then tried a 301 redirect from one inner page to another inner page and it did not really affect anything in terms of Google rankings. Interestingly, Bing still ranks my old inner pages even after a month+ of these inner page redirects and the link just redirects to my new URL. I would have imagined that URL in the search results would have updated faster.
Either way, the net results is at least for my websites a 301 redirect was completely useless. Some people report seeing an increase in rankings for a few days/weeks and then lose it but I basically did not get any recovery, even if temporary.
Diluting the anchor text
Something else I tried was diluting my anchor text. Luckily on some websites I was mostly using ezarticlelink and it’s very easy to remove your links if you so choose (just delete the syndicated article from the database and eventually all syndicated articles are removed). So I tried removing a few articles, and adding a bit more anchor text variation using BMD. No “Major” recovery yet but now that I removed a lot of the links that were overly optimizing their backlink portfolio (and giving most of their ranking power before penguin), I will start re-doing backlinks to these sites as per my new plan which will be outlined below.
How I’m rebuilding my niche sites
I had a few 5 page sites and 50-150 page sites. I’m going to rebuilt my main sites/niches that were giving me 60-80% of my income. While I had 30+ websites, a lot of them never gave me more than $30-100/month and I was often using them as backlink experiments when I found out the niche they were in was not performing as well as I expected it to. I’m definitely not going to rebuild these saving me a lot of time. For the websites that have been in great niches, I’m going to do 1-2 “big” websites and many supporting small 5 page websites around the same content. I’ll be using different backlink strategies to these and they are hosted on different IP’s. If some do not end up ranking well I will use them for backlinks towards the ones that are doing better. Actually, since 301 redirects have not helped me I will also be using some of my old websites to link to my new ones. They obviously have a few years of age and a pr of 1-4 so that might be helpful. I also want to spread out my sites… I’ve noticed that some seem to have manually been penalized by Google over time for poor content or something. It’s too bad because a lot of these are small sites I did not touch in years and I really should have sold them instead of leaving them to rot. Either way, by diving my sites in a niche up I will also be reducing my chances of losing all my traffic in a niche if one site gets a bad manual review. Though I will be working really hard on the “big ones” to keep them updated, like updating the content regularly, answering more comments, building social signals etc.
Tiered linking structure. I’m definitely going to be much more careful about how I do my backlinks now. Most of you are probably familiar with tiered link structures but if not it’s basically “Tier 1″ links to your main website, “Tier 2″ links to the Tier 1 and if you want you go go ahead and do a Tier 3 linking to Tier 2 etc.
Tier 1 links vary (different sites will use different stuff to experiment) between press releases, aged high PR domain links (non spun articles, they will be unique with 1-2 links towards my site) and guestposts. I also have many aged web 2.0 accounts/blogs that I will use for this. I’m also probably going to be using postrunner again from TKA for “cheaper”/less time intensive guestposts on my smaller sites. Of course, the anchor text for all sites will be much more varied than before because of Penguin. I’m currently going for:
Exact Matches: 33.53% (5-10 keywords I want to rank for)
Partial Matches: 12.89% (exact keyword + x words)
Generic : 20.25% (click here, buy here, find out more here, “no anchor text” (image links))
URL Matches : 33.31% (domain.com, www.domain.com, http://www.domain.com)
Tier 2 will be using stuff like AMR, blog comments, BMD and maybe some networks like EZA once more.
Tier 3 for me will really just be using indexing tools like backlink indexer.
That’s about it. I tried fake facebook likes/twitter retweets and Google +1’s but they have not directly helped my website rankings (and in some cases it was temporary boosts in the top 50). Though I’ll probably do a few of my new big sites to get the ball rolling for people wanting to share the content. On at least one of my new sites I’m definitely going to be putting my Google page authorship information on it (basically so people can see my picture near my search results). I already did it for the Link back a long time ago so I might share this niche site with you guys later on since they will be linked under my name anyway.
So that’s it for now, I’m trying a few services too that I might review in the near future. I’ll of course keep you guys updated on these websites and what has worked/not worked. If you guys have any comments on what survived Penguin for you or linking systems that have worked since then I would love to hear your feedback so I can test it out myself on some of the new niche site portfolio :). I’ve been going back 100% into SEO during August and I will probably keep at it another 1-2 months until all these websites are built. Then it will be maintenance while I try other things I have some interest in!