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Change is GOOD but Damn that penguin!

Is there an angry Penguin bearing down on you?

Change is GOOD (but Damn that penguin!)

Hi, it’s Mike Liebner here with a few words on the ever changing SEO landscape.

There has been a lot of confusion and misinformation going around these days regarding changes Google has made to their search engine results. It started about a month ago with the deindexing of a lot of websites and once again the past week with new changes how Google is ranking websites in search results.

A lot of confused people are speculating about things that don’t have any real world proof of and are passing the info around as if it is factual.

Google loves when people pass around all kinds of bad intelligence because the NOISE helps make it more confusing for SEO type people to “manipulate Google” for top rankings.

It’s understanding to expect that Google wants to show good results, but the problem is that when major changes such as with this so called Penguin update affect so many legitimate websites and businesses, that people start to yell and scream and panic.

There are actually petitions being passed around to demand that Google do something to fix what they just did.

Good luck with that!

Here is the Google Penguin petition if you want to read it.

I suggest instead of hoping that someone else will FIX the problems you may have encountered that you accept a little responsibility and put some effort into finding out the solutions to any losses that you may have incurred from the algo changes.

Try to focus on what you know is really happening – ideally to you and your sites – and don’t make too many assumptions unless you see for yourself they are indeed fact based conclusions.

If you were impacted by the changes Google has been making I sincerely believe you can make changes and do some sensible things to get things back on track.

Now, first off – if you’re in this web publishing thing for the long haul, which I am, you need to adopt an attitude of confidence in your abilities to do better than most other people who plain and simple do not belong here.

We can beat them even IF the rules change. So do not give up.

Simply do what it takes to get back on top.

So what has happened? Has Google made changes to intentionally rub out small timers like you and me? Are they trying to favor the fat cat established authority sites and big corporations and edge out the little guys from the top of the search engines?

Maybe – that’s certainly a part of it. The reason they would do that is because the fact is most big budget websites put out better quality stuff and have more social signals. Sure – they likely paid for it. They have huge ad budgets and teams of people doing all sorts of things. BUT I don’t think the changes are so BLACK and WHITE that it will eliminate any chances for small publishers to get big traffic from top rankings.

It just means we need to earn the spots and do the kinds of things that other top web sites are doing.


If you lost sites that were de-indexed by Google you may just want to start over with new sites. That is up to you. It’s hard to say what to do to get them back in and it may be tough working blind because Google won’t tell you exactly why and you’ll have to fix everything – even if it was NOT the reason you got de-indexed. Once again – your call on whether the site is worth the effort.

If it is simply a matter of a drop in rankings for a keyword phrase or a handful of them – it should be easy to get back on top.

The key is still getting good quality links and social signals from pages that are indexed and crawled by Google.

Now – if you had LINKS coming from sites that were de-indexed by Google you will be affected. It doesn’t mean you were penalized so much as you have lost link juice from sites that were indexed.

Simply get more links to replace any that were lost on sites that are no longer in Google.

Be aware that this ONE THING may just be enough to get you back on top reasonably fast. If you lost links from sites that were de-indexed you need to GET MORE LINKS to replace them! That will help you move up! NOT removing links! You need MORE LINKS not less!

If your links appear on those de-indexed sites it will not hurt you. It just won’t help you. If Google is NOT crawling the sites – just forget about it and focus on new links.

The de-indexing that happened a month ago was a pre-penguin effort before an actual update by Google and was done to clean out some garbage from the index and test what would happen IF they did X Y and Z.

A lot of sites were de-indexed and that’s just the way it is. A few might come back – but instead of worrying about something you can’t fix – why not focus on something you CAN fix – like getting FRESH new links that you know Google will appreciate.

How do you know they will appreciate the links? Well – for one – if they INDEX the pages that the links are on – that’s a pretty good sign they value the links.

If sites dropped in rankings it most likely is a reflection of losing links from sites that were LINKING that are no longer IN the index and therfor not being crawled. In addition there are some new recent scoring adjustments that may also be a factor, but since we do not know what those are exactly we can only guess.

My guess is there is a much higher weight on SOCIAL SIGNALS. You know – buzz.

If a site only has one kind of links and NO BUZZ or any of the typical links from Web 2 sites and other social type signals – well – the site is out of balance with what the best sites do.

If NONE of your competition does those things – you may be ok – BUT if you are targeting REALLY COMPETITIVE BIG MONEY KEYWORDS welll… you know – you’ll need to DO MORE to convince Google YOUR PAGE is better.

It’s always been that way and it still is. There just be a new way they score pages and you need to adjust.

This SOCIAL change also may be the reason that the BIGGEST of the big authority sites like amazon seem to be gaining such a huge advantage from the Penguin update.

There is an increased valuation of social signals and this provides a boost for the biggest of the big authority sites (like amazon) who get lots of Google + and Facebook likes and links form all kinds of different web 2 places.

If you want to compete for really BIG VOLUME keywords you MUST be prepared to do a little extra work and get some social signals coming in to your site. How much depends on your competition.

Sites that are heavily dependent on links from only ONE or a few places will have a harder time ranking on top, especially if the social signals are weak or non-existent.

As far as blogs being good places for links – they still are – just try to link in more different blogs and make sure you VARY YOUR LINK TEXT (more important than ever – don’t act like a robot!)

Quality in-content relevant links from pages indexed by Google are still the best kind of links and will absolutely help you get top rankings – especially when you have a quailty page and some social signals.

If the pages your links are on are indexed – then the links will have value – otherwise Google would not bother indexing the site if it had no value.

Now there are obviuously many little other factors that are NOW in the mix in the overall ranking formula Google uses – so there is NO BLACK OR WHITE – RIGHT OR WRONG method – the rules to follow are simply not clear enough.

IF you want the MOST link juice from the links you are getting in a blog or anywhere for that matter – the URL linking must be indexed by Google and those links TOO should have some social signals.

You know.. the real world social signals – like links pointing to it – social bookmarks from delicous and other sites, Facebook likes, Google +, Twitter tweets with links, comments, forum links, links from authority domains like digg, reddit, tumblr links, a good mix of nofollow and dofollow links, links from authority web directories etc. etc. etc

Yes – I know what some people are thinking. This requires extra work. That is true. But unless you only want to focus on LOW HANGING FRUIT the really good TRAFFIC will require effort.

The more traffic a keyword gets – the more competition you will have that is willing or able to do those extra things.

If they’re doing them and you’re being lazy – well – sorry… they will beat you.

Flip it around.

You do the extra things like social signals if they are needed for some of your keywords and YOU will beat them. Just do a little more than they do and you’ll be on top.

So the biggest change or advice for a new path is I would suggest that you should NOT do the least you can and try to get away with it. Yes – links are still important and you want good links from within related relevant content but you should also put some effort into getting social signals to your websites, web pages and even those external web pages that link to your pages to insure they also get the most value from each “vote” for their content.

Get good links. Get some social signals. Get some social love for the links linking to your pages.

Oh – of course – your sites NEED to have good quality content – especially on the home page! It can’t be a duplicate or spun article and ABSOLUTELY stay away from using OLD articles from ezinearticles. Those articles are abused and simply appear on TOO MANY SITES! Try not to use them on yours. PLR is much better but if I were you I would make sure my home page has a well written original article that can’t be found anywhere else.

I realize it may be hard for a lot of people to accept the changes that Google has made and how they are forcing us to do new things – especially newbies to understand what is going on – but just remember that Google is a search engine and that they will ALWAYS make changes so their results are good and they stay in business.

We can always find ways to incorporate the things we learn are working and while we may have a temporary setback with some of our sites or pages – it’s very possible to get back on top with a little extra effort! All you need to do is a little more than the guy who has a page above you.

As for blogs still passing good link juice – they still do if they are indexed by Google. Remember it is NOT just ONE factor that makes a page #1 – it’s a combination of factors.

Links from within BLOG CONTENT that is RELEVANT will still help you if you do other things that are also important – like having social signals!

Yes there are other NEW factors NOW in the mix – so there is NO BLACK OR WHITE rules to follow, but it has always been that way. We just need to figure out the shortest ways to get to the top.

As always I will be doing my best to help you.

Best wishes for your online success!

Mike Liebner

SEO and Marketinng Tips from Mike Liebner

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  1. Hi Mike

    My main money making site has been moved to the back of beyond by Google. It was 8 years old and had 1000’s of backlinks from a variety of sources.

    I’m totally over this and am moving in a different direction from now on that doesn’t rely on search traffic.

    Google can take it’s search engine and shove it where the sun don’t shine!

    Thanks for the good post!

    Comment by Wendy Owen — May 2, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

  2. Thanks Mike for all your efforts all along ever since I joined your BU. My sites dropped and I have been going all around the net to find solutions. All I could find are speculations without any tangible advice. Some have even started to offer services which common sense does not approve of. This post is about the most comprehensive because I found.

    After checking my link profile in the Google Webmaster tools, I discovered that over 60% of them have gone. The majority of the ones showing are from your blogs and some social sites.

    Comment by Admin@Shoppingmentary.com — May 2, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

  3. What about buying “Likes” from Fiverr. Seems okay except they all come in at once.

    Comment by Sarah — May 2, 2012 @ 6:02 pm

  4. Hi Mike,

    You always explain in a simple manner. I agree with everything you said. I had many links pointing from websites that were deindexed. My sites were affected as far as their rankings, but they weren’t deindexed.

    I have now implemented a ‘social’ plan…one which I have always stayed away from as it has never interested me.

    I guess it’s that old saying, “It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease” or in this case the Google love!

    Comment by Susan O'Dea — May 2, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

  5. Mike,

    You have made some very important points that we all should adhere to for ranking our sites in Google. Yes I had a few sites that lost ranking because I had links to my sites on network blogs that were deindexed.


    Comment by Larry — May 2, 2012 @ 6:46 pm

  6. Lots of good solid advice here and very timely too, as there are so many people at the moment who are in a really big panic about this new penguin guy. Thanks for the article, I really enjoyed it.

    Comment by Google Traffic Pump — May 2, 2012 @ 8:52 pm

  7. Change is GOOD… But NOT this one!

    Google will not admit to this and neither will Matt Cutts, they might be a billion dollar company but they have underestimated the consequences of the current updates and have got this one horribly wrong. And the assumption that having a great looking site with lots of unique content and a very low bounce rate appears on the surface to be the obvious answer to better rankings and more traffic.

    But then how do you explain this… Who can be more authoritative in the DIY industry with more unique content other than Tim Carter the founder of askthebuilder.com, he’s been operating his site for 17 years, and was even featured on googles own site as the perfect example of a quality site displaying adsense ads, and yet his traffic has tanked massively – by 80% (eighty percent) you can read what he has to say right here were he is pleading directly to Matt Cutts

    And now that negative SEO has reared its ugly head the situation is lot more serious than some would make out… Terry Kyle was quick to spot this and informed his subscribers of a negative SEO case study on his trafficplanet forum. This has now gone viral and now we have the industries other top SEO experts, Rand Fishkin and Arron Wall giving their analysis, and to be frank it is not pretty, especially when you consider that a heavily ‘Google’ penalized site can seriously harm a competitor sites ranking with something as simple as a 301 domain redirect. This isn’t fiction or misinformation this is happening right now to honest ‘white hat’ web publishers who wouldn’t dream of manipulating the search engines in anyway.

    Matt Cutts certainly isn’t blind to all of this, I honestly think that he and his spam team have been taken by complete surprise not foreseeing the consequences and repercussions of their latest update… The question is how do they plan to address this giant sized ‘cock-up’ of a mess that they have created… I expect that they are hastily working on Penguin 2 update


    Comment by Dmdata — May 3, 2012 @ 6:37 am

  8. Hi Mike,
    My website has been hit by google and been de-index.

    So hard dealing with google the rules keep changing.

    Thanks for the info.

    Comment by Richard Wright — May 7, 2012 @ 1:56 am

  9. I’ve been thinking a lot about the challenges of “QUALITY and VALUE for VISITORS. While this means real effort to provide that value to your website visitors, it will have the effect of clearing out the Blog-marketers that were cutting corners and not creating a website that provided that value. Should be good for the industry.

    Comment by Mike|Internet marketing — May 7, 2012 @ 7:44 am

  10. Personally I have never understood the term “My site ranks [or doesn’t rank] since a website is usually comprised of more than one page and any number of posts. Can somebody perhaps explain what the “my site no longer ranks” complaint actually means?

    Comment by Jon@affiliatesouth — May 7, 2012 @ 10:29 am

  11. Hi Mike,

    The Penguin update presents an opportunity for those who are new to search engine optimization (SEO).

    It’s a great time to get started with SEO. Why?

    The reason is too plain to see. Those who have ranked their sites using paid links and scraped content are now on their way out. And guess who will replace them…

    Yes I still believe everybody has the opportunity to get to the top of Google simply by giving what Google wants: — Compelling, original content which will be rewarded by natural links and social proof (reviews, Facebook/GooglePlus shares and likes, Tweets, etc)

    This is an amazing opportunity if you are just starting out because creating compelling, original content is something you can easily do.

    Just build great sites, optimize them for your keywords and promote them via press releases, social media, guest blogging, video marketing, and “quality” article marketing…

    Hope this helps :)


    Comment by Gerry | Grow Organic Traffic — May 7, 2012 @ 10:52 am

  12. If you don’t know what to do or aren’t sure how to solve your penguin/panda problems there a free pdf on my site at http://ibcynical.com/blog/ that will help you. It’s how I’m going to do things in the future.

    Comment by Authority Website — May 8, 2012 @ 7:19 am

  13. I understand that Google is attempting to provide searchers better results on their searches. In an effort to do so, Google, among other things, decided to more or less sort out websites with advertisement above the top fold. This is done so the first thing the searcher sees on the website is relevant content. Google has also decided to punish websites for unrelated in-links coming to their websites. Actually, or should I say “Really? Website developers have very little control to who link to their websites.

    Google I hope this gets to you; most of the websites that you punish are the ones that run your ADWORDS. I have spent countless hours conducting searches on Google and its competitors. I have found that my Google searches bring up websites with very little content and no ads. Granted these sites do not have ads above the fold and the most likely have very little non-relevant links. However, they are in no way providing the searcher with the information their searching for. The reason for this is that there is no SEO, Webmaster or true operations manager running theses sites. Google, the website with the advertisers, the ones that promote your AdWords are the ones that will make you money.

    They are also so the ones that will do whatever they can to provide relevant content to the searcher because they are running a business. Your current search results are so far off from your competitors. Good advice; Go Back to what you had a year ago. Don’t believe me? Look at your revenue from AdWords, they had to have drop. Support those who support you.

    Comment by Take A Step — May 12, 2012 @ 7:15 pm

  14. Excellent point! People who want to make money with their sites generally provide better content and a better experience! So what if they show ads or prommote things.

    Now on the flipside – it does appear that the algo changes that were made impacted smaller sites more than BIG CORPORATE sites. It does seem Google is more concerened about keeping the CORPS happy and on top of their search. Just look at how amazon and stores are now dominating the top 3 results on most longer tail but still “big money” searches.

    I was looking for info the other day and the sites I have come to trust to provide me with health info were not to be found. It was all mayo clinic and web md and STORES selling stuff that had nothing more than PRODUCT links and pictures.

    How is that going to satisfy people looking for info?

    Not everybody wants to BUY SOMETHING from a STORE when they search on Google.

    Comment by mike — May 18, 2012 @ 11:44 am

  15. You nailed it!

    Comment by mike — May 18, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

  16. It is simply a matter of people not communicating properly. People often refer to their web sites when they should be indicating they are talking about specific URL’s aka “web pages”.

    Comment by mike — May 18, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

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