Although Google has claimed that only 1% of search results have been effected, it looks like a ton of people have been burnt yet again.
After reading up a few related blog posts and forums where real people have shared real data, here’s the kind of links Google has now started targeting with Penguin 2.1
Forum Spam – If you’ve been posting comments on forum with money keyword anchor links back to your site, then you could be under the scanner. Google is targeting all sites that are doing this. Its clearly a signal of trying to game the algorithm.
Forum Profile (Bio) Spam – Google is targeting sites that have been leaving keyword anchor links, with or without contextual content within their user profile areas in forums. Again, this is done with clear intent to manipulate the SERPs.
Do Follow Blogs – Finding blogs that allow you to insert DoFollow anchor links was once upon a time a holy grail for SEO. With Penguin 2.1 it can hurt you. If you’ve insert your money keywords within contextual posts on Blogs – you could be susceptible to a penalty.
Blog Comment Signature – Google is now aggressively going after blog comments with anchor keywords used in the signature. This includes both DoFollow and NoFollow links.
Blog Roll Spam – Although this IS safe to do if the blog has a lot of trust and is in the same niche, you need to be very careful with these kind of links, specially sitewide links that abuse this method. Stop doing Blogrolls unless the sites are 100% safe and related. Avoid money anchors, and use brand links and raw domain links or URLs.
Spammy Directories – Directories were targeted in the previous roll outs. Google has turned up the dial on them with this update. So, if you have any Directory listings – its best you get them removed or disavowed.
Classified Ads Spam – Google is going after links on low quality “classified ad” sites. This is easily used to game the algorithm and so the crack down was obvious sooner or later.
Note that the initial roll outs of Penguin only targeted the homepage of websites, but with these subsequent updates the algorithm is targeting all inner pages.
Tips for Recovery
Clean! Clean! Clean! Scrub! Scrub! Scrub! Disavow! Disavow! Disavow!
Its business as usual. Clean up links that have money keywords used AND are low quality links (ie. links that are on pages that don’t provide much value to visitors). Use low ratios of money keywords. Use lots of brand anchors and raw urls anchors, generic anchors, as well as broad niche based keyword links. Have a very high variety of anchors used across all your anchor link profile. Look at what the top 3 spots in your niche are doing using tools like Ahrefs and MajesticSEO and try and follow their lead.
In my next post, I’ll talk about the Humming Bird Update and what it means to us all.