How to Recover from Google Penguin and Get Back on Track

Google Penguin Recover

Google Penguin Algorithm Changes

Just when your website rankings are booming, and traffic is flowing to your website, that’s when Google Penguin decides to jump out of nowhere with one of their algorithm updates. Then suddenly, you find yourself back to square one. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. This past April, Google Penguin decided to launch an algorithm update and it ransacked an enormous amount of websites.

There are several website owners still trying to get back on their feet as they desperately try to flee the ranking penalty.  If you’re still trying to recover, the following are a few helpful tips to get your website back on track.

Figure out the Problem

The first thing you will need to do is figure out why your website rankings fell in the first place. If your traffic and site rankings fell during the month of April, 2012, there is a strong possibility that it’s due to the Google Penguin update.  The next step is to make sure you separate your traffic data for Google organic search traffic. You will then perform an inbound link profile analysis to confirm this is what’s causing the problem.

The reason why you need to do this step is because Penguin analyzes the inbound link profiles of every website on the web. They basically conduct a search for links that seem irrelevant. One of the main signals for an irrelevant (or unnatural) link is found within the anchor text of that particular link. If a large percentage of your inbound link profile has non-branded identical anchor text, you can rest assured that Google will flag every one of your links as being irrelevant.

As a result, you have a full devaluation of every link that contains that anchor text in your inbound link profile. This results in a quick slide in rankings for every keyword with a ‘high exact match’ anchor text ratio.  Many people wonder what the threshold for this type of ratio is, but there is no clear answer. This is because Google’s algorithm adapts from niche-to-niche.

It is highly recommended that no more than 2 percent of your total inbound links have the anchor text for your primary keywords. Plus, no more than 20 percent of your inbound link profile should have exact match keyword anchors.

Detect the Bad Links

The next step is to identify whether or not your website is over optimized. To figure this out, you must gather up a listing of your website’s inbound links. Then do an anchor text report on your domain. You can use a variety of tools, such as Open Site Explorer or Majestic SEO. Then export the results in a CSV file. Once you open the file, start deleting every column except the Total Back Links and Anchor Text columns.

Then create a new column and label it ‘Percent of Total’. This will compute the amount of anchor text in your entire link profile. Then you’re going to highlight the anchor text that has more than a 2 percent ratio.  You will notice that the links that have these anchors are more than likely the ones that are lowering your rankings.

The next step is to verify your website’s Google rankings for those particular keywords. You will be able to determine whether or not you’ve been affected by Penguin if you are unable to find your website in the top 50.

The Penguin Recovery Process

If you’re website is heavily over optimized, you will have to work a little harder to recover from Penguin.  In order to accomplish this tedious process, you will need to delete and dilute. You have to find the links that are pulling your rankings down and delete them. Then replace your inbound link profile with relevant links. The next step is to separate the bad links from the ones that are good.

To perform this step, you must separate every link that has the anchor text that you highlighted. Then export your link results as a CSV file. Open the file and highlight anything with an MozRank or ACRank* of 2 or less. All the highlighted links are the ones you will need to remove.

*ACRank stands for ACitation-Rank. It is a very simple measure of how important a particular page is by assigning a number from 0 (lowest) to 15 (highest) depending on the number of unique referring external root domains. Therefore in order for a page or link to have ACRank of 1 or higher it needs to have at least one external backlink. Below you can see the ACRank distribution table showing the minimum number of referring domains for each ACRank level:

ACRank 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Ref Domains 0 1 2 4 8 24 72 216 648 1,944 5,832 17,496 52,488 157,464 472,392 1,417,176

Perform a Link Removal Campaign

The next step is to get rid of the bad links that have been pulling your rankings down. Simply contact the website owners for removal of your links. You can find the site owner’s contact information on their ‘contact us’ page. This may be sort of a long and tedious process, depending on how many bad links you have generated. Some site owners will remove your link right away, while others may not take them down. The key here is to get as many of the bad links removed as possible.

Launch a New Link-Building Campaign

Once you have submitted all of your link removal requests, the next step is to start a new link-building campaign.  This time, make sure all of your links are relevant (or natural) links according to Penguin’s guidelines. Your inbound link profile must contain many social signals, such as Facebook ‘likes’, social bookmarks, Tweets, etc.).  You must have high domain diversity and high link diversity, such as press releases, blog comments, quality content, etc. You should also have the following:

  • Naked URLS like:,
  • Branded anchors, such as: UnReal Web Marketing
  • Universal anchors, such as:  visit us at, here, click here, etc.
  • Hybrid-branded anchors: SEO news at UnReal Web Marketing

Relevant Content is Still King

It’s important that you have excellent onsite web content. It is also important to have a great offsite link-building strategy such as the following:

  • Create relevant content and submit them on quality article directories and niche-related blogs.
  • Contact bloggers from niche-related sites and offer to create blog posts. Make sure there is a link back to your website, of course.
  • Create YouTube videos Post helpful comments on relevant blog sites.
  • Create press releases about your company and distribute them to high-ranking PR sites like PRWeb.

There are an assortment of ways to gain new inbound links to your website. The key to success online is to have relevant (natural) links and relevant content. Hopefully, this article has shed more light on how to recover from the Google Penguin update.


David Montalvo SEODavid Montalvo is the CEO of UnReal Web Marketing LLC. He has achieved over 2.5 million top 10 positions for Fortune 500 companies since 1997.

UnReal Web Marketing is an Internet firm specializing in Web Design, SEO, PPC, E-commerce and Web Analytics. The diverse talent at UnReal Web Marketing has over 50 years of combined experience in web marketing and web design, and has been instrumental in creating and optimizing more than 1,350 websites generating close to $82 million in sales for small to mid-sized companies throughout the United States.

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