Helping a Penguin 2.1 Victim

penguin-2-1-matt-cutts-updateI had an email from somebody yesterday who I believe is suffering from a Google Penguin 2.1 Penalty. I replied personally to her, but I thought there was some interesting points in there so I have made a more general version to go on the blog here. Here is her email with my answers and comments in italics:

I am helping a Swedish woman to market her Swedish e-commerce site since several years back (I am also in Sweden) for her products as rewards. It is a web shop selling skin care products. I started to work with ranking her site in Google several years back, for keywords like “o****c s*** care”, “****al sk*** care” etc., but the corresponding Swedish words, not these English words.

Back at those times it was just to point as many links as possible to the website with the keywords as anchor texts, the more the better. It worked rather well, they reach Googles 1st page, and 2nd to 3rd page for quite a few relevant keywords. We are only interested in ranking in google.se, the Swedish Google.

I too had a site where I built 1000s of backlinks and I consistently had first page results for all the best money keyphrases. I made a lot of money doing lead generation and the owner of the business made millions. He still has some very nice luxury sports cars! This all came to an end in April 2012 with Penguin 1.0. Since then I have not been able to recover my rankings, but I believe I am getting somewhere now although I am still waiting for a reply from a reconsideration request I sent to Google on December 13th. I have a manual penalty so this step is necessary.

I created my Disavow file using the Link Detox tool from LinkReasearchTools.com which was a real eye opener, I didn’t realise I had so many bad links and so few good ones. I have a LOT of faith in the LRT tools and the training I have had so far seems to be superb. I like their logical Austrian/German precise approach to SEO, it is very refreshing after reading tons of rubbish over the years!

If my manual penalty is lifted I plan to use the Link Detox Boost tool to try and get Google to take notice of the Disavow file faster. From there on I intend to use some of the LRT tools to build new and healthy links. My main problem with doing all this is that the LRT tools are expensive and the only way I could afford to do this is by sharing the cost and offering my services in return.

In particular the Link Detox Boost is a problem as it only features in the higher level of the LRT. Here are some comments and answers about the points you made.

I met a guy on a website offering a cheap SEO service, saying his methods was Penguin safe, he just “worked with safe high PR linking”, so I bought that, as well as another similar service, also high PR linking, promising safety and high rankings.

Unfortunately I hear that ‘penguin safe’  term too often now. LRT have about 32 rules that they analyse links with, most links I look at now come out as ‘toxic’ and certainly web 2.0 properties like hubpages, squidoo etc with keyphrase anchor text come out as a ‘deadly risk’ despite Squidoo and Hubpages having a high PR. Penguin 2.1 was the most complex of Penguin updates so far and most sites with high PR links built by SEO companies got hit.

If you would like to have a look I can give you my password in rankcheckerace.com, do you want it?

I don’t need it, but it might be interesting – up to you.

The penalty is not a manual one. I checked that with help of the videos you gave me links to, thank you. I monitor 3 keywords in Google.se with rankcheckerace; “e**** ******rd” , “natu***** ****ård” and “eko****** ******dukter” . It is words like that she want to rank for.

I would suspect from this that these 3 words were used a lot in anchor text, unfortunately this is probably what has triggered the Penguin penalty.

I purchased a service from Fiverr in December from a good Rumanian SEO guy who prepared a disawow file for me that I submitted in mid December. I received the receival confirmation but have got no other comments and there is no change in rankings as to what I can see with rankcheckerace.

There are two reasons for this.

  1. The disavow file did not include enough risky URLs and some links might be better disavowed by domain rather than URL. Unfortunately you cannot rely on just the links from Google Webmaster Tools to create your Disavow file. LRT Link Detox Genesis uses 22 different sources which I believe includes Ahrefs.com, MajesticSEO and Moz.com
  2. Secondly the GoogleBot has not crawled all the links on the disavow file! Why should it? It didn’t like the links first time ’round, so why go back? This is where Link Detox Boost comes in (see below).

When there is no manual penalty, do I need to submit a reconsideration request or not? I guess not?

No not anymore, reconsideration request are now only possible (and necessary) for manual penalties.

I wonder if you could please advice me on if we need your service and what it could do for us.

  1. I could use the LRT Link Detox Genesis tool to check and improve on your current Disavow file.
  2. Then we can use Link Detox Boost to get Google to take notice of the disavow file. I have yet to use this yet, but see this for more details: Does Disavow Work?
  3. After that we could start to build some healthy links by using some more of the advanced tools in LRT.

Unfortunately, the second cheap service I bought (disaster!) did not deliver in November (I quit in December when I realized what harm they had done) because the seller was in hospital severely ill, but then they did it and sent me the report just before X-mas. I had submitted the disawow file approx. two weeks before that. Should I re-submit a new disawow file with those new crappy links included, to replace the other file? Should I wait some to use your service then? I guess you have to do it before your 1 month subscription elapses, whenever that is, maybe soon?

See above. My month runs out on the 11th January, so I would like to get all the Disavows done before then. Hopefully after that I will be able to afford a Superhero Plan so I will have access to the Link Detox Boost tool, which I know a few people will need.

OK what do you think? Can you help me? The webshop’s gal is back at work Monday. What is included?

Yes I am pretty sure I can help you. I’ll put some prices together over the weekend and let you know. At the moment I am just interested in covering the cost of the tools. I have 4 more days of LRT Training this week, so I hoping to learn much more during the week.

I’ll be in touch before Monday.

Have a lovely weekend

Rick

Meet the Author

Rick Lomas

Rick became ‘interested’ in Google Penalties when Google Penguin 1.0 almost made him homeless in 2012. Since then he has become an expert in fixing Google Algorithmic Penalties and Manual Actions. Rick has cleared over 100 Google Manual Actions since 2015. He has a 100% success rate in penalty removal.

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