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Here’s How We’re Ranking Right Now, Post-Penguin…

July 17th, 2012 · 127 Comments

Hey guys,

A few months back I wrote an enormously long post on Google’s Penguin update, and basically, I ended off by saying that I’d be running tests and then getting back to you with my findings. Yes, I know that was a few months ago – and my apologies for the wait on this – but in our world (SEO), it takes a few months to see how things actually shake out.

But the good news is… it was worth the wait. And for anyone who’s feeling beaten down and confused right now – read through this post very carefully. It just might save your ass from throwing in the towel, so it’s well worth a read…

We’ve since rolled out about 15 mini-sites and have been testing several different linkbuilding methods and onsite factors with those, as well as with individual pages of our primary authority site. While it’s not universal (and every campaign / keyword / site / page / niche / etc is definitely its own animal), we’re seeing some constants that simply can’t be ignored…

And there’s some more good news – this post won’t take a year to read, either! Contrary to the previous post, I’m just going to summarize our findings and simply report what we’ve seen, and what the main takeaways are.

This is far from comprehensive, and we’re continuing to run tests, roll sites, try new linking methods – and so on – but for now, here’s where we’re at. When I have more to tell you (which should be soon), you’ll hear from me then.

First Things First:

This Isn’t Just About “Penguin”

The struggles we face, and the ranking factors and SERP peculiarities we have to deal with right now aren’t just limited to Penguin. The SEO landscape right now is a whole buffet of BS. There are a number of hurdles to jump and landmines to side-step, and it can’t all be lumped into one simple “thing”, (and nor can one single culprit be at fault).

It’s the overall combination of all these things that make up the “New Google”.

But basically, there are offsite factors, onsite factors and niche factors that you have to be aware of – based on our findings. Whether they technically fit under the classification of “Penguin” or not doesn’t matter. Whatever you wanna call it – this is what we’re facing, and this is what works. So take it for what it is…

Additionally:

Careful Not to Step in the Bullshit

Right now there is a lot of emphasis from the “top” (Google’s PR dep’t, Matt “Distinguished Engineer” Cutts) as well as from their boot-licking fan-club (basically any WhiteHat authority/expert) that the way forward is by focusing on “great content”, “user experience”, “relevance” and all the rest of it.

I can assure you, in all the markets I play in at least… that is far from the reality. And anyone willing to tell the truth will tell you the same thing, even if it means being anonymous.

Right now, it honestly seems like two things are happening:

1) Google (the search engine) is broken. The focus has shifted from displaying quality results, to almost entirely focusing on anti-SEO measures. As a result, the SERPS themselves are largely degraded and biased. Especially in niches with high commercial intent.

2) Google (the company) is acting desperate. Google is systematically screwing webmasters, skirting copyright laws and otherwise rolling the dice aggressively to rake in as much as they can right now from their true profit center (advertising), and they don’t care who gets trampled in their path. With recent additions like outright stealing content to display knowledge graphs and essentially forcing anyone targeting product searches into buying their spot – the message they’re sending is pretty clear.

It’s not a “user experience” or “content” that will save you. The only way you’re safe is if you’re making Google money. If not – then nothing is sacred. You’re one algorithm / manual review away from oblivion. Yes, even hugely established websites like TripAdvisor are SOL if Google wants a piece of the pie.

So you shouldn’t have any false illusions about Google, and their true intentions.

They don’t give a shit about “good content”. What they care about, and what they’re obviously focused on, is:

* Profit, and

* Discouraging SEO through Misinformation and Scare Tactics, Thereby Increasing Reliance on Advertising, which increases…

* Profit

If you don’t believe me, then go ahead and leave a comment below that answers these simple questions:

1) If Google can detect unnatural links, then why do they penalize them? Why not just discount them entirely? That would eliminate Negative SEO almost entirely, while simultaneously “killing” spam methods. Provide even a SINGLE benefit to penalizing external links, and I’ll be blown away. (Obviously, it’s a PR move to scare people away from linkbuilding).

2) If Google gave a shit about innocent webasters who are legitimate victims of Negative SEO, then why don’t they follow Bing’s example and provide a Disavow tool? Now I’m the first to agree that disavowing links all day is a massive waste of resources – but hey – at least there’d be some recourse for people, now that Negative SEO is indeed a reality. But c’mon… if Bing can offer this? So can Google. But they don’t. Or should I say… won’t.

3) Why are YouTube videos, eHow pages and webmasters who embed YouTube videos and/or AdSense on their pages receiving “special treatment” in the SERPs? Search through enough high-comp keywords, and you’ll see this trend over and over again… Google is essentially just recycling its traffic into its own, or allied, profit funnels.

4) Why does Google ignore your title tag and display what “it feels is best”? My ass they can detect what’s best for the user. They can’t. What they’re doing, though, is thwarting organic CTR’s for everyone by literally removing control from how your site’s pages are displayed in the SERPs. If they leave your title’s alone, you’re favored. If they’re screwing with them – you’re in the shithouse. It’s as simple as that.

I could go on and on.

Folks – this company is not your “friend”. They don’t care about your “good content”, or your business. They care about moving their profit line up a few percent points every year to keep their shareholders happy, and that’s literally where it ends. In fact, these are just rumors, but there’s actually some pretty compelling evidence that came to light a few days ago that shows you just how anti-webmaster Google might be…

…and if it’s true – it’s beyond cruel.

As webmasters, we are the fodder in their supply chain. And I should add – it’s FREE for Google. All they have to do is spider & scrape YOUR hard work so that they (and their big-brand friends) can make billions, while you watch your traffic dangle by a thread.

So, you know what?

GOOGLE AND THEIR FANBOYS CAN GO TO HELL.

And in the meantime – here’s the reality of how the SERPS actually work, and how to rank for pretty much anything you want in record time…

 

Finally:

Everything I Know About Ranking Right Now, Post-Penguin…

Admittedly, it’s not much, but at least what I’m sharing with you is stuff I’ve actually seen with my own eyes, on my own campaigns. So here goes:

1) EXACT MATCH DOMAINS.

That is the word, folks. Right now, that seems to give you a free pass to rank well, and rank FAST. We’re talking inside a couple weeks, sometimes.

I can speculate as to why this might be. I think it’s simply because if the domain contains a keyword, then that keyword is technically your brand. And brands are “good”, and therefore your inbound keyword-anchors will be seen as “natural”. Or something to that effect. Perhaps it’s just a “get out of penalty free card”.

In all honesty I have no idea. But it definitely accelerates and drastically reduces the effort normally required to rank.

So for your mini-sites, right now, I would only focus on EMD’s. You don’t have to get the actual EM keyword. Let’s say your primary kw is “Porsche 911 Turbo”.

It’s okay to these kinds of variations:

Porsche911TurboCar.com, Porsche911TurboWeb.com, etc.

Throwing a short suffix on the end like that doesn’t ruin the effect. In your linkbuilding, just make sure the majority of your anchors are naked URLs and actual brand kw’s, ie. “Porsche 911 Turbo Web”. More on that below.

2) PageRank Still Matters. Alot.

Social signals and relevance possibly matter, somewhat. I think they’re important to have for no other reason than for diversity and withstanding a bit of manual scrutiny (in the case of real sites, actual biz domains, etc.). But compared to sheer PR?

Nope, sorry. PR still reigns supreme.

However, by “PR” I really mean a combination of actual green-bar PR, and the arbitrary “TrustRank”. Basically, a High PR site by my definition is this:

* PR4+ Green Bar PR

* Real site with real backlinks

How do you obtain these? Buy them discreetly, or guest post and then build in major linkage / juice to the page that links to your site. Basically, inflate the PR of your backlinks, on real sites. Note that many (many!) “real” sites have a review fee or whatever (normally just around $200 or so) where they will “feature” your site in a dedicated post.

I just had a site do this for one of our sites; it’s a PR7 and has an Alexa rating just shy of 600. It cost us $199. That’s pretty damn good. So keep an eye out, this stuff is everywhere…

Do that for real sites, for sure. If you have the time/budget, then do it for your mini-sites if there’s ROI to be had. If not, then just buy shitty HighPR links from SMALL private networks, individual webmasters, etc. Very easy to find this stuff on TrafficPlanet, WickedFire, BHW, yada yada.

Avoid popular vendors or networks. Avoid blogrolls/sitewides. Go for “smart” networks, limited availabilities, one-offs, etc.

They’re not as effective and do carry some risks – but it sure beats “creating great content” and letting the magical link fairies find your site and link to you. (In reality, the only links you get without any outreach/effort in most cases are from scrapers, domain info sites, etc.)

And it’s definitely still about as strong as it gets from a linkage perspective, especially for minisites and EMD’s.

Right behind outright link purchasing is high-quality, High PR blog commenting. NF comments will actually still pass authority and some link juice. We’ve seen this many times. DoFollow links are stronger, though. But they’re rapidly becoming a scarce commodity. Milk it while you can. (Don’t post anchors in comments. Don’t post links in comments, either. Just use a normal-ish name and enter the URL where it asks you to do so – commenting is purely for PR/juice).

3) Link Shields Work Like Crazy With EMD’s!!

Link shields (tiered structures) are working VERY well right now with EMD’s. We literally ranked on page 1 for an insanely competitive keyword (in a notorious financial niche) with a 3-page minisite in a total of 10 days… and all we’d done is order the $200 “Results Package” from HOTH.

(HOTH is a well-known link shield / tier service. There are many others out there and many are effective, but HOTH is definitely worth mentioning, and I recommend it).

This won’t work for every keyword, and I think an EMD is almost required, but when it does it’s magical.

What’s crazy is that – really – all you’re building is a handful of boosted links. But Google responds to it – and generally, much more quickly than I’ve ever seen in the past with this kind of method.

Definitely give this a shot. HOTH is well-priced, and there are several other options out there spanning from riskier (cheap) options to far more diverse options costing several hundred $$’s. Use what works best for you and your niche/budget.

4) Use Short, Not-So-Obvious Title Tags

Long-winded titles will often be REPLACED by Google’s own “title writer” algorithm, which is designed to apparently describe your page to users better than you can yourself.

So make them as short as possible to avoid getting “help” from Google.

Don’t just use your primary kw target as the the title (standalone) but be sure to include it “naturally”.

If your title tag is “Black Mold DIY Guide”, then use something like “The Definitive DIY Guide to Black Mold Removal”

5) Dilute Links and Anchors, Steady Drip.

Blasting your site won’t get you far. We’re seeing that a “soft touch” is really the key to seeing rapid SERP gains, again, particularly with EMD’s. Your rankings will generally come from High PR backlinks and “boosted” premium web 2.0 links (like Link Shields), but this needs to be “insured” and diluted with a nice spread of everything else.

Your primary keyword should only comprise maybe 10 – 20% of your overall anchors. MUCH of your anchor portfolio should be random/generic. A big portion should also just be naked URL and brand signal. Between nakeds/brand and generics (“this site”) you’re basically looking at about an 80% chunk, at least.

Well, that’s what we’re doing, anyway – and it’s working.

As for link type – just get as much stuff as you can, as steadily as you can. Press Releases, articles, bookmarks, web2′s, twitter/FB, some wikis, even profiles & crap links – it’s all good IN MODERATION.

Just automate this and buy packages, etc. Again, peruse the above mentioned forums for literally endless options on these.

Drip this stuff out. Slow burn is the key… that way you have no “link velocity” issues, you just have a steady link profile growth that stays under the radar. Again, the purpose of all this crap is mainly just to HIDE your “real” ranking factors. Namely, paid / inflated High PR links.

So keep that in perspective when you’re budgeting your campaigns.

6) EMD Minisites Only, Right Now.

I strongly advise you to just focus on rolling out a perpetual production-line of exact-match-domain minisites, one after the next (or preferably in batches of 5 or 10, if the budget allows). Spread these out a bit, between a few different IPs/hosts, and also spread out your link types/services from site to site.

This is MUCH SAFER than going and investing all of your time into “one big site”. Keep in mind that Panda’s “all it takes is one page to tank all pages” policy directly works against the viability of building larger properties.

Plus, Google’s philosophies on what’s “right” will perpetually change, as well. So you might as well build a giant network of feeders that are largely self-reliant.

Rather than “building a brand”.

I really hope that changes, some day – for what it’s worth. I really wish providing great content / UX and building real sites was worth doing. But Google is making it clear that they are at war with all SEO’s, that webmasters are pawns in their empire of scraping / stealing value, and that major sites can tank overnight for “sins” (even retroactive sins) that are often far outside one’s ability to control.

You are a source of free content and increased ad revenue to Google. You don’t matter, to them. But they’ll happily use your hard-created content, and display it far below their plethora of top-fold adverts.

So let’s return the favor and make the SERPs our little bitch – a source of free traffic and increased profit for us… and ride the gravy train of FAST EMD Rankings for as long as they last.

See above for instructions.

 

~ Chris

 

P.S. On Thursday I’m sending out a very comprehensive (and enlightening) interview with that guy who made $1.8MM from 3 wordpress blogs (John) I mentioned a while back. It’s pretty eye-opening in terms of:

1) What’s possible

2) Why diverisified ORGANIC traffic channels (ie. minisites, vids, web2′s, etc) are vital for longterm success.

Keep an eye out for it…

Tags: General Marketing Stuff

127 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Emmanuel Ajesin // Jul 17, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Great Post Chris! This google Guyz are something else, I’ll be implement some of the tips here. Thanks

  • 2 Rosenstand // Jul 17, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Thank you for speaking the truth here! I totally agree with you and have written similar posts in my native language (Danish). Google is definitely broken and the SERPs in many, many niches stink big time.

  • 3 Alex Pyatetsky - CEO @ The HOTH Link Building Co // Jul 17, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Thanks for the epic amount of love here!

    Question – have any of your EMD’s been localized (i.e. chicagomechanic.com)? Curious if you have any insights for local.

    Also, do you have any insights regarding .com vs other TLDs?

    Thanks again for actually putting in the hard work and research, not just pontificating the dogma of the day :)

    -AP

  • 4 admin // Jul 17, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Hey Alex, thanks for dropping in man.

    Re: localized domains, I haven’t run any tests on these Post Penguin, but prior to it we found that it was pretty difficult to crack the top-fold (and push up above the G Places listings), the better strategy was to use a virtual office and then set up an actual Places listing as well.

    However, it’s a crapshoot. Some local kw’s trigger the map/places, and others do not.

    Re: .com’s vs other TLDs, all we use is .com or .net and there’s little if any difference between them.

    The exception is for one Canadian campaign where we use a .ca extension.

    Cheers man

    -Chris

    PS Couldn’t agree more on the dogma…

  • 5 Sebastian // Jul 18, 2012 at 5:51 am

    Very well written post. I’m finding EMD’s are working particularly well at the moment and sites that were slammed by Penguin have recently recovered through the process of guest posting / Web 2.0. Will be checking HOTH out and you’ve made yourself a sale hah.

  • 6 Deane Alban // Jul 18, 2012 at 9:58 am

    I appreciate your brutal honesty about Google. I’ve decided to stop depending on Google traffic as much as possible. I’m following a course by Dan Thies – Link Liberation 3 (I’m not an affiliate) which strategically uses social media to build a presence and following. If in the process I get any Google traffic, that will be the cherry on my sundae.

    Chris, I’m very intrigued by this idea of paying a “review fee” to be mentioned on a high PR site. Where can I find out more about how to do this? I’m not as interested in the backlink as I would be reaching a targeted audience fast.

  • 7 david miller // Jul 18, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Wasn’t so long ago that your actuallyrank site had the tag ‘google is your friend’ :-)

  • 8 Bretski // Jul 18, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    As always, spot on and this post couldn’t come at a better time. Honestly, I was sitting here thinking of just tossing in the towel because none of it make sense anymore.

    You’re the best, Chris. I made my first money online thanks to your methods and I always appreciate your help and insight.

  • 9 Steve Gillman // Jul 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Do you think the high PR links and such will work for rebuilding traffic to sites that have been hit and dropped 80% (EMDs), or is it a strategy that should only be tried with new EMDs?

  • 10 Mick // Jul 18, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    As ever loads of useful and useable info – thanks Chris. Have noticed the impact of EMDs myself over the last month or so, so will certainly be pushing on with those based on your reassurances.

  • 11 Greg Morrison // Jul 18, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    What a relief to find another marketer that doesn’t know everything.

    Any of us that are really doing tests know that they take a while to get back. I find it so funny when big changes like this happen and people say “none of my sites were effected – it’s because what i’m doing works – buy my shit”.

    Anyone who says they fully know what’s going on with SEO is full of it. They’re so many skewed results and random stuff going on that it’s impossible to know exactly what’s going on.

    I’ve made over a million dollars with mini sites over the last year…and I STILL don’t know the exact best way to rank a site, as there’s still very random stuff going on.

    Although my test results are pretty damn close to yours.

    BTW thanks for the recommendation for HOTH. I’m running some tests, video documented as part of a training course, and I’m going to try out HOTH for one of the sites I think.

    If it works well they’ll owe you a big thank you, as I’ll be spending a LOT of money with them, and then referring them down the line.

    Thanks for the good post,

    Greg

  • 12 Google, Penguin, Panda. . .and More Billions! | Sean Khang // Jul 18, 2012 at 1:44 pm

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  • 13 Preserve Mac // Jul 18, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Chris, great info. We have gotten slaughtered by Google since these updates. We have been diligently looking for new paid services and will definitely check out your recommendation of HOTH.

  • 14 Kendrick // Jul 18, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Great stuff as usual Chris. Thank you for sharing your research, findings and insights.

    Quick question regarding link diversification –

    When you say, “Your primary keyword should only comprise maybe 10 – 20% of your overall anchors”, could you clarify what counts as “primary keyword”?

    In other words, using your example above for “Porsche 911 Turbo”, would “Porsche 911 Turbo Web” or “red Porsche 911 Turbo” be considered using primary keyword, or are those minor variations “diverse” enough to include in the spread/diversification (especially since the primary keyword is still there in its entirety and in the same order)?

    Thanks in advance,

  • 15 Jon // Jul 18, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Chris,

    Should popular link networks like Linkvana, UAW and Articlez be used to build links to Web 2.0s?

    Or avoid them altogether and instead use Web 2.0s, article directories and other guest posts to link to tier 1 links?

    If you’re still using LV, how are you doing so?

  • 16 Harvey Vaughn // Jul 18, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Amen my brother! I couldn’t have said it better myself!

    Google is about raping the web for it’s own profits and has everyone convinced at the good nature of it’s intentions. Meanwhile they are building the largest most advanced database on individuals and their habits and and preferences. When times get a little tough they will be selling that database to anyone who will pay.

  • 17 Terry // Jul 18, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Chris (and all else brave enough to listen to my rant),

    A few metaphors first.

    Google = wrestling a greased pig while wearing a rubber suit.

    Paid Media (NOT Google Adwords) = shooting fish in a barrel, overnight results and must less Matt Cutts BS!!!

    Seriously, all of the “crap” going on with SEO these days has push me so hard toward PPV, Facebook Ads, POF, etc. that it’s been a huge eye opener.

    Why do SEO at all; really!

    As you said, Google does not care about us at all; never will – it’s like constantly asking out the hottest girl in school and her continually turning you down; and after Panda/Penguin it’s like STILL asking her out at your 20 year reunion; it ain’t happening, ever.

    My advice, do PPV/CPV, build an opt in list in a hot niche, email weekly affiliate offers, cash checks. Forget about that hot girl from high school (i.e. Google), she’s not going to EVER go out with you.

  • 18 John // Jul 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Hi Chris,
    I have a couple of questions regarding both the review sites you mention and tiered linking.

    Firstly if my understanding is correct link shields ….are they basically backlinks to your backlinks and so on? With multiple levels? Backlinks to backlinks to backlinks for example?

    And also, you say “Note that many (many!) “real” sites have a review fee or whatever (normally just around $200 or so) where they will “feature” your site in a dedicated post.”

    I dont understand this? Are you referring to standard press releases like prweb.com? Or something else?

    If its something else, could you be a bit clearer?

    Thank you.

  • 19 Noob // Jul 18, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    I did not hear from you for ages, then started to hate you after you suddenly came out with a blog post after so long. “Yea wtf, new post, selling something, fking marketer at his trick again, total bullshit”

    And then I read on to point 4 after “Careful not to Step in the Bullshit”. I changed my mind immediately. I’ve always respected you as an internet marketer, but I kinda forgot about why I “loved” you for after not hearing from you for so long. Then after reading point 4, I remembered. I don’t ever leave comments in the comment section of any BLOG. But here I am today, doing what I’ve never done. You’re the go-to guy in internet marketing, hands down. God bless you Chris & your lovely wife. Now, I remember somewhere in your posts you were married recently and was a Canadian. If I was not such a fan, I would have completely forgotten these facts.

  • 20 Dan // Jul 18, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Superb stuff per usual Chris!

    The nice thing about your finding, is it parallels nicely with mine :)

  • 21 Ken // Jul 18, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Hmmm.

    I appreciate the studies and your results. Good work.

    I do want to point out one thing, though.

    Adsense sites are not given a pass by Google. All my adsense sites went to the bottom of the sea. Right along with my Amazon sites.

    So before everyone starts building adsense sites based on the above “safety factor”, it is not true. Adsense is not a “magic” shield against Google’s wrath.

    If you built bad links, your adsense sites got penalized with everyone else’s.

    Chris, I love you, man. Just sharing my experience.

    … And I have to say that I am surprised that folks are leaving links here. Given your profile, I would think that Google would mark this as a bad site to link from.

  • 22 Mick // Jul 18, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    What did you discover about on-page factors Chris? – apart from the titles?

  • 23 Bjorn Burgen // Jul 18, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Hi there Chris. Great write up!

    A small question regarding the HOTH links. Have you tried both the “HOOTH Results” and the “HOOTH Results Plus+” packages? Just wanted to hear your experience with it as the price is almost doubled in the Plus packages :-/

  • 24 Tim Godfrey // Jul 18, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    great post. very interesting. thanks Chris

  • 25 Marc // Jul 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Love the post! I went over and checked out Hoth. Those dudes have it going on! Just ordered with the and anxious to see what happens. Thanks for your candor, tired of the relentless fluff!

  • 26 Rob // Jul 18, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Great post as always!

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  • 29 admin // Jul 18, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Hey guys,

    I’ll be hopping back on here and answering Q’s shortly, but just to clarify something – HOTH isn’t the only option, there’s many others.

    SEOlutions.biz is one we’re also using for link pyramids, and there’s countless services like it on the (real) SEO forums, like BHW, Traffic Planet and so on.

    Anyway, I have a conf call right now but like I say, I’ll be back shortly to respond to some the posters here.

    Especially you, David Miller :-)

    -Chris

  • 30 Ed // Jul 18, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Thanks mate. Too many folks have been pussy-footing around. They aren’t playing with a straight deck and they haven’t been definitely in my personal experience since 2006 at least.

    That’s when they banned me for violating a rule they introduced 3 weeks to a month later.

    There’s a guy Carter who’s been their ‘poster boy’ for a long time. They used to roll him out at conferences and they used him to help defend themselves in court.

    They shafted him royally at the last algorithm change. From being their darling, he’s complained on record that now they do not return his calls. Says it all.

    I’m personally working as much as possible in getting my traffic in other ways. When this kerfuffle settles out further I may look more interestedly at SEO. Then I’ll pay attention more to people like Chris who are seeing the big G for what they are; and calling them on it.

  • 31 Glenn // Jul 18, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    I think this is the best post-Penguin review I’ve read and I’ve read a lot on this. Very impressive.

    A couple of things if I may.

    Google’s hypocrisy is appalling. “Do no evil”? My ass. They are Machiavellian in their SEO business practices. If there was ever an organization other than the Democratic Party that needed a good cayenne pepper enema, it’s Google.

    Like Deane Alban above, I am interested in some sources to pay a “review fee” to be mentioned on high PR sites.

    Won’t writing this alert Google to new strategies IM’ers are using? They are manually reviewing sites now, I believe, and adjusting rankings accordingly. Believe me, I appreciate the article here very much. It’s just that Google has become evil and wants to thwart SEO folk at every turn.

    Thanks again.

  • 32 Alexander, MrAutopilot.com // Jul 18, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Hey Chris, great article, pal, thank you for sharing your insights and test results. You’re one of a select few I always pay attention to. EMD (exact match domains) has been a ‘seo secret’ many ‘reveal’ only in their courses to newbies.

  • 33 Jackie // Jul 18, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    As a consumer I have had to move from Google to other SERPS just to find any useful information anymore.

    A search on Google now just gives you pages and pages of Amazon, Ebay, Wal-mart, Nextag, Target, Kmart, etc. These are all urls that everyone knows by heart and if they wanted info from there would just key in the url.

    It simply takes to long to dig through all that to get to a site that you are looking for.

    And relevance is really out the window. Google will rank a site’s about page or sitemap above the really relevant home page.

    There attach on webmasters has ruined their search engine quality for the consumers.

  • 34 Joe // Jul 18, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Im glad someone else is talking sense and offering a real first hand non BS analysis about the recent big G masked updates. Makes a refreshing change from all the other so call SEO drones out their talking about how content is fucking king. Those fuckers still aint realised that content is NOT king and in actual fact its the fucking story! Without a decent story no one will link to it or read it! Anyway RANT OVER…
    One question… On these EMD’s. You know how they are winning now, are these brand new purchased exact match domains with no value? I have seen and worked on various exact matched domains who got hit by the Panda, Penguin or fucking Zeebra, cant remember now… and still the results aint back to where they should be. In actuall fact its been really difficult and I even been nice on links for them, hey Im even getting guest post’s ;-) … Its weird. The longtail keywords on them are OK, its been hit on the actual keyword in the fucking domain!!! Grrr… Obviously this keyword as an anchor has been abused in most cases but hey as far as Google should know, like you say it’s the brand name! Prior to reading your post Ive sort of gave up on EMD however you have now given me a glimmer of hope to continue using all the link services I use like the HOTH too :-) .

    This comment could of been a lot shorter I know realise :-) . Too sum up… Is your experience based on brand newly purchased EMD’s or are any of them domains that have been up for a while?

  • 35 Charles // Jul 18, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    I also wondering about using EM subdomains until you have some sales and traction, then getting the EMD and redirecting to the existing subdomain.

    Unfortunately, Terry has a point. I hate building lists, but it’s now an insurance policy. You have a number of people to market to outside of Google. I was hoping social media would take over, but the email lists still work.

    Combine with a membership site, and you may survive.

  • 36 Steve Gillman // Jul 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Just to clarify; AdSense sites have been hit hard too. We have more than a dozen, with subjects ranging from backpacking to removing carpet stains, and all dropped 50% or more on April 24, and another 20% since then (following a 40% hit on April 10, 2011). After growing our business to six figure over seven years, I applied for a bar tending job today.

  • 37 admin // Jul 18, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    @Deane, #6

    There’s a number of tech/marketing/niche news sites out there that will “review” your product, or service, or interesting site, for a fee.

    The best advice I have for you is to run searches for keywords like “get featured on”, “have your site reviewed” etc. in your broad niche, or even just in general.

    This is well worth doing.

    -Chris

  • 38 Asim // Jul 18, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Hey Chris,

    Awesome post. Just started using actually rank, hope I can see the results iv heard so much about.

    I was thinking if it was possible you could throw in a couple of those local sites Alex mentioned in your mix of testing post penguin. Iv put up some of those for lead gen. Haven’t started link building campaigns on them yet… Would be great if we could get some insight into them…

    Asim

  • 39 admin // Jul 18, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    @David Miller, #7

    First of all, times change. That was long before Google started (openly and widely) penalizing sites for external backlinks.

    Back then, what I said was accurate – that quality linking stood the test of time.

    These days, it’s all just a big giant risk. And it always will be so long as negative SEO is possible.

    Ironically, though, commenting is still one of the best options – high value, real authority, and low investment – therefore low risk.

    I don’t take back what I said, or how I marketed ActuallyRank.com. A year ago, it was a far different landscape.

    There’s some serious flaws in your logic if you think it makes sense to accuse people for hypocrisy for things said in retrospect, when applied to current events.

    Reminds me of the days when “real estate is the safest investment”.

    Ha.

    -Chris

  • 40 admin // Jul 18, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    @Steve, #9

    Recovering sites is a different story.

    In general, there’s a number of reasons why a site can get hit, and there’s a lot more onsite factors these days as well.

    If you have received an unnatural link notice, there’s basically nothing you can do. What we’ve done in those cases is honestly just ditch the domain and move shop to a new one.

    However, if you feel that you’ve only been penalized algorithmically, then all you have to do is improve your backlink profile. The easiest way to do this is with press releases and guest posting.

    Use only brand/naked links and build as many as you can to dilute the kw anchors.

    -Chris

  • 41 Steve Gillman // Jul 18, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Thanks Chris,

    I think we were hit for “over optimization” on all of our sites because of articles distributed over the years (many 7-year-old sites) with the same keyword linked for each site (which ironically were probably responsible for our success). Only one “unnatural link notice,” out of forty sites, and ironically for one of the cleanest (never bought a link). Interestingly that one doubled in traffic after moving it to a new domain and using a 301 redirect, but only for a week–then it went even lower (off 90% now). Not sure if I can overcome the algorithmic penalty for the thousands of links pointing to the others (and not practical to get them all removed), but maybe in time.

  • 42 John Timmons // Jul 18, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Hey Chris,

    Thanks for the article and hello from another Victoria BC web guy – and Porsche fan! Very good advice and I plan to follow it for all my future websites/pages. In my niche it has come to the point where the Google search results are bordering on ludicrous. In their bid to stamp out webmasters who are making money they have made it so that many of their search results are now useless. Nice job Google! Whatever happened to their motto of ‘Do No Evil’? Thanks again for the info!

  • 43 admin // Jul 18, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    @Joe #34

    We aren’t trying to revive domains that have been hit or even ones ranking previously – only new EMD’s.

    It’s a mix of newly purchased domains (com, net) and a few aged domains purchased from GoDaddy auctions, etc.

    Many EMD’s got hit due to backlink discounting in the blognet fallout prior to Penguin (but still continuing).

    Some will have manual actions against them and others will have simply lost a bunch of links.

    It’s all over the place.

    Again – this is why fresh domains for EMD’s (either never before owned or somewhat aged but not cached) is likely the best way to go right now.

  • 44 admin // Jul 18, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    @Greg, #11

    HOTH is great for very targeted EMD’s. Of course it’s not a one-size-fits all thing, nor is it the only service I use or even recommend.

    I also recommend SEOLutions.biz, and Andrew’s (GlobalSEO) service on TrafficPlanet.

    But it’s all over the place, man. For some kw’s it’s golden, for others it will definitely produce a rise in SERPs but it won’t vault you to page 1/2.

    Strange times.

    Really, all you can do is throw shit at the wall and see what sticks.

    Again, why the small EMD site strategy is the only thing that makes sense right now…

    Glad to hear about your success.

    Make sure to save some of that capital to weather the current and inevitably inbound storms…

    -Chris

  • 45 admin // Jul 18, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    @ Kendrick, #14

    Well, basically let me rephrase it like this:

    More than half of your anchors should be naked links and generic anchors (“this site”, etc.)

    Of the remaining 50% (max), the majority should be brand anchors (“Porsche911TurboWeb”) and then maybe 10 – 20% should be actual keyword anchors.

    This includes EM anchors for the primary kw, and variations.

    Basically, just focus on linkjuice for the majority of your backlinking, and then from a few select sources (likely some, but not all, of your paid high PR links) use the target anchor

    -Chris

  • 46 admin // Jul 18, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    @Jon, re: LV, UAW, Articlez

    LV is basically now a dead duck. It sucks, because I’ve used them for years and it was definitely the best “popular” BlogNet, IMO.

    They’re coming out with a new “Everything SEO Under One Roof” sort of marketplace, which should be good, but basically as a BlogNet, I can no longer recommend them – simply based on the risk factor (and the fact that Google has them in their sniper sights).

    UAW, I’ve honestly never directly used them. I’ve built many thousands of links through their network though, via managed services like LexorSoft and forum vendors, though. Still do.

    They are lower risk, but if they’re posting to shit networks as well, there’s still some liability. I would recommend that you only use UAW and similar services to promote 1st tier links – OR – inner pages.

    (You can erase bad blood from deeplinking on your moneysite by simply pulling the page, 404ing it).

    The new Articlez network ties into a very extensive BlogNet that is far larger than BMR or LV’s and is segmented. Each user can only “see” a fraction of the overall network, and they’re user-hosted. It’s not a private net.

    It’s worth using on chuckaways and otherwise low cost sites. It’s also worth using to boost your 1st tier.

    But I would not advise using ANY blognet to directly point at your major sites, sites currently doing well, etc.

    It’s just not worth it.

    -Chris

  • 47 admin // Jul 18, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    @Ken, #21

    Agreed, AdSense and YouTube content is not a “free pass” by any means, but it’s my personal opinion based on many many SERPs that they are given preference over affiliate sites.

    Particularly in high-comp high-intent keyword spaces.

    However, I think it’s an even stronger bias with YT than adsense, by far.

    Seriously test this guys – it works. Put YT videos on your pages. They will rank more easily and more quickly than the other pages of your site.

    It’s total hypocrisy

    -Chris

  • 48 admin // Jul 18, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    @Mick, #22

    For onpage factors aside from titles, the main things are:

    * Site speed – needs to be LIGHTNING fast

    * Remove or noindex pointless pages. Redundant nav pages, tags, etc. Dump them. They’re not helping you, and possibly hurting you.

    * Your content should link to other content on your site, contextually inside the articles. This provides an “authority” signal and signifies that you are not a content farm.

    * Limit affiliate links per page. We keep it to around 2 – 3, max per page.

    * Not conclusive, but there may be an OOP for when title tags exactly match H1 tags on a page. Better and safer to keep them different.

    Those are a few things

    -Chris

  • 49 admin // Jul 18, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    @John, #18

    No, I’m not talking about PR sites, although that is a good link diversity and “quality” signal strategy for basically any site.

    What I’m talking about are established blogs (esp tech blogs) that review new shit/sites/apps for a fee. Normally it’s called a “skip to the first in line” kinda thing, priority review, something like that.

    Just look around, they’re everywhere

    -Chris

  • 50 admin // Jul 18, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    @Bjorn, #23

    Actually I think with the exception of 1 order, all of my HOTH orders so far have been for the Filipino content team.

    That’s because much of my HOTH orders have been done for boosting existing BL’s for a major authority site, YT videos, etc.

    However, if you’re actually going to point these links at a real biz or substantial site, I’d definitely use the Hoth Plus package.

    -Chris

  • 51 Michael // Jul 18, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    The other thing that works great is EMD, with no content other than a blank WordPress blog using your keywords.

  • 52 admin // Jul 18, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    @Glenn, #31

    Re: Google “finding out” our methods… it’s true that they have their ears to the ground in our industry. Truer than ever, actually.

    But the fact is, part of why I’m doing this is to shed light on the glaring inaccuracies that they’re preaching from their high parapet.

    In reality, good content does NOT win. User experience does NOT matter.

    You will get outranked by 2 page EMD’s who have $500 invested in their site, while you have many thousands – not to mention months or years of blood/sweat/tears.

    Those same EMD’s will likely get knocked down eventually. Who cares, throw 2 more up in their place.

    But you can’t do that when a REAL site goes down. And this is happening much more frequently than you might think.

    Again, I strongly recommend you read this post by Aaron Wall:

    http://www.seobook.com/stop-questioning-negative-seo

    So, this is the real reason for my open distaste of Google and “curtain pulling” in terms of how to exploit their SERPs.

    You see, all they’d have to do is discount bad links, rather than penalize them, and greatly increase the value of links from sites that cannot be gamed, and can only be earned. That is seriously all it would take.

    Instead, they go out of their way (to their own detriment) to “punish” webmasters – who give them their content – while perpetually screwing over publishers by pushing organic results further and further down the page to make room for their own endless loop of ads and allied properties.

    When great content and user experience actually starts paying off, I’ll be the first one to advocate it.

    It just simply doesn’t. And so my goal is to help turn up the heat until, collectively, we force them to move their hand.

    -Chris

  • 53 admin // Jul 18, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    @Charles, #35

    Yep, email lists are king. If anything is “King”, it’s a responsive list.

    I think that will be the case for a long time yet.

    -Chris

  • 54 Venita // Jul 18, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Hi Chris
    Why don’t you and a few influential marketers give Google a run for their money and start a search engine that is honest in its dealings with affiliate marketers?

  • 55 admin // Jul 18, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Hi Venita

    It’s a good thought and I appreciate the intention.

    The reality is that it would take billions in capital to do this, and I’m not sure we could even then. In niches, yes, probably. But not overall.

    I think the more realistic path could be to incite revolt among webmasters to essentially dethrone Google by blocking them out. But we’re a long, long way from that point – and they’ve have to be really, really evil for the truly massive sites to consider doing that.

    However, that’s basically what happened to AltaVista.

    Instead, what I think will really happen is that over time, Google will simply hamstring itself by trying to perpetually improve the bottom-line, to the point where it will basically just become a big-brand search engine.

    Then, just like how the record labels fell to an “indy” realm of free ideas/music/distribution, another SE will step up in it’s place, and restore the altruistic balance.

    That could be a few years away, or a decade, but it will happen at some point.

    -Chris

  • 56 R. Geddes Johnston // Jul 18, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Just picked up your email – Popped over – Fantastic post…. But I better hop it – Just after 1:30 in the morning here in the UK, But I just HAD to finish reading.

    I’ll get started first thing when I get up tomorrow, and I’ll be looking into some of your recomendations.

    Once again MANY THANKS & WELL DONE MATEY.

    Maximum respect,

    Geddes.

  • 57 easycash // Jul 18, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Hey Chris

    your article is a good read and entertaining, like always.

    What made me scratch my head was the point about EMD’s.

    My question is, where the hell did all those EMD’s go who have been in the index before Panda/Penguin, if that’s the way to go NOW?

    I see so many blog posts and inner pages on first page so I guess there is a bit more to that, and I really think that it comes down to what Google originally used to create their index

    Links and anchor text.

    Google just needs to tweak here to mess up their index, and what happens is the current BS results we get for a search.

    Over links they can take all the info they need about your site, and if it’s worth to rank it or not (in their eyes).

    I’m with you when you mentioned that quality content, on page SEO, proper image code and all the other stuff is not really relevant. At least that’s what I understood.

    But then I also have a question, and it’s in respect to CURATED CONTENT.

    Would you say that it’s worth to go that route or do you see still see some benefit to 100% unique content?

    Many thanks for your “research”.

    G.

  • 58 admin // Jul 18, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    EasyCash

    I’ve never used curated content for primary sites, so I can’t give you an opinion on that.

    Yes, I know many EMD’s got tanked.

    But take a look at several SERPs, not just a few keywords here and there. Especially in very competitive markets (payday, auto insurance, etc)

    They’re everywhere

    -Chris

  • 59 John Ayling // Jul 18, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Have been waiting for your comment – great practical no bullshit stuff as usual.

    I have a lot of sites that completely died from Penguin, etc… some have recovered.. now I have more of an understanding why.

    Why do you still rely on SEO now when it is so risky? Are the benefits that great that there is still a good ROI particularly with mini-site style production?

  • 60 Ellery // Jul 18, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    I agree totally with you Chris. Especially about “Good content”.

    Recently I am doing SEO for my client and up to this moment, the result is not good.

    They have extremely high quality content, but they are not ranking well.

    At first, I am thinking about: what is “Good content” according to Google? Is content that is written by PhD a good quality content? If this is right, all the SERPs top 10 result should be their essays, not forum links. Above all, who defines “Good content”?

    And after reading your post, you gave me the answer already: Google does not give a shit on good content.

    About link building, at present I am using press release and social signals and see if there is an “instant boost” of ranking. I use HoistSEO and SENuke before and the result seems not very good to me. They improve my ranking just a bit.

    And I think press release matches most of your “6 recommended ranking factors”. What do you think about it, and does it help your ranking?

    Thanks Chris.

  • 61 Kenneth Yu // Jul 18, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Hey Chris,

    Excellent article. You’re one of my primary sources of linkbuilding info.

    Quick question… How about link-building for existing PR5+ authority sites in the Penguin era? What do you suggest?

    Thanks! :)

  • 62 John // Jul 18, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    I’m struggling to find any of these sites that will feature my product/website on their site for a paid fee?

    *sigh

  • 63 John Chen // Jul 18, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Thanks for such high caliber content to wake us up, Chris!

    This truly is “reality” the way the internet is… I’m going to send this to all my friends.

  • 64 Frederik Trovatten // Jul 18, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to write and share you tests.. As you I’m still crazy confused about why Google loves EMD so much. That would be one of the easiest ways to filter out MFA and affiliate sites..

  • 65 Jerry // Jul 18, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    Chris,

    True to form, you’re dead on. Google can kiss off. I’m sick of playing their games too.

    I run a totally legit site that has been built on hard work and tons of time. I never know if I’m coming or going with little G.

    I focus more on media buys for my site now but I can honestly say that implementing some of your recommendations have helped alot. The Loophole strategy still seems to stick.

    How do you see this affecting The Final Frontier sites?

    Thanks again old friend.

    Jerry
    LGFA&E

  • 66 Kevin // Jul 19, 2012 at 12:37 am

    A very useful and insightful article Chris. What you are describing though requires quite a sizable budget and is a way moving forward. The challenge is what to do with the sites that are already constructed – at some considerable cost and are now being penalised. It seems to me – from your observation about google greed – that loading them with adsense is a way to go.
    Rgds

    Kevin

  • 67 carl // Jul 19, 2012 at 1:38 am

    The new google motto is DO EVIL

  • 68 david miller // Jul 19, 2012 at 2:21 am

    I wasn’t accusing you of hypocrisy merely noting how things change. I think you do a good job. I still blog comment regularly in very targeted niches and it probably ads some juice. Who can tell what the God Google will like and what will bring down his wrath we can only try and see. Google was never a friend, not one you could trust anyway :-(

  • 69 The fella who paints houses // Jul 19, 2012 at 3:42 am

    An excellent post and a very different approach than everyone else is saying. We got slapped for “paid links” but the thing is, apart from some crap spun articles pointing to us, which i cant get removed, we have pr4, 1000 quality original pages, some very good and natural backlinks (eg tecnorati etc) have been featured in magazines, on TV and the radio, but they slapped us and 3 times have rejected a recon request. They are utter tw*ts. In place of our site for some keywords are ….er…… exact match domains with hardly anything on them.

    Google is very much broken. I would welcome any advice on how to recover as our traffic has been decimated by this stupid move.

  • 70 Ken // Jul 19, 2012 at 3:46 am

    @Admin #41

    Chris, you may be right that going forward that Adsense is getting a preference over affiliate sites. this would be sites that either survived the “bad links” purge, or that are brand new from scratch.

    I have seen some pretty weird high rankings for competitive keywords from very low authority sites.

    The problem for me is that I will have to build all new adsense sites as the old ones are all in the bottom of the sea.

    Keep going and keep telling.

  • 71 Ken // Jul 19, 2012 at 3:47 am

    I meant, @ Admin #47 hehe. need to go to bed. Yawn.

  • 72 Abraham // Jul 19, 2012 at 5:09 am

    Thank you for this well written article, showing us the “Miracles of the Capitalism” which does not smell good to say the least!

  • 73 Colin B // Jul 19, 2012 at 5:39 am

    Great post Chris. Thank you. It helps a lot to know what is working now and what not.

    I am very glad to see tiered link building still working. I am going full blast at this from now.

    I am going to spend more money on tiered links than direct links. Hoth looks good too. :)

  • 74 Hi Chris // Jul 19, 2012 at 6:33 am

    Really good article… but I am ranking #3 with keyword domain old skull optimized pages and links from Fiverr… Absolutely agree about Google behaviour… You cannot mthimatically calculate good content anyway…

  • 75 Bjorn Burgen // Jul 19, 2012 at 6:40 am

    @Admin #50

    Thanks for your answer.

    I was thinking of using the 200$ package on a affiliate site of mine. But the domain is not excact match, but nore of a nice-name. So when you say:
    “This won’t work for every keyword, and I think an EMD is almost required, but when it does it’s magical.”

    It kind of scares me a bit.

    Let me ask you another follow up question – what would you do if you had $200 to spend on linkbuilding on a affiliate site (a blog with describing products in a niche with) that doesn’t have a excact match domain. An example of what I mean about the domain not being a EMD is eg. a site describing products about different drinks, cocktails, shakers etc. could be named “www.great-drinks-site.com”. So the word “drinks” – the niche – is in the domain name but it’s not a EMD when you want to rank for each of the different products on their own seperate page on the domain.

    Does that make sense?

  • 76 matthew hunt // Jul 19, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Thanks Chris or sharing your thoughts on post penguin. I was hoping you were going to put up a case study or two. Nonetheless, always good to get info from experienced trust folks like yourself.

  • 77 Dale Diaz // Jul 19, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I’ve been anticipating this post, Chris. The wait really was well worth it.

    I also want to put in a good word for The HOTH, that company is straight up, one of the best ever.

    Thank you for always sharing your findings, your products, and the services that you use. In the last two years I have always felt like I’ve been on the cutting edge of knowledge and technology because of your direction.

    You’re a true asset.

    ~Dale

  • 78 Google’s Search is Broken: How To Survive // Jul 19, 2012 at 10:13 am

    [...] is an interesting article by Chris from Affiliate Marketing-The Smart Way. Several months ago he wrote an article explaining that he would spend the next few months [...]

  • 79 Paul // Jul 19, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Hi Chris,

    I normally don’t post on SEO blogs. But your piece here has changed my mind.

    Good all around article – as usual in your case :)

    I do have, however, a different perspective, as I will attempt to show.

    I’ve taken issue with a number of your statements and have rebutted them in my article here: http://seolater.net/members/penguin-blues/ – because it wouldn’t fit in the comments section on this site.

    For those of your readers who don’t feel like reading my (lengthy) rebuttal, here’s a brief summary:

    - I must be one of those bootlicking Google apologists you refer to, LOL

    - Google is like a shark. Don’t blame it for being a shark. Admire the awesome machine that it actually is.

    - The revised rules/algorithm can either (a) make your life hell if you’re stuck in the old mind-set, or (b) can make ranking a lot easier if you embrace it

    My rebuttal focuses on various finer points which you may elect to read on the link referred to above.

    NOTE: I’ve admired Chris from afar for a couple of years now and have even bought a product or two from him. He’s GOOD, so don’t take my disagreements with him as a diss. I just have a different philosophy. My view is, however, backed by thorough research and a dispassionate outlook on online marketing in general.

    kind regards,

    Paul

  • 80 Stuart // Jul 19, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Nice post Chris :-)

    Totally agree. The two-faced, hypocrisy of Google makes me sick.

    Cutts spits out the lies about “quality content”, when anyone that actually has more than a few sites knows that it is simply a lie.

    The site that got tanked the hardest for me in Penguin was hands down the one with the best content! Crazy.

    Question Chris – Have you now had time to experiment with 301 redirecting old content to a new domain as a way of escaping Penguin?

    Keith Baxter sent out a report on it – You can see it if you click on my name above (nothing to do with me, but posting it in the body of this comment meant the comment got deleted)

    Fairly self-serving report, because its selling a link building service. But I wondered what your experience had been?

    My gut feeling is that any 301 redirect would simply also redirect the penalty, either immediately, or within a couple of weeks once Google refreshes the cache; and hence that this is a total waste of time.

    However, I am open to being convinced otherwise.

    I am yet to chat to anyone with a GENUINE Penguin recovery strategy for a a big 1000 page content site, that was canned in Penguin.

    Have you?

    In fact, I have yet to hear a single Penguin Recovery Story with a strategy that I actually believe (and that wasn’t come up with as a way of making money out of webmasters who are desperate to get their main money making sites up and working again), for any size of website.

    Have you had any success recovering any of your websites from Penguin?

    I am torn between simply waiting another couple of months and seeing if anything changes, or moving the entire site to a brand new domain (but NOT 301 redirecting it – because that strikes me as a waste of time).

    I have made all the logical on-page changes to the actual site, so its hard to know what to do next.

    It seems like a crying shame to leave such good content to die without anyone really seeing it.

  • 81 admin // Jul 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    I think this actually paints the picture of Google’s attitude more clearly than my post:

    What is Spam?

    Search Infographic by SEO Book

  • 82 Vishal // Jul 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Hello,

    This might interest some of you.
    I did a search today to find a site that can add review for my site. I searched for this, (get featured on + Debt), first from my IP (I am not based in US), first 18/20 results were from same website!!!!!!!! And this website owner is known for ruining DS companies. I did it again from US IP, 10/20 from the same website. Now how the hell you call it good result??? Instead of getting 20 different options, I get 3 options. The other 2 results that I got from my IP, 1 of them was a radio blog, to share audio on web ( completely IRRELEVANT) and the other was a wikibook page, So, for first 20 results, 100% failure for me as a user.

    From US IP, I get irrelevant searches like, wiki pages, radio shows, ebooks, article directories!!! 2 videos of youtube on get out of debt. WOW what an amazing result, The hot chick from college turns out to be made of silicon. HAHAHAHA

  • 83 wizard media // Jul 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Chris, you always write the best posts totally agree with you!

  • 84 SleepForCash // Jul 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    This was a well done article and I’ve observed much of the same and good stuff for calling Google for what it’s really doing (I’m tired of hearing people harping about quality content and magical links). I tried that, and all my sites have great content but will never rank well without active SEO. We have nothing to lose by continuing to try, and even break Google’s rules (most find at some point over the years you’ve broken a Google rule by accident over something silly). The only thing I agree with Google on is that things like invisible text and other tricks should be banned and so should the SPAM sites, but that’s not why they believe in, since quality sites never rank without using Blackhat SEO for the most part.

    On top of that I’d like to call out cheap SEO providers for foolishly using GMail for their communication with their clients, it’s unbelievable that they don’t know GMail is monitored. It doesn’t take much imagination to know that Google is actively using URLs and other info shared from SEO activity from GMail.

    One thing I’d like to say from my own experience is that Google has ranked many sites I’ve seen well for inner pages and has taken away all homepage ranking, so it doesn’t seem like a sitewide penalty, this even includes sites with high PR.

    Cheers

  • 85 David // Jul 19, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Thanks Chris. Some very useful tips and advice for the post Panda era. Much appreciated.

  • 86 Mike // Jul 19, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Thanks for the great post Chris.

    I agree with you on the crap that are the Google search results are these days. I’ve had black hat sites giving away stolen software scripts replace one of my sites in the top 1-4 positions that I used to own (I am now around 80). These sites aren’t even close to what you would expect for the search term.

    I’m not sold on EMD’s though. My best EMD site has also dropped out of the top 60.

    I also believe you are correct on Google’s motivation – it’s all about the money, even over good search results.

    Mike

  • 87 Jon // Jul 19, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Chris – another excellent post. I completely agree with your position on Google. Thx.

  • 88 Peter // Jul 20, 2012 at 3:52 am

    Thank you for writing this. Gotta admire your courage so I’m using one of the only sites that has maintained front page positions (not many, but…).

    I previously sent out a series of tweets along the same lines but didn’t get much follow through. My sites have been kicked to hell so I guess I wasn’t risking anything much compared to you. So very much “balls” to tell the truth.

    My best quality sites are like so many have said, being replaced by all kinds of sites that “violate” like crazy and, when not the favored pay-google sites, they seem to have no goood relevance at all.

    Rather than repeat what others have said (which also fits my experience) I’d like to raise the issue of those Facebook “notes” pages that come up on the first page – cut n paste Amazon product sales pages with no new content at all.

    How does one create one of those easy to do pages and how do I get it on the first page? Why bother about content at all for an affiliate site when you can just use FB for nothing and Amazon for everything?

    Duplicate content: I use a plugin that pulls related content from Yahoo Answers and those pages rank and get visitors while my original content is no where to be seen.

    Have you ever searched for the latest info say on a recent WordPress development? I scratch my head when I see position 1 is often carry ing the date at the start of the published description – 2006, 2009.

    I haven’t seen that graphic before, but it sums up everything so well; I am impressed that it comes from SEObook.

    All strength to you guys who have a profile but have the guts to stick your necks out for a better world on the net.

    BTW, I’m using DuckDuckGo now – I wrote to them about listings complaints I had and a real person wrote back /about the issue I raised/.

    The issue: Google has YT dedicated accounts from 2005 where hackers recruit and demonstrate how to hack into WP sites.

    Those same hackers are in the search results listing all the sites they have busted so that they can be targeted for ever by other hackers.

    Thank you Google for looking after user experience.

  • 89 Mark // Jul 20, 2012 at 4:10 am

    Great post Chris.

    Some very valuable advice. Also, think you are correct on Google wanting to screw more money out of everyone.

  • 90 John Gibb // Jul 20, 2012 at 4:11 am

    Hi Chris,

    Have you managed to bring back any websites that were hit by panda/penguin by doing naked links etc?

    I am curious to know how many people are able to bring websites back by doing this for real, rather than just telling people to do it.

    One of my students has brought back one so far, but I am interested to hear about anyone else pulling it off?

    I love your article by the way – EMD seems to be the only thing that makes sense with all the garbage Google is showing. The search results are in fact, the worst I have ever seen them.

    So much for great content. In fact, My better websites with nice unique quality content were tanked, and the crappy mini-sites I have are doing better than ever!

    The websites were I never even built links to also went AWOL! Work that one out…. I think now we just have to test what works well for us and work that hard for now. Great article, yet again.

    Keep them coming :)

    Best

    Johnny G

  • 91 Keld Frantzen // Jul 22, 2012 at 5:41 am

    Here’s more food for thought,
    http://www.wordstream.com/articles/google-ads
    What’s the point ranking for the non-commercial keywords when the money is in the buyer keywords that google and its advertizers is more or less monopolizing with their above the fold ads that apparently do get the majority of the clicks after all, just saying. what’s your take on this Chris.

  • 92 Lindney Labor // Jul 22, 2012 at 6:29 am

    Thanks Chris. For always cutting through the non-sense and breaking things down for us. Big Thank You!

  • 93 Smokin Gunn // Jul 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    I am so glad somebody sees Google as I do too.
    Great read!

  • 94 nick sharpe // Jul 22, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    ah, the exception that proves the rule – my on-page SEO web design and long tail KWs are kicking EMD butt in the SERPs of certain niches with few or no backlinks and young/new domain names. I’m trying EMDs to see if that works in other niches even as I ride off into the sunset wearing my white hat.
    and yeah, Google places gotta happen.
    thx for sharing.
    nick s

  • 95 admin // Jul 22, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Nick,

    The key phrase there is “in my niche”. Look around dude… Myopia isn’t the key to riding off in the whitehat sunset.

    Look at hundreds of niches in high-comp categories. EMDs are not the “only way”, but they do work well for us and many others.

    That said, if somethings working and you’re making real money from it – milk it.

    While it lasts. Google is not your friend.

    Just ask Tim Carter and TripAdvisor.

    Chris

  • 96 admin // Jul 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Also it could be an effect on new sites. Many emds were penalized due to external links.

  • 97 Ron // Jul 22, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    Hey Chris,

    Great write up. As far as the rant, you are 100% correct. It all about everything I learned in business school – increasing shareholder value. Unfortunately they have made the serp results their own personal playground, and they are 10X more manipulative than I could ever be when I am at my worst.

    As far as the recovery, I have found first hand that everything you said above is true. 301′s also work, but too many clowns have dominated the conversation on that one.

    The thing you said that I found to be *very* insightful was to focus on smaller minisites as opposed to creating authority sites. People should print that one out and paste it to the top of their pc. The bigger sites suck time, expense, and resource. And right now, diversity is far more valuable.

    Good to see you in the forums. Keep up the great work. And btw, I enjoyed the interview with you and John. Thanks for that share!

    Ron

  • 98 nick sharpe // Jul 23, 2012 at 8:33 am

    I guess we’ll both agree that “your mileage may vary”. It would be way better for me if my experience was the same as yours for EMDs. Because all my clients are “small business” sole proprietors in many different niches, myopia isn’t an issue here (its amazing what I’ve had to learn writing their content!) I haven’t personally seen the advantage of EMDs for myself or my clients even when I physically check the SERPs w my own orbs. That doesn’t mean I don’t register them as much as possible even when the domain name doesn’t match the company name.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is that there’s more than one way to skin a cat and the basics that I employ in SEO still work. How fast they work depends on local SERP where EMDs don’t (seem to) matter.
    I share your concern about Google places taking TOF, so I fight fire with fire (sign up all my clients in GP).
    is what I’m doing (local small biz) and affiliate marketing like comparing apples and oranges?

  • 99 Anna // Jul 24, 2012 at 7:15 am

    Well this shit happend on polish google as well. I dont know what Google doing but nothing good these days. I will watch your tips, i already started to do things you said as someone told me about things like this, lets not let google to “be evil” and do this to US. War is War :P >:)

  • 100 stefani // Jul 24, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Very nice post, you’re one of the best seo specialist who write true about google

  • 101 Marek // Jul 24, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Very great post as always! thx

  • 102 Tom Kopertowki // Jul 25, 2012 at 1:54 am

    I agree with you, money is everything for google now. Lets move to BING !!!

  • 103 paimin // Jul 31, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    penguin again, makes me tired :D

  • 104 Mike // Aug 1, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Wow, that was a great read. Thank you for a really interesting article and I mean it. Great that you’re sharing the results from your tests. I totally agree that EMD have the advantage but sometimes we need to help with client’s sites where there’s no control over the domain name naturally. I guess all the mentioned tactics work as well but a lot slower and are more costly.

  • 105 Anders Hansen // Aug 2, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Awesome post, thanks!

    @Tom Kopertowki: Google might not be optimal, but Bing?

  • 106 admin // Aug 16, 2012 at 6:43 am

    @Nick, #98 – I think we’re both right.

    Also, mileage varies according to niche / topic and even individual SERP.

    There’s no universal “solution”. All we ever have is our own test results, which by their nature are limited.

    Hence, conjecture and assumptions come into play, and add to the giant mess we call the “SEO Industry”. LOL.

    (Just don’t let the clients know, hahaha).

    Anyway…

    I digress.

    -Chris

  • 107 Jacob King // Aug 16, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    This is one of my top 5 best blog posts on SEO I have ever read.

    No bullshit.

    And you’re the first guy who uses the word shit as much as I do when talking about SEO.

    Just shared and tweeted brotha, keep crushing it.

  • 108 Marie Antoinette and post-Penguin SEO | SEO Chatterbox // Aug 20, 2012 at 8:54 am

    [...] guest posting. Sure, that’s only one site, but I found a few other researches in the meantime, especially this one, that confirm what I think I know [...]

  • 109 admin // Aug 21, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Thanks Jacob :-)

  • 110 Frank Michlick // Aug 23, 2012 at 3:43 am

    Thank you for this post.

    Not sure if I would be recommending though to register domains that contain trademarks – i.e. your Porsche911TurboCar.com… Sounds like asking for a dispute from the trademark owner.

  • 111 admin // Aug 23, 2012 at 3:55 am

    Hi Frank,

    I guess I should make it more clear that it’s just an example for the sake of clarity.

    I definitely don’t recommend registering domains containing trademarks – you’ll get slapped with a C&D, guaranteed.

    However, most EMD-type keywords are generally “verbs”, and not TM’d phrases or brands.

    Anyway, good catch

    -Chris

  • 112 Matt Coffy // Aug 27, 2012 at 6:14 am

    Gold, this is very good… I would also Add, you need to be doing A TON of good youtube video.. I would say one a week, with you keywords and spin em.. I have youtube PR3 hits from this linked to me, boosting KW’s.

  • 113 PompanoBeachPlumber // Oct 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Good stuff, thank you for this. As a contractor this really helps keep me fresh…. Thanks Again…

  • 114 Vlad // Mar 3, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Excellent article. I’m also offended by Google.But the worst thing is that the webmaster always in anticipation that his account may be suspended.

  • 115 Noor // Apr 17, 2013 at 1:57 am

    awesome piece of info here. feel like creating a pdf and keep it as secret info as i could :) but knowing the internet people, most of them are only readers and not many are real action takers..

  • 116 Ron // Apr 27, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Love the infographic on spam.

    Also, thanks for the info on EMD’s, I have been wondering how these are viewed by Google after Panda and Penguin and this really explains a lot.

  • 117 Ben Hebert // May 1, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Gold stuff… tough for me to purchase anything these days. Prefer to manually build out with VA’s… still though I like the style even though it’s somewhat outdated.

  • 118 Bex // Jun 10, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Hi,

    I’m currently researching the update for a brand I work with that has been penalised so much so that it may have to shut down.

    I know others will say this too, but any bad SEO we had in the past have now been removed and we have recovered to a point where we were at our highest sales ever. But in the last week, rankings (and sales) have dropped dramatically. It’s a great brand, with great content (in fact, some of the best, most extensive, genuine content I’ve ever seen) and no bad SEO, it just doesn’t seem right.

    We think we can recover, but are disgruntled about the power Google has over this and we’re trying to find examples of other great brands that have been unfairly effected by this update.

    I’ve struggled to find anything and started to worry that everyone just hid any problems they were having so as not to damage their reputation, so I’m very happy to have found this post.

    Thanks and if you know of any other brands I can talk to, that would be great.

    Bex

  • 119 Nathan // Jul 2, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    weew! A very informative post.

    I agree with you about Google just focusing on giving favors to sites that can help them please their advertisers.

    I totally agree about EMD. I have seen a lot of it ranked well in SERPs.

    Thanks Cris for this post.

  • 120 Richard // Jul 6, 2013 at 7:20 am

    Great post Chris, i totally agree with you that building many EMD sites is better than building one large site because your site can drop from google serps at any moment.

  • 121 Anna Robeson // Aug 5, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    Hello Chris,
    I love your post, and you are absolutely right in many ways. I also believe that all Google is doing is screwing with webmasters. As a matter of fact I have seen that more and more webmasters are doing all they can to promote their website through ethical SEO strategies and they still plummet in the rankings.

    I hope things will become better in the future, and if they wont, we will definitely adapt… as always.

  • 122 mary // Aug 26, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Chris, great post…very interesting….a question about HOTH. is this a magic submiter type of linking? what makes them different/magical in your opinion

  • 123 Mike Gluck // Oct 7, 2013 at 1:23 am

    Great information for building many EMD sites.

  • 124 Thabang S. Nkoana // Oct 9, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    I have recently started with this emd project and I was lucky to find one that has 12000 searches but im stuck don’t know what to do with it so this blog is going to help a lot.

  • 125 Asher Elran // Oct 11, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    One of the best articles I have read lately. I don’t agree 100% but I like it. I think if you can afford it you should do both: large site where you build your brand, and a few mini sites targeting specific keywords.
    As far as “shows you just how anti-webmaster Google might be”. It is not anti anything, it is trying to maximize profits at any cost, not caring how it affect others, that’s all.

  • 126 Peter // Nov 30, 2013 at 7:32 am

    Hey Chris

    Thanks for your post. i totally agree that they are ONLY interested in generating income and making the fat cats fatter after all.

    Content is no longer king. Exact match DN’s are in and working very well. I found it best to create a couple and then linking from them.

    Thanks again for the post

    Peter

  • 127 nick sharpe // Feb 19, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    @chris #106
    I wont tell if you wont ;-)

    this post is because I just got a link report from SEO profiler that finally indexed my comment link.
    Curious about stuff like this, now to look at GWT.

    p.s. good to review this stuff – almost like prophecy because I’m seeing it playing out for competitors in my markets (“cash for cars”, “qualified sales appointments”, “seo web design” etc…)
    My new theory? start off clean, then get as muddy as you have to.
    cheers
    n

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