How to Recover After the Google Panda and Penguin Update?

Are you still wondering how to recover from the recent Google Algorithm Updates like the Penguin and Panda? Did you change your SEO plans, techniques, strategies or whatever? Did you already have plans on how to get back on track?

By the way, the Penguin Update is an algorithmic update focusing on sites that are doing unnecessary SEO tactics like bad link building practices such , bad article marketing, comment spam, keyword-stuffed anchor texts, buying links or participating in private networks, etc., for the purpose of getting search engine rankings.

Here are some tips or suggestions so you can start your recovery after the Penguin and Panda Update:

Note: This is based on my own analysis and research so this doesn't mean these will all work but some can help you.

Check Your Google Analytics

First, visit Google Analytics. Check you traffic report and see if there is an unusual drop in visits.

This is a sample meltdown in traffic caused by Penguin Update.

Google Analytics Report after Penguin update

If you see something similar to the image above then you might have been hit by Penguin or Panda.

Check Your Keywords

Just in case you are not monitoring your keyword rankings daily, you can use tools like SEMrush to see if there are cases of decreasing ranks. Authority Labs is also a great tool for keyword rank monitoring.

Sample screenshot from SEMrush (Pos=Position in Google/Keyword Rank):

SEMrush Keywords

Other than the tools that I mentioned, you should also look at your top performing keywords through Google Analytics. If you see sudden drop in the performance of your top keywords especially branded keywords then you might have been hit by the recent updates:

Google Analytics keyword performance

Check Anchor Text Distribution& Backlink Profile

Use these tools:

Open Site Explorer

Open Site Explorer

Ahrefs Anchor Text Report

You can still use exact match or phrase match anchor texts but don't overdo it. Check this post about anchor text optimization so you can have a useful rule of thumb or guide in using anchor texts for your links. Other tools that you can use: SEOmoz Pro and Raven Tools.

Check Site Structure And Crawl Path

It might help if you will check your site structure to see the flow of link juice or authority distribution within your website.

Crawl Path

You need to identify which pages are important and place them on the appropriate categories.

Identify Sites Linking To You

The great tool for identifying your backlinks is Link Detective, a browser-based tool to help you see what type of links your site has. You can also try to use to check backlink classifications. I suggest that you shouldn't focus on one type of link. You need to get backlinks from different domains and from different types like directories, Q/A sites, blogs, article sites, social media accounts, etc. Here's a sample screenshot from Link Detective

Link Types by Link Detective

Sample screenshot from

Backlink Types by Ahrefs

Fix Broken Links And 404 Errors

You can use these tools to check if your website has crawl errors:

Screaming Frog

Link Sleuth

Google Webmaster Tools

Sample screenshot of crawl errors from Google Webmaster Tools:

Crawl Errors from Google Webmaster Tools

After having a list of broken links then assign or redirect those links to appropriate pages of your website.

Fix Duplicate Content And Pages (Provide The Best)

Other than the body content, you should check your URLs if there is an issue of duplicate content like similar category URL versions and sessions IDs. What you should do is to "canonicalize" your pages for search engines and the best way to fight duplicate content, 301 redirection.

Here's a link that will help you to combat duplicate content:

By the way, here's a good presentation about content marketing from Rand Fishkin:

Avoid Keyword Stuffing

This is always addressed in many SEO blogs so should know how to add keywords in your body content, meta tags, hyperlinks, header tags, and URLs in a natural way. Don't over-optimize these on-page elements and try to use keyword variations other than putting the same keywords in a web page. Also, don't add too many tags that are almost the same for each of your blog post or webpage.

Earn High-quality Links And Forget About Massive Link Building

No-follow links are also valuable so you should forget about the naysaying that no-follow backlinks doesn't help you to get high search engine rankings. What you should look for a link is its quality. Does this link bring traffic? That's what you need to find, a link that can drive traffic. A great example of high-quality backlink is a blog comment that provides new and helpful suggestions or interest not only for the blog owner but also to other commenters. Remember what Danny Sullivan said in this blog post about earning hard links, Avoid any link building activity where the only reason you're doing the activity is purely to build links for search engine rankings. Link building means earning Hard Links not Easy Links.

Get More Social

Help your website to increase its brand reputation with the help of different social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and a lot more. Social media is playing a big factor in search engines rankings and we should maximize the benefits of these networks to increase popularity or brand awareness.

I hope these tips will help you see the problems you need to fix in order for you to recover and get back on track. Happy SEO-ing!

About the Author: JC Carlos

JC Carlos is an SEO Analyst in, a digital marketing agency. He shares his knowledge by posting articles in his own blog about SEO news, tips, and strategies, the If you liked this post, you can subscribe to my RSS feed

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