If your site is still suffering from the adjustment made to Google’s algorithm in mid October, I’ve got some ideas I’d like to share with you on how you can turn this trend around.
It’s been almost a month now since Google made the change that affected thousands of sites. According to the data that I have available to me, most sites that were affected suffered a reduction in ranking but were still on the first page or at the top of the second page. However I’ve read posts in various chat forums from some webmasters that say their traffic has been cut in half and their page rankings were in the toilet.
I know how disappointing it can be to see your hard work go poof overnight but if you sit back and take a hard look at what happened and why, I’m confidant you’ll be able to fix your pages so they once again get the ranking they had…or at least close to it.
But keep this in mind…as adjustments go this wasn’t a big one and I believe it is correctable.
Do a detailed “damage report”
In order to fix something you have to know what is broken. I suggest the first thing you do is to go page by page and evaluate each one in terms of traffic lost. I suspect you’ll find some key pages that are targeted to your best keyword phrases that took a hit. However you might find pages that have increased in ranking and traffic as well and those are important to keep in mind when analyzing what went wrong and what went right.
Put your data, including the page URL on a spreadsheet and then do a search for each one and record where you show in the SERP. This spreadsheet will become your base to measure improvement over the next few weeks.
Where to focus your repair efforts
1. Dealing with anchor text.
The duplicate anchor text issue jumped out at me the first time I took a crack at analyzing this change back in October. But it was brought home personally when one of my pages, which was nicely climbing the SERP took a dump. When I evaluated it I realized that a large number of the anchor text that was pointing back to it was coming from my “bios” that are included in all the articles that I guest post.
I had “standardized” my bio which meant the same anchor text was being used in each one. Well I paid for that on October 14th and one of the first things that I’ve done to fix it is go back to the bios and mix up the anchor text.
Spam is Google’s number one enemy and Google has done a really decent job of filtering it out and this adjustment is just another step in that process. Google identifies spam as “unnatural activity or patterns” and what could be more unnatural than 35 different webmasters linking to a page using the exact same phrase?
So, if you were trying to optimize a page for affiliate marketing podcasts and you used that phrase in all of your anchor text odds are you got hit once the adjustment was released.
How do you fix it? You have 2 options. The first is to make sure that all future anchor text is not identical. Add a word or subtract a word or use a plural form or use a relevant keyword phrase that you found on Google’s keyword tool. The more new content the more diluted you duplicate anchor text becomes. Or you can try going back to the webmasters involved and ask them to allow you to change the anchor text in existing articles.
2. Check your quality.
Take a look at your poor performing pages and ask yourself if they really are providing value to the reader. Quality content is still king and if you have pages that are less than perfect they are reflecting on the reputation of the domain. You have 2 options here, you can rehabilitate the page by rewriting the content or you can simply delete the page all together.
3. Where are your backlinks coming from?
This isn’t something new but while you’re fixing the problems you may as well examine this issue as well. Backlinks that promote your site and help in the SERP are quality sites, not the content farms that are normally associated with article marketing. If you have links from no value sites it’s time to look for quality blogs that accept guest content.
4. Freshen up your site.
Google has an unquenchable thirst for new content and there is evidence that it gives preference to some newer content over older content. This doesn’t mean you have to post new content daily, or even monthly, but it does mean that periodically you have to freshen the site up.
5. The role of social networks.
I’m not certain that adding a FB like button or Google 1+ button will do anything to improve your ranking…right now. I do know that if you go the social media route to promote your site you have to actively participate in it if you want to garner any benefit.
Look, Google has dumped a lot of money into social networking so you know at some point in time it will be used in some way to evaluate ranking. All I’m suggesting is that simply adding social network buttons today will not result in immediate improvements tomorrow.
So there you have it. It doesn’t matter what your topic is be it recreational vehicles or something as esoteric as Chinese butterfly collecting the rules of Panda are going to apply to your site and these tips can help.
If you have any questions or ideas on this new adjustment, please share them with the rest of us by leaving your comments below.
James Martell has be offering affiliate marketing tutorials for over a decade and he has been a successful full-time affiliate marketers since 1999. James is the host of the 1st EVER and longest running podcast (the “Affiliate Buzz) since 2003. James lives with his wife Arlene and their four children in White Rock BC Canada.