Penguin 3.0 and Panda 4.0 | My recovery

panda 4.0Unlike what Neil Patel loudly proclaimed (underneath all of his zillions of popup ads for email opt-in), there has not been a Penguin 3.0.

Not that I’ve seen, anyways.

I know, I know.

The Warrior Forum said it was happening.  We all lost rankings.

I lost 40% of the traffic to one of my sites.

And April 24th is forever branded in the mind of every SEO as being synonymous with “Penguin”.

Granted, there was some updates going on at the end of April. And some of them seemed Penguin-related.

But even in the midst of the Penguin drama, I saw a lot of Panda-like activity.  I honestly think they were tweaking the Penguin, Panda and PayDay loan algos, all at the same time.

But, unlike Neil Patel who recommends you go out and start deleting links (seriously, the guy ‘s Penguin 3.0 post is so full of nonsense, I can’t believe he’s made it this long in the game. Maybe that’s why he’s creating fake algorithm updates.), let me touch on the action I took to correct my affected site:

Link Analysis

This is where we all tend to look, first.  Had I lost links? Gained links? Been a victim of negative SEO?

In Ahrefs, I found a few anchor texts that were identical to the title of my pages.  Since my titles are typically something like “Top 5 Best Cheap Widgets For Sale Online”, these anchor texts were heavily over-optimized.

Link De-optimization

I did spend a couple of weeks engaging with other blogs in my niche through commenting.  I really should do it more, there is a huge social side to this niche and I really enjoy interacting with the fans.

So, during this time I built about 30 links to the site using the pseudonym of the site author.   Hopefully, if nothing else, I got a few new fans out of the deal! 😉

URL/Title De-optimization

So, I started going through and re-working my titles.  I can leave out “top”, include it once in the article, and it does about the same amount of good.  New titles looked more like “My Guide To Choosing The 5 Best Widgets At An Affordable Price” .  “cheap” “for sale”, etc get’s mentioned somewhere  in the content and it does about the same amount of Good.

Also, my Urls were optimized.  Some of them, seriously so.


Ideally, they would look more like:

Now, I wasn’t about to give up all of my rankings to restructure my site. That would have been a nightmare.

But it is something I am already implementing on my new sites. (Thanks to Source-Wave for helping me figure that one out)

I did de-optimize some of the on-site anchors for these terms.

On-Site Analysis/De-optimization

A lot of the pages had insanely high ratios of the main keyword. A lot of the times it would be a page about “best cheap widget”, and I would only have that phrase mentioned one time.

But “cheap widget” would be mentioned 20 times.

Not cool. Still working to get the pages de-optimized to the .5-3% range.

I also reduced the number of Amazon links on some pages or increased the amount of content, since Spencer demonstrated back in the day that can be an influencing factor.

Unique Content Penalties

This made me mad. I’m still mad, actually.

During my link analysis, I found three sites that had stolen my content.  Sure, they linked back to the pages they had taken it from, but between the exact match anchor text they used — and the duplicate content that was out there — it seemed to affect those 3 pages the most.

And, where one of the pages was the top of my “silo”, it affected the pages under it, too.

I submitted a DMCA removal request from webmaster tools. It took awhile for them to be approved, but they finally went through.

This may have helped dilute my anchor-text profile, too, as these spammy links got de-indexed.

Fresh Content

We all know that the Googs loves fresh content.  Not only did I update the entire site — promoting new products for 2014, adding more information on current products, fixing broken links to discontinued products — but I helped eliminate any duplicate content out there by re-writing the affected articles.


By mid-may the traffic was up about 30%, and when Panda 4 rolled out, the traffic figures climbed back to pre-algo levels.

I still have one page that is hesitant to rank where it was before, and one that dropped after I “improved” it.

At least I really enjoy fiddling with this stuff.

So, there you have it! How I recovered from Penguin 3.0 and Panda 4.0 !


Week View. March 1-May31st.  It doesn’t look like much, but the downswing was scary to me! Some of lost traffic was due to 2 days of Hostgator Nonsense.


How were your sites affected? Sound off in the comments!

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8 Responses to “Penguin 3.0 and Panda 4.0 | My recovery”

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  1. Daniel says:

    Sounds like you’re making good progress. Thanks for the tip on the DMCA removal – I might try that. Someone put up a basically exact copy of my site. Even the privacy policy is identical. So annoying.

  2. Joseph Seeley says:

    Glad to see you bounced back.

    Start of April I was at about 30k visitors a day on my biggest site. Now pushing 60k. Still haven’t reached that magical 5 figure month, but pushing it the last couple.

    Working on an app for the site that I think can get a million+ installs. There’s at least 3 apps that just iframe my site without permission and got over 500k installs. Damn thieves. But I’ll promote my app in their app because I can put popups and redirects in their iframe of my site … so that’s why I haven’t had them taken down.

    • lostcyclist says:

      I’ve never figured out how those iframe scams work. Sucks.

      I love it that you are diversifying into apps. I think that is where the real money is!

  3. SEO Arbiter says:

    Hi Quinton,

    Just curious, now that we’re a few days on from this post, have you seen any changes as yet?

    I’ve noticed the “big” updates from Google sometimes come in waves.

    Fingers crossed that isn’t the case, though, and that you have beaten Panda!


  4. hi i came through copybecker :)
    tell me about your ways of buidling links
    and what is you opinion about forum posting

  5. Kain says:

    Great article! I definitely feel the drop harder than anyone else who has posted here.
    Back in May 2014 I ranked position #3 for my keyword and took my month long vacation to south africa.
    Upon my return, I noticed that my website had fallen off the map. I’ve been working hard to figure out WHY!
    As you can probably guess, i wasn’t able to figure it out until now…
    When I started, I thought my backlinks dropped, so I used ahref to check them out. Sure enough my links were deleted and I lost a lot of my Citation Flow and Trust Flow.
    So, me being the uninformed person that I am, I went ahead and rebuilt links.
    I went from Position #3 to no where to even further no where…
    It’s only been recently, about 10 days, that I’ve finally come back up… But I’m still only on page 5 or 6 for my targeted keyword.
    It’s crazy! I’ve been looking for WHY and now I hear that there was a new update in June! Boy am I BEHIND!
    Regardless, I’m still unable to come up with a solution that works for me. After reading this recovery story it plagues my mind that I may be “over optimized”.
    Which sounds ridiculous because if I ranked for position #3 before, then why the hell am I not anymore??
    I’m really frustrated and confused about the entire situation.
    If you have any more feedback, tips, advice, useful websites that could help me lostcyclist . I would be greatly appreciative of the information.
    Kind regards,
    A Frustrated Victim of Google’s Updates

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