Penguin Questionnaire - Shared
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TimestampYour name: What's the first thing you look at when trying to identify if a website has been hit by Penguin?From your experience, does Penguin hit at the page level or the keyword level? Or both?Do lower level links such as directories and articles any longer have a part to play at all in a link building strategy?Post-penguin, what percentage of anchor text should be branded?Post-penguin, what percentage of anchor text should be neither branded or anchor text (images links or 'click heres')?Do you think Google are using the 'link warning' emails to gather more data about websites selling links?What are your top 3 tools for diagnosing and recovering from Penguin?Can bad links transmit a penalty via a 301?When doing link removals, at what point would you feel like you've done enough to send a reconsideration request to Google?Should SEOs be thinking about anchor text at all any more?What types of links do you feel are most likely to trigger Penguin?Panda targeted User Experience, Penguin targeted Manipulative Links. What will the next major update target?Your email:Your website / twitter linkWould you like to remain anonymous?Anything else to add about Penguin?How long have you found it typically takes to recover from Penguin after removing links and/or filing a reconsideration request?Can bad links transmit a penalty via a rel canonical?Do you have a Penguin story / case study you can share?
9/24/2012 12:56:27David SottimanoBacklink profileBothYesUnsureUnsureLikelymajestic & open site explorer
historical ranking reports or searchmetrics
google analytics
UnsureUnsureYes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.sitewide non branded exact matach anchorauthenticating social signals and adding their value into the ranking algo. Probably going to need to weed out fake signals first though...david.sottimano@distilled.netdavidsottimano.comPenguins are supposed to be cute and loved. Google made me want to shoot them.No idea.UnsureNope
9/24/2012 12:57:16Backlink profileBothSometimes15-30%UnsureAbsolutely!Majestic SEO
Open Site Explorer
UnsureNo ideaYes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.DirectoriesRich snippet/author abuseNo ideaUnsure
9/24/2012 13:02:34The anchor text / site quality in the backlink profile.BothSometimes30-50%5-15%LikelyOpensiteexplorer
Google Analytics
Email (outreach)
UnsurePlausible deniability on 100% contacted (or attempted).

Significant inroads into removal with explanations for shortcomings.
Just ignore anchor text, get links and don't specify preferred anchor.Article marketingMore of the same - focussing in on quality pages linking to quality sites.No personal experienceUnsure
9/24/2012 13:02:47UnsureUnsureUnsureUnsureLikelyNoYes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.microformatsNo
9/24/2012 13:04:08Martijn Hoving- if there is no variety in the anchor text of external and internal links directing to a page.
- if the focuskeyword is mentioned a lot on the particular page.
BothSometimes30-50%5-15%LikelyOpensite Explorer
Google Webmaster Tools
UnsureDon't know.Just ignore anchor text, get links and don't specify preferred anchor.Directory links with exact anchor match and internal exact anchor match links.Engagement on website and more manipulative link updates.hoving@stormmc.nlDon't know.Unsure
9/24/2012 13:07:17IrishWonderDate of traffic dropBothSometimes30-50%15-30%Absolutely!GWT, MajesticSEO, brainsUnsureNeverYes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Those looking out of place/contextLack of enough proper matches for a query in G due to previous two filters - already listen to G too much instead of looking at the actual SERPsN/a, I don't do link removalsOnly established canonicals. (will follow canonical if it's updated)
9/24/2012 13:09:20JohnCompare terms that dropped in traffic to anchor text.KeywordSometimes50-75%5-15%LikelyExcel
Yes, any 301.Request as many as you can find emails, then followups, then reconsideration.Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Directories, blogrolls.Either something in regards to content on ecommerce sites or hacked sites/splogs.john.doherty@distilled.netForeverYes, any 301.
9/24/2012 13:09:35Mike KingWhether or not the highest occuring anchor text is branded. Generally if the highest occuring anchor is unbranded you can safely assume it's been hit Penguin, but I always double-check against the date of traffic drops as well as go through the links.BothSometimes50-75%UnsureAbsolutely!Open Site Explorer - obvious
Searchmetrics for double checking the traffic drop if I don't have analytics
Boomerang for follow ups on the outreach
Honorable mention Majestic for seeing as many links as possible and now for checking the link removals
Yes, any 301.I've heard as much as 80+%, but it's definitely on a case-by-case basis as I've seen reinclusions with far less link removals.Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Based on what I've seen Penguin doesn't strike based on a certain link, but rather an aggregate of the link profile. Naturally you will avoid anything that clearly looks manipulative like exact match anchor text on sidebars and any type of sitewide links.I think we're due to see something that targets deceptive social sharing soon.mike@iacquire.comhttp://www.iacquire.comIt doesn't seem to be fixed either. I've read reports from Google saying it takes until a Penguin refresh, but I've seen sites bounce back before then. So either they are not actually Penguin or that's not true.Unsure
9/24/2012 13:14:23Kevin ErnstPercentage of money-keyword anchor textBothSometimes30-50%15-30%LikelyUnsureYes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Unsurekevin@kevin-ernst.de you do SEO the "easy way", you should be frightened of every upcoming animal Google releases from it's cage. When you do it the "hard way", which costs more time, money and energy, you will be save the next 10 years.Unsure
9/24/2012 13:15:25Ian HowellsDate of drop and anchor text distribution.PageSometimes50-75%5-15%MaybeAHREFs, OSE, Link Detective,Yes, any 301.n/aYes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Any bulk links that are heavy on anchor text.Content uniqueness (not just copyscape passing, but actual *new* information)ian.n.howells@gmail.comhttp://www.halo18.comn/a on removing links.

404'ing a banned page and starting over on a new URL has worked for me within a week.
Yes, any 301.
9/24/2012 13:20:50Tomasz StopkaFirst, I check what kind of links are reffering to page. Are they sidewide, exact match or partial. Then - If i have possibility - I am checking Google Analytics to see if traffic goes down.BothYes30-50%15-30%UnlikelyGoogle Webmaster Tools
Majestic SEO
Some local SEO software
Yes, any 301.Yes, just as before. Just from different sources.•sitewide
•from footer
They'll still focus on manipulative links - wait for Penguin v2
Maybe next update will focus on authorship and detecting content source.
kontakt@tomaszstopka.plhttp://plus.tomaszstopka.plThe weirdest thing I see now is talking about using percentage in adding links. Just add brand anchors to web directories, partial match to articles and exact match to private blog networks and so. It should help. Of course - think while doing this.After removing bad links, and adding some new HQ links - 1-2 weeks.No
9/24/2012 13:37:55GWT and SearchMetricsBothSometimes50-75%5-15%LikelySearchMetrics, Majestic SEO and Screaming FrogYes, any 301.To send a request that I genuinely think would be considered and penalty reversed, 100% of bad links (or near enough). Have tried to cut corners and with 50/60% but requests have been rejected.Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Location: sidebar/footer and surrounded by dodgy, obvious paid links.

Anchors: exact match - all lower case particularly infuriates me!
Difficult one. I don't see Panda and Penguin letting up any time soon, for a start. I think that low value mass submissions in various forms (directories, info graphics, articles, guest blogging etc) specifically for the sole purpose of link building, can't be a long term strategy. If Google's quality team are really digging into back link profiles then they should (and will) start to devalue some of these submission sites.2 monthsYes, any 301.
9/24/2012 13:40:08GianlucaThe link profile to see if there is an excess % of overoptimized not branded anchor texts and the sources of those "toxic" backlinks.BothSometimes50-75%5-15%LikelyFor diagnosing I usually want to have the biggest amount of backlinks data, hence I use OSE, Majestic SEO, Ahrefs and the same Google Webmaster Tools, normalize the information when merging the data from those sources.

I find also useful Link Detective in order to have a visual representation of the link profile nature, even though Link Detective has the defect of relying only on OSE data, which is not the ideal - IMHO - for this kind of analysis.

Then, for the removing phase, I tend to use the SEOgadget tool (I've tried also others), but - somehow - tools like Buzzstream are still good, even if in this somehow opposite use of its nature.
Yes, any 301.At first I considered that having clean at least the 75%/80% of the link profile was enough to convince Google that we were working hard so to comply with the Penguin directives.
Unfortunately, it seems that you need to clean more than that in order to have a real recovery,
And, as always, recover is very slow, because cleaning means also that you have to "replace" the cancelled links with better quality others, which is not so inmediate.
Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Mmm...
I consider that classic sitewide backlinks with exact matching anchor text. So Directories, Footer links, Blogrolls (and now Wordpress is going to eliminate it from its 3.5 version), links in sidebars.
But also backlinks from neaderthalian pages like "links page" "resources" "our friends"... and so on (surely these attract the attention of the Penguin).
Embedded links with over optimized anchors in widget and infographichs can also cause problems, IMO.
Honestly I don't feel as being able to make a preview. A lot of buzz is starting to be about rich snippets spam, so that could be a future target.
But, sincerely, I would love to see Google optimizing its algo not following the punisher way, but prizing for real the popularity/relevancy of web content, trying really to understand and cross the information that link graph, social graph and author rank may offer about a site, with the obvious need to - somehow - ponderate the data with the "real market" data. For instance, the grade of popularity/relevance of a site in a niche which is not really sociable (i.e.: real hardcore b2b niches) should be different than an another in a very popular niche (i.e.: travel).
italiaseo@gmail.comwww.iloveseo.netDepends... in one case I had to wait a couple of week. In a second case more. In another one I am still waiting...Yes, any 301.
9/24/2012 13:44:00Kieran HeadleyAnchor text variationKeywordNo, never.More than 75%5-15%Likelyopen site explorer, ahrefs, seospyglassUnsure90% of bad links removed or changed.Just ignore anchor text, get links and don't specify preferred anchor.keyword rich directory links, article links and comments/forum postsI think the next updates will be more refined versions of the current updates, I don't think there will be another big update for a little seems to be very heavily focused on the anchor text variation that is too exact match. People worry too much that if they don't in some way get their keywords in the link pointing to their website they will have wasted a link. It needs to be natural, you wouldn't give someone that was asking about your business a keyword, you would give them a business name/URL/Address this needs to be replicated online.3 months for a full recoveryUnsure
9/24/2012 13:45:59GerardTraffic drops. Where those drops come from and see where the keyword are now. KeywordNo, never.50-75%5-15%MaybeSistrix,
google Analytics,
UnsureIf I do have them and I have been penalized I would remove as much as possible.
Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Weak links, says the theory. Although having 3 different sites from 3 different countries and performing different strategies I don't see any difference. Social shares are a good measure to reflect relevance of content although Google cannot track them, once they do they will be able to relate really interesting content for users or really weak content. ggcadiach@gmail.comhttp://www.twago.esWe were hit without any message from Google. Probably it was a collateral hit but lost more than 60% of visibility and traffic. After 4 months we recovered almost the same visibility and traffic by doing guest articles. Unsure
9/24/2012 13:52:11hyderaliAnchor Tex DiversificationKeywordSometimes15-30%50-75%UnlikelyUnsureYes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Dolphin Targeted Keyword
9/24/2012 14:17:42Chris CounteyPotentially unnatural link profileBothUnsure50-75%UnsureAbsolutely!Majestic
Link Detox
Yes, any 301.Once all webmasters are contacted. Webmasters who fail to remove links, fail to respond or try to charge for removal get documented in the report sent to Google.Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Followed, sitewide links from low quality sources that are not relevant to the target site.Low-quality guest posts with links.ccountey@webimax.comhttp://www.webimax.comI am personally a fan of this update. I like automating certain things, but I am 100% against automated link building. It has varied from taking several weeks to still being an issue several months later.Only established canonicals. (won't follow canonical if it's updated)
9/24/2012 14:18:48Modesto Siotosranking dropsKeywordSometimesMore than 75%5-15%Absolutely!Majestic
NetPeak Checker
UnsureAfter having tried to contact all webmasters, whether succesfully or unsuccesfully Just ignore anchor text, get links and don't specify preferred anchor.Exact match anchor text
Site-wide links
Links from sites that obviously sell links
Links from sites with low quality content (spun, translatedm, scraped)
Manipulative contentmacmodi@gmail.com sites have lost rankings but not because they were hit by the 2 Penguin updates. Many sites have lost rankings because of exact match anchor text overoptimisation, some were hit from as early as January 2012.

Ranking drops from anchor text overoptimisation can occur at any time (not on the dates of the Penguin updates) and they the overtargeted keywords only.
1-3 monthsUnsureLots but no time to share anything :)
9/24/2012 14:19:28John TrimbleWebmaster Tools Messages, Followed by historic keyword rankings if available. KeywordSometimes30-50%5-15%LikelyUse Free Tools such as MajesticSEO,WMT and SEOtools for Excel to speed up the process.
Group sites using IP address and quality metrics (e.g. PR) and target to largest groups for efficient removal.
Develop a high quaility link building plan to run in paralle to your removal

Unsure50% if possibleYes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Blog networks, which are off topic and low quality. Exact match domainsjntrimble@gmail.comworking_in_seonounsureUnsurenot publicly not.
9/24/2012 14:21:13IainIf available I would initially look at the analytics to see when traffic dropped and to what extent.KeywordNo, never.UnsureUnsureLikelyFor identifying low quality backlinks I tend to use OSE; for pairing loss of traffic/rank to dates of known Penguin iterations I like the Panguin tool from Barracuda in combination with Google Analytics. I don't think there is any one tool I would highlight in terms of the recovery process. UnsureThis is tricky. By my estimation an admission to Google that you have the power to remove links of vary their anchors is an immediate step on to dicey ground. For sure, clean up the internal links, but I'd be very wary before committing to any external 'fixing'.Just ignore anchor text, get links and don't specify preferred anchor.Anything where the target of the link has had input into the placement, format or type of link received is going to be an issue. For now it seems that heavy concentrations of exact-match anchor text and links associated with undesirable behaviour elsewhere on the internet are the ones that are hurting the most.I'd imagine Google will look to devalue things like infographics and guest blogs where it appears the target has influence the link creation process in some have to say that overall I feel favourable about Penguin. It hasn't been 100% successful, but on the whole the SERPs are more agreeable now than before.This depends on a lot of factors.I'd say medium-term seems to be the right ballpark.Unsure-
9/24/2012 14:40:02Rob Duckersdate of organic traffic dropBothSometimes50-75%15-30%UnlikelyGoogle Analytics
Yes, any 301.Didn't send a request, waiting for Penguin "refresh" (yes, still waiting).
404'd Penguin-penalised pages.
Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Links from sites that have high number of outgoing links published without scrutiny.I don't think it will be a "new" target, I think Penguin will become part of an on-going run on sites with suspicious anchored term link profile.robert@bg-seo.com removed most of the exact-match anchor text links and tried 301-ing, 302-ing and now 404-ing the old page and placing content on a new page...there's no recovery. I think it's probable there is a keyword-bias in the update perhaps as well as a page-level penalty.Unsure
9/24/2012 14:43:01Anchor textPageSometimesMore than 75%5-15%LikelyUnsureYes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Not suren3oterics@gmail.comUnsure
9/24/2012 14:50:51Rand FishkinDid the loss of rankings/traffic coincide with a known Penguin update?PageNo, never.30-50%UnsureMaybeOpen Site Explorer
Google Analytics
Majestic SEO
UnsureWhen a considerable, documented effort that Googlers would be able to see has been completed (subjective, but so is Penguin penalty lifting)Just ignore anchor text, get links and don't specify preferred anchor.Any unearned link - those that aren't naturally created as a result of doing #RCSMaps/local will likely get some more serious attention, particularly as Google knows they need to stay way ahead of Apple & Amazon in the maps category.rand@seomoz.orgseomoz.org2-10 weeksUnsure
9/24/2012 14:52:32Charles TaylorI immediately check the date of the rankings/traffic drop. Every "Penguin site" I've seen have all gotten hit on 4/25/12.PageNo, never.30-50%15-30%MaybeLinkDetox report from
Yes, any 301.I do not send reconsideration requests to Google for Penguin penalties because it is an algorithmic penalty and not a manual one. I've already seen that when you fix the problems your rankings will return automatically (eventually).Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.It seems to be based on the amount of "commercial terms" used in anchor text - not the quality of the link.Not sure - design & layout?ctaylor@costumesupercenter.com have yet to see a full recovery from link removal. Change the page name and the recovery is within a week or two.Unsure
9/24/2012 14:59:18SeanThe date of the traffic drop as well as the date of the rankings decrease.KeywordYes30-50%5-15%MaybeMajestic SEO, ahrefs, OSEYes, any 301.Yes, just as before. Just from different sources.Links from article networks that were de-indexed, but still contain the link on their site.It will probably ease up on the Manipulative Links filter for penguinsean@ekoim.comhttp://www.ekoim.comThey need to run a data refresh. I think the reason they haven't done a data refresh is because something went wrong. Of course, they'll never ever admit it.No recovery. No site has 100% recovered from penguin without Google stepping in and making an adjustment (see WPMU). The press generated around that WPMU situation forced Google's hand. There have been literally ZERO confirmed Penguin escapes. Most recoveries are of sites that were hit by the Panda update that happened around the time of Penguin.Unsure
9/24/2012 15:01:50Chris ClaytonThe date of the hit.... all appear to be bang on the date that Penguin rolled out. BothNo, never.More than 75%5-15%Absolutely!MajesticSEO
Open Site Explorer
Unsure72% of links were removed, yet still got a denied message. Asked for example link they felt was still existing that was against their guidelines but never had that question answered just the auto denial message.Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.High % of keyword anchor textWebmasters... they will knock on webmasters doors and if they look dodgy they will chop off their fingers. ;o)chris@sightseeingtourslondon.comhttp://www.sightseeingtourslondon.comFed up with it, want more regular refreshes as this has been a joke. We are a decent online business who got caught up in high % anchor text usage with our outsourced SEO company and are now paying the price. It has cost us 60% of our business. If you are going to make huge changes like Penguin they should be better at running it more regularly and also provide more transparency to webmasters about what links they consider bad.You cant until a penguin refresh. Thats what I hope at least and is the general feedback I have found and the information I have taken from Matt Cutts talks. UnsureAs per above.
9/24/2012 15:02:05Praveen SharmaDate of first hitBothSometimes15-30%15-30%LikelyGoogle Analytics
Google Webmaster Tools
Open Site Explorer
Yes, any 301.After removing more than 80% of linksYes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.low quality or spamsomething to track social acceptance of a websitepraveen.sharma099@gmail.com Penguin mind nofollow and dofollow links ratio?Not sureOnly established canonicals. (won't follow canonical if it's updated)
9/24/2012 15:03:19Searchmetrics.BothSometimes30-50%5-15%LikelySearchmetrics
Link Detox
Yes, any 301.Removal request made against all 'dodgy' looking links and subsequent chase-up email sent out.Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.SitewideLack of engagement pointing to poor quality of content. A month.Unsure
9/24/2012 15:08:24Etienne DupuisLook for positionning changes in SERPKeywordYes15-30%Less than 5%Unlikelywebmaster tools, manual SERP searches. NoTell them you haven't build those links.Yes, just as before. Just from different sources.Automatic blog commenting, Blog Rolls.geographic manipulationetienne@lotusmarketing.cawww.lotusmarketing.ca2 monthsNo
9/24/2012 15:15:32LeviThe very first thing is traffic for top keywords.BothSometimes15-30%30-50%LikelyGoogle Analytics, new content and local contentUnsureI don't think there is a set %. I think it is based on the breakdown of your profile and to what extent you have used them in the past. It may be 5%, it may be 35%. Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword directoriesimage linkslevi@interactivestrategies.cominteractivestrategies.comstill unknownOnly established canonicals. (won't follow canonical if it's updated)
9/24/2012 15:19:02Tatianatraffic to page\ traffic from group of keywordsKeywordSometimes30-50%15-30%UnlikelyYes, any 301.Would remove all "suspicious" links if possible (from directories and all other penalized sites) only then sent a request.Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Links from sites that do not follow google's requirements to quality sites. excessive links with all the same nonnbranded anchor textsFake +1se156ar@gmail.comYes, any 301.
9/24/2012 15:19:32Mitch HoltGoogle Analytics, January 1 to presentBothSometimes5-15%Less than 5%UnlikelyOpen Site Explorer, Google Analytics, RavenToolsYes, any 301.I've never gotten to the point where I need to remove links for one of my clientsYes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Repetitive use of the same anchor text to the same pages. Diversify what you're putting out there with the understanding that eventually, traditional link building WILL be completely dead. For now, it's alive - in its elderly stage of life, so to speak.Site Performance?'m a marketing coordinator at an agency, and I have not gotten any link warnings from Google, nor have I had to start removing links for any of my clients. I've found Penguin drops can be combatted with alternative methods to link removal, such as diversifying anchor text, making title tags and H1's more compelling, upping the creation of content, socializing, etc. I believe that as long as you realize what you've done and make a change, Google is pretty forgiving of any past methods you've used.a couple of monthsYes, any 301.
9/24/2012 15:23:28Bill RossDiversity of Keywords Sending Organic Traffic: Number of keywords sending traffic to a website, trended over time. We have noticed large drops in this metrics for sites that have been hit not only by Penguin but Panda as well.BothNo, never.More than 75%5-15%MaybeGoogle Analytics
SEM Rush
Yes, any 301.I don't do link removalsYes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Large amount of directory or forum links.Social
9/24/2012 15:27:40PageSometimes30-50%30-50%UnlikelyYes, any 301.Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.MisinformationUnsure
9/24/2012 15:33:03NickThe date when the traffic hit took place, and the types of queries that are being de-valued.

In my personal experience for some specific brand terms where the site was not a brand asset, and the link profile had a lot of instances of the brand, I saw as much as a 60-70% decrease in organic traffic through brand keywords.
PageSometimes5-15%15-30%Absolutely!webmaster tools
link detox
Yes, any 301.All links capable of being removed have been removed and at least 50% of remaining toxic links at 3rd party sites have been removed, with other requests pending.Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.large groups of links from one domain or the same C-Block... doesn't seem so much the position of the link (sidebar, footer, etc.) but the threshold of links from domains, or as I like to call it, domains with low linking-domain diversity ratios.Possibly internal links with over-optimized anchor-text or links from think a lot of the link filters as I call them are algorithmically driven, however, I still believe certain keywords, and more so, specific URL's are being hit either through a separate threshold/signal filter or manually if they are high traffic.based on types of links I've seen recovery within the average time it takes Google to re-crawl the entire site catalog.UnsureIt's based on over-optimization and is published on SEOmoz
9/24/2012 15:36:03FelixMain keywords rankingsKeywordSometimes5-15%15-30%LikelyLink assistant
Unsure70% of bad linksYes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Profiles,
Social bookmarks
Emd'sfelician89@gmail.comhttp://www.prooptimization.comPenguin did not killed SEO. It only knocked down some bad seo's.Unsure
9/24/2012 15:46:17Ian LurieCheck for any penalty at all, first.

Then, check for rankings on brand name - if the site's banned for their own brand, then chances are this is a manual, not Penguin, penalty.
BothSometimes50-75%UnsureMaybeAn in-house tool that ties together Majestic, OSE and ahrefs with WHOIS data.

Google Webmaster Tools.

OSE on its own.
Yes, any 301.That depends. If this is a PENGUIN penalty ie an algorithmic penalty, we might not send a request at all.

If this is a manual penalty, we'll only send a request once we can account for every spammy link we found. That means, at a minimum, a removal request for each link.
Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Matching anchor text
Irrelevant sitewides
Obvious spam blogs
I think they better stick with manipulative links until they get it right.ian@portent.com - the algorithmic side - isn't that scary. If you get slammed by Penguin you can steadily remove links and you'll eventually find your way back into the rankings.

The scarier side is the manual penalty. That puts you in a sort of kangaroo court. If you've removed 90% of spammy links, and requested removal for 100% of them, you may remain under penalty because the anti-spam team at Google noticed the other 10%.

I'm not going to shed any tears over folks who knowingly spammed the heck out of Google, or hired lousy SEOs when they knew full well what those SEOs would do. They took the risk and paid for it. However, I DO worry about the folks who purchased existing sites, or hired a VP of marketing they trusted, or otherwise got themselves in trouble. What's their recourse in a system like this?

8-12 weeks.Yes, any 301.
9/24/2012 15:48:07TomBothSometimes15-30%15-30%MaybeUnsureYes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Anything that is done in bulk.SEO targeted content..thomas@websitebuildr.comHaven't seen full recovery just yet.Unsure
9/24/2012 15:49:35Bryson MeunierUnnatural links report in Google Webmaster ToolsUnsureUnsureUnsureUnsureUnlikelyHaven't had any clients affected by Penguin, but theoretically Open Site Explorer, Google Webmaster Tools and Bright Edge.UnsureNo clients affected, as no bad links were ever built. Have never done a link removal.Just ignore anchor text, get links and don't specify preferred anchor.No idea. Haven't been affected.exact match domains, hopefullybmeunier@resolutionmedia.comhttp://www.brysonmeunier.comn/aUnsure
9/24/2012 15:56:13Justin ChristleySite traffic through Google analyticsBothSometimes50-75%Less than 5%MaybeUnsureI would say at least 50%of the bad links have been removed including good evidence that you have tried to remove more.Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Specific anchor text links that are obviously the "money terms" especially if they are placed on non relevant web sites.Anything that doesn't go through there paid advertising
9/24/2012 15:56:20Analytics and their link profile (where the links come from and anchor text).KeywordNo, never.30-50%15-30%Unlikely1. Analytics
2. Open Site Explorer or Majestic
3. Excel (manual) or Link Detective (automatic)
Yes, any 301.Send emails to at least 50%. Link removal % doesn't matter because it can't be controlled.Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Site-wide footer links and comments. Social signals. Legit ones will help, while purchased likes, tweets, +1s etc will hurt a site.Keyword driven domains have to be extra careful these days. 1 to 2 weeks.Yes, any 301.
9/24/2012 15:59:33drops that correlate with penguin updatesPageSometimes30-50%5-15%Absolutely!gwt (gives you lower quality links than ose or majestic)
Yes, any 301.when we have about a third removed and the other requests documented in a gdoc we can share with the webspam team.Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.low quality - comment, directory, etc. basically, anything that normal people wouldn't care about.infographics and/or buying social sharesfor all its foibles, i think it's made the web a better place and made seos step up their game.a few hours (if you have connections and social influence) to a month. months if you haven't satiated the google gods Yes, any 301.
9/24/2012 16:00:54Paul MartinExact match anchor text percentage and how those links are clustered.BothSometimes50-75%15-30%Absolutely!Yes, any 301.You need to show progress. There is no set percentage. It also depends on the number of links you have to remove. If you have 10 bad links, you'd need 100% to be removed. However if you have 500,000 bad links, you'd need several reconsideration requests to be sent over time, each showing a significant level of improvement over the last, to anywhere around 60-70+% of links having been dealt with.Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Huge amounts of exact match anchor test pointing at clustered pages of a site and/or links coming from illogical sources.Social interaction (or lack of) of these questions are too leading and/or restricted! The question about anchor text for example; The link needs to be in context and natural. The anchor text is almost irrelevant, or at least shouldn't be a direct concern of yours when getting the link. If the most natural form of a link in a given situation is to have the anchor using an exact match anchor text keyword, then that's what should be done. The use, or not, of anchor text shouldn't steer you to the types of links yo get. It's rather the situation and the type of link that should dictate the anchor text. There are no hard and fast rules or percentages that you need to strive for... it's all about keeping it natural. What ever is the most natural form of link and the most natural anchor text in any given situation, is the right link.Different cases take different amounts of time (depanding on the number of links needed to be removed, the types of links causing the issue, how many you can remove, how many reconsideration requests are needed, etc). From the final/successful reconsideration request to the lift of any penalty, is around 2/3 weeks from experience.UnsureNothing I can share, unfortunately.
9/24/2012 16:26:31Christian HinzeI look at their relevant SERPS and then Google Analtics & Backlink profile.BothNo, never.15-30%UnsureMaybe- my human eyes, you can sometimes see, if a website has been hit by penguin (looking on competitive SERPS and the website itself)
- Google Analytics (you always need data, to back your assumption up
- placeholder for nr 3
Only established 301s. (will follow 301 if it's updated)I would do my best, to show google that I really know what went wrong and what you've learned out of this. If you have a lot of bad links, that you can't let removed through the webmaster, I would want to make a list with at least the 5 most trashed linksources. It probably shows google, you have nothing to hide and your willing to do better in future.Yes, just as before. Just from different sources.Probably any type of links I wouldn't trust clicking on.
So, all links from catalogues, directories (especially bad ones), micro sites, guest books and of course linkfarms - oh, I hate those ones.
Maybe it's trust worthiness. I think Google is seeking for trust providing elements. These could be certificates, certain code fragments or a natural link my experience? From 3 to 5 months.Unsureno, sry I can't tell.
9/24/2012 16:29:31Anchor text distributionBothYes5-15%30-50%LikelyAhrefs
UnsureYes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Blog comment spam, spun article directories, and site wide links. Unsure. Anxious to read what others have to say though :)I'm not sure that immediately removing links and working toward a reconsideration request is the best approach for every site. Webmasters should examine the extent to which they were penalized. For example, one of my clients received a link warning but did not have a drastic drop in traffic. It was noticeable and definitely worth paying attention to, but the site was still performing well for a number of queries and the domain itself had not been penalized. I fear that removing links and filing for reconsideration could have triggered further review and harsher punishment. Since it seems less severe, I am thinking that the warning will expire and that an emphasis on content quality will be able to revive the website. One client who did not receive a link warning but experienced a traffic drop in late April was able to start recovering in 3 months by emphasizing anchor text diversification.

One client who received a link warning 30 days ago saw 20% drop in organic traffic and has held steady at that level since. At this point we aren't planning to file a reconsideration request, as we fear a more dramatic decrease if the request is denied. Seems that only certain pages have been impacted at this stage. We're focusing on content instead and working on the website itself. We'll re-examine reconsideration and link building efforts in another month or so once we have had time to see the impact of the warning.
9/24/2012 16:38:28geoffKeywordSometimes30-50%15-30%Absolutely!UnsureYes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.g+geoff.kenyon@distilled.netstupidUnsure
9/24/2012 16:40:26Michael CottamTraffic drop for a particular keyword.UnsureNo, never.50-75%15-30%UnlikelyOSE, Google AnalyticsUnsureTop 50 or so linking domains as reported in GWTYes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Links from known spammy sites.Non-unique image recognition in Panda. Google reverse image search is REALLY good at spotting images that have a common "ancestor", regardless of resizing, compression, file name changing, etc. This will be a brilliant way of spotting sem-thin affiliates who merely republish manufacturer content with no additional content's a lot of blurring of Penguin penalty vs. manual penalty, despite what Matt Cutts has said recently at conferences. It's interesting however how many times a Penguin penalty hits and then the site ALSO gets the manual penalty email.Haven't seen a recovery yet; haven't seen a successful reinclusion request either :-(Unsure
9/24/2012 16:47:35Hannah SmithWhether the dates traffic dropped match up to an update.BothSometimes50-75%5-15%Absolutely!Analytics packages.

Backlink analysis tools like OSE / Majestic etc.

UnsureActually I'd take this pretty seriously. I'd aim to remove as many as I could and show evidence of those I'd requested be removed, but not actioned.

Although if the situation was really bad I'd probably just write off the site and spend my time building up a brand new site instead.
Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.I think this is less about types of links and more about the overall link profile. Sites without a single editorially given link are in far more danger than those with links from trusted sources.

There are some authority sites out there that I doubt could be taken down no matter how scummy the links.
I could believe that exact match domains could be targeted't know - no experience.Unsure
9/24/2012 16:49:33Drew AllenDate of Ranking Tanking.
Anchor Text Breakdown
Backlink Profile
BothNo, never.30-50%15-30%Absolutely!OSE
Starting a completely new company.
UnsureDon't know yet, but it should be more than 93% (that got rejected).
Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Anything not in a major blog or institution site.No idea. My guess would be "Lack of Adwords Usage." many niches, I feel like it's a good thing, forcing companies to play fairER at least than they were. But for some really competitive verticals, it's been pathetic. 2 websites with almost identical link tactis and profiles, and the one with a much better content initiative takes a complete dive. Most companies in those competitive verticals aren't willing to take the LONG term, "make your blog a legit, entertaining and informative resource on your niche and in a year people will start noticing it" plan.7 months and counting.Only established canonicals. (won't follow canonical if it's updated)I'd LOVE to use it, I need to get permission from my boss to do that, but yeah, check out We have removed over 93% of our links, and we have a bunch of legit links from .edus thanks to a scholarship effort. But we have so far had TWO reconsideration requests denied. I've tried hard to make the content as good as I am allowed to, and be as natural as possible with anchor text and such.
9/24/2012 16:56:16Number and percentage of non-brand anchor text linksUnsureUnsure50-75%UnsureLikelyNoYes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Large numbers of links from the same C class all with the same (non-brand) anchor textDon't know.

Maybe a different sort of link manipulation
9/24/2012 17:16:23Christopher MillsGoogle Analytics relative to dates, then link profiling.KeywordYes50-75%15-30%MaybeGoogle Analytics
Link Detective
Yes, any 301.Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Bought links
Links from non content adjacent niches
Writing quality?chris@imoddigital.comwww.imoddigital.comI think that the most important way to handle Penguin, Panda and all the updates is to ensure that your site is being grown organically and that the content being written on the site is of a high quality and references sources correctly.Unsure
9/24/2012 17:20:15atanas yanevexact anchors if dealing with emd /pmdBothYes30-50%30-50%MaybeIf I knew that I'd be billionaireYes, any 301.All.
Stupid question, I've seen websites recovered with a simple "blabla I've removed all links" without doing nothing at all.
Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Chinese/Indian sitewide highly spammed "High DA" resources. Penguin is more about quantity, not quality. Been there, done that.Yellow shoes? people love this update - they are writing about it non stop, conferences, forums, you know, the buzz is insane, right?Didn't get any success so far, hope to let you know soon.UnsureYes. Once I was in top10 in many niches now I'm gone.
But I'm top10 in many other niches now.
9/24/2012 17:20:19Nathan GrimmI check to see if the website lost rankings for terms where they had lots of exact match anchor text.BothSometimes30-50%15-30%Absolutely!Open Site Explorer
Majestic SEO
Email -- for asking people to take down crappy-looking exact match links
Yes, any 301.Once you've requested removal of every link that was obtained against Google's guidelines.

I don't think that a reconsideration request is necessary if you are affected by Penguin since it is algorithmic. I've observed that websites gain traffic back after bad links are removed.
Just ignore anchor text, get links and don't specify preferred anchor.Exact match anchor text from low-quality sources in high volume. Sitewide exact match links would be even worse.Authorship. Who is writing content? Who is linking, tweeting, sharing, and +1ing?n8ngrimm@gmail.com than anything, Penguin has pushed the SEO community to reject link buying, article marketing, link wheels, pointless press releases, made-for-SEO directories, forum spam and other types of stupid tactics.

If my company had embraced #RCS (Real Company... Stuff) a long time ago, we'd be in a much better spot today. We're now focused on tactics that create real relationships, real content, and real influence (you know, with people). IF we succeed, no matter how Google decides to measure authority and trust, we'll have it in spades.
As soon as Google re-crawls the pages where the offending links were placed.UnsureNothing clear-cut.
9/24/2012 17:41:33Annatrafic. Lost trafic from main keywords.KeywordYes15-30%50-75%Maybeanalytics
webmaster tools
UnsureI don't send an email to google. Too suspicious !
"Google, Ive done my homeworks, thanks for the better grade. Cheers bro."
Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.non natural linksFake fans/followers on social networks !annais.gueyte@hexpress.nethttp://france.euroclinix.netStill an unperfect algorythm. When working for online pharmacy selling Viagra, dodgy websites ranking in front of me makes me wondering about how good this new update could be for the web.
Still 50 illegal websites ranking before me. (And I try to be a good and natural SEO).
6 months !Unsure
9/24/2012 17:47:46Omri ShabatBacklink profile.BothNo, never.5-15%15-30%MaybeOpen Site Explorer
Yes, any 301.If hit by Penguin, there's no point at all, it's algorithmic.Links are dead. Social rules!Too many same anchor text links.Social links.admin@workinghomeguide.comhttp://www.workinghomeguide.comIt must be refreshed more often.Depends on the Penguin refresh (there hasn't been one for the last four months).Yes, any canonical.
9/24/2012 18:38:18drops that correlate with penguin updatesPageSometimes30-50%5-15%Absolutely!gwt (gives you lower quality links than ose or majestic)
Yes, any 301.when we have about a third removed and the other requests documented in a gdoc we can share with the webspam team.Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.low quality - comment, directory, etc. basically, anything that normal people wouldn't care about.infographics and/or buying social sharesfor all its foibles, i think it's made the web a better place and made seos step up their game.a few hours (if you have connections and social influence) to a month. months if you haven't satiated the google gods Yes, any 301.
9/24/2012 18:47:14Carson WardAnchor textKeywordYes30-50%15-30%Absolutely!Diagnosis: GA, Searchmetrics, Ahrefs/OSE anchor text
Recovery: Ahrefs, Majestic, OSE
Yes, any 301.Google actually appears to be rather arbitrary when it comes to reconsideration.

For those who actually control their manipulative links (e.g. in-house networks), recovery can be very fast once the links are all removed. For those who don't control the sites with manipulative links, showing either a high percentage of link removal or an insane amount of effort seems to be the only reliable recovery method.
Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Penguin in its current iteration is only reliably good at finding exact-match unbranded links. The risk appears to rise when links are from pages containing several such external links.Google will continue to focus heavily on user experience via page quality updates, while fighting ranking manipulation on the side. carson.ward@distilled.net Penguin algorithm appears to hit at a keyword level only, but may also trigger manual reviews that result in more sweeping penalties.I've only helped with a recovery once. The links were in a blog network, removed immediately, and the penalty was removed the next week.Unsure
9/24/2012 19:17:47Analytics dataBothSometimesMore than 75%15-30%MaybeGoogle Analytics
NoJust ignore anchor text, get links and don't specify preferred anchor.Low-quality content and exact match anchor text from 'shady neighborhoods.' Any blog with consistently poor content qualifies in my opinion.Over-used "high quality signals." This could be infographics with thin surrounding content and spammy outbound links, thin content with no social sharing, or thin content with volume, but identically-matched social shares (105 unique tweets with identical text?). For example.1-2 months (not usually full recovery-- continue high-quality link building to fully recover).Unsure
9/24/2012 20:43:30Luis RochaTraffic drop overall
Traffic drop per keyword
Keyword rankings
KeywordSometimes15-30%30-50%UnlikelyExcel (with SEO Tools of Niels, to verify HTTP, Anchor Text updates, follow... and create the ratios: Brand vs Exact Vs Long tail vs Partial... and SEO moz API to know the metrics as PA to define which actions to take per ratio of anchor text)
OSE to identify the links (however some are not update.. thats way the Excel with SEO tools)
and aHref to identify the links and check competitors per date
Only established 301s. (will follow 301 if it's updated)the % of removed is very low compared to the number of requests....
If would be need to submit a reconsideration request, I would do it after have a high percentage of requests, higher than 60%, instead of removals
Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Sitewides, Blogroll, not relevant directoriesSocial metrics with fake profiles, Onsite over optimized content and interlink luisdrochanot just divide the anchor texts in Brand, Exact, Partial or Long tail... but verify if there's any pattern term on the keywords.
Link velocity - the increase of links per certain period of time
Deep ratio of links to the site: pointing to the home and ratio how deep the site have external links

Only established canonicals. (will follow canonical if it's updated)
9/24/2012 20:55:41Traffic drop on 4/24-4/25. Penguin was a sharp one-day hit, in most cases.BothSometimes30-50%UnsureMaybeAnalytics, Open Site Explorer, Google Webmaster Tools.Yes, any 301.Really depends on the severity and the health of the rest of the link profile.Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Links with multiple quality issues - exact-match anchors + low authority + sitewide footers, for example.Penguin caused aftershocks that I strongly believe Google didn't expect. They'll have to do a 2.0 to mitigate some of it, and I suspect that will be big when it hits.Unsure
9/24/2012 23:39:15Cyrus ShepardUnnatural exact match anchors. KeywordNo, never.UnsureUnsureMaybeOpen Site Explorer
Google Webmaster Tools
Yes, any 301.First email 40% Clean
2nd 60%
3rd 80%

Logic = Effort is more important than results. If you send your first email after 80% clean, webspam will likely want to see additional effort.
Just ignore anchor text, get links and don't specify preferred anchor.Sitewide, boiler plate exact and partial match anchors.On page SEO, although I think we've already seen this iterated over several updates. cyrusshepard@gmail.comhttp://cyrusshepard.comSadly, smaller sites are often better starting over than trying to clean up, depending on the severity of the bad link profile. Less than 5% of all sites fully recover (personal observation) that said, 1-2 months after penalty lifted.Yes, any canonical.
9/25/2012 9:39:24Ed FryBig traffic drop from search!BothSometimesUnsureUnsureUnsureGoogle Analytics
Mk. 1 Human Eyeball
UnsureRemove the bulk offenders (sitewides etc.), wait then continue.
Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.High % of low DA/duplicate script directoriesSomething following AuthorRank. Google's tipped violently in favour of brands, now I reckon they'll tip violently in favour of authorities and influencers.

The barriers to entry are about to get a whole lot higher. recovered.UnsureEarly website I built got hit by Panda. I created and promoted it back when I rinsed-and-repeated what worked. Directories didn't have an immediate impact, but traffic slowly grew.

In the end, it was an Adsense site... and now likely heading for the chop!
9/25/2012 10:24:36Carl-Joel MäättäPositiondrop, messages in Webmaster tools and traffic drop from google search in AnalyticsBothYes50-75%5-15%Likelyose, analytics, linkdetectiveYes, any 301.When "all" of the bad links are removed (that's possible to remove) and branded anchor text is at least above 50%.Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Keyword rich links from domains that has a low authority combined with other factors.We won't know what the next major update will target but we'll for sure know that there will be more Panda and Penguin updates. There are a lot more to do in regarding the manipulative link tactics so probably a Penguin 2.0 that will be remarkable.carljoel.maatta@gmail.com is more to expect from the Penguin algo and link manipulation will be made more difficult. Don't buy links, earn them naturally.Typical too long :) But I've notice a positive trend after 2 months doing a link cleaning and without filing a reconsideration request.Yes, any canonical.
9/26/2012 15:35:51searching the pandaPageYesMore than 75%30-50%Absolutely!google
Yes, any 301.100%Yes, just as before. Just from different sources.allspamno6 monthsYes, any
9/27/2012 1:26:45BrianSudden loss in rankings for general, high volume keywords correlated with linking anchor texts.KeywordSometimesMore than 75%30-50%Absolutely!GWT, Open Site Explorer, AhrefsUnsure100% requested and removed. Some action must have been taken on 100% of identified bad links.Just ignore anchor text, get links and don't specify preferred anchor.Geo-targeted anchors seem to always look out of place except in directories.Paid link networks identified via all those GWT link emails.Really feel that Google should immediately provide a list of what they deem "unnatural links to your site" upon request. However, they should force the requester to submit names of any/all paid link networks.6 monthsUnsure
9/28/2012 16:15:04Yousaf SekanderAnchor Text DistributionBothSometimes15-30%15-30%UnlikelyMajesticSEO/Ahrefs + the Mighty Microsoft Excel!Only established 301s. (will follow 301 if it's updated)Depends on the site and the severity of bad links in the profile. I recommend a two stage process, get rid of some links that are clearly spammy then submit a recon. If no luck, then get rid of other links which are "border line" spammy and then recon. Yes, just as before. Just from different sources.Blogrolls
Manipulative links will be Google's battle, at least for the next few years. At some stage it will have to attack "guest posts" and artificial/manipulative micro formats i.e. star ratings love it! My clients are happy and that pays!Depends on site and severity of bad links really - depends how busy the webmaster team is at the time as well. That said, I would say 2-3 months is minimum. Only established canonicals. (will follow canonical if it's updated)I can't share anything but a link to would be appreciated for filling out this rather long survey ;-)
9/28/2012 16:25:36mike litsonDrop date, whether it matches with a penguin update, then wmt, then backlink profileBothSometimes50-75%15-30%Absolutely!WMT
Link Research Tools
Only established 301s. (will follow 301 if it's updated)Doesn't Matter I work in gambling I may as well do a rain dance, I removed over 90% of all backlinks (WMT) on one occasiona and was told this was not enough of an effort.....

Just ignore anchor text, get links and don't specify preferred anchor.Sidebar, Footer, Homepage, Money TermsSocial Spammikelitson@gmail.comLink Removal is NOT cost effective, if you can move domain you should. Even if you're a large brand, if you can get a domain which is close enough then move. I've worked with clients who have cleaned up 1000s of links and huge portions of their profile to essentially be fobbed off with the standard Google response.

The only client I have which received anything other than the standard response was one that spends over $4m/year on PPC, coincidence? I think not. But, then I work in gambling predominantly so I wonder if that has anything to do with it? I would be interested to know if any of the other niches considered to be in the axis of spam have similar problems.
You don't recover, you move domain and fix it much quicker.Unsure
9/28/2012 19:58:34JoelDrop off in traffic on/around April 24th. Massive, sustained losses.KeywordSometimes50-75%15-30%Absolutely!Google analytics, Panguin, webmaster toolsNoAnything major. Anything else is just grasping at straws. Too many situations where you'd have absolutely NO control over trying to get a link removed.Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.en-mass low quality links with virtually identical anchor text.Links. Again. Only more geared towards sources; and probably one day the death of the byline link.jklettke@gmail.comhttp://bestlookingmanintheworld / @cstechjoelPenguin is a massively inconsistent penalty. I have pseudo-"test" sites that use the exact same sources for links; most were not penalized, two were. The algorithm penalized for factors IN CONJUNCTION, you can't look at just one thing and go, "AHA, there it is!". I have sites with far worse proportions of branded/unbranded, but what seems (somewhat) consistent is that no matter who you are, you need some sort of authority pointing at your site. Have enough authority links and it feels like you can pretty much get away with murder. But too many people are looking at this as a single-factor problem when in reality Google HAS to be evaluating things are they are connected. Otherwise, all you would need to do to sink a competitor would be to point thousands of unbranded links at their pages and wait.

That's just not the case.
Never, ever recover.No
10/2/2012 16:55:23chris leFirst, the whiskey bottle, then rankings for specific keywords.BothSometimes50-75%15-30%UnlikelyOSE, Majestic, GWTYes, any 301.Every link possible.Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Links from spammy sites. Links from sites that have a previous history of being spammy.Maybe around specific volatile keywords. Or maybe junk local reviews.chrisl@seerinteractive.comwww.seerinteractive.comI personally never had to. I'm not in that department. So I don't know.Unsure
10/2/2012 17:11:01Date, coupled with significant drop in ranking/trafficBothNo, never.50-75%30-50%No way!Google's webmaster toolsYes, any 301.All popular sites have a percentage of crappy links, focus on those bad links that you created.Just ignore anchor text, get links and don't specify preferred anchor.Self created ones !More SPAM sitesAt least until the next Penguin refresh !Yes, any canonical.
10/2/2012 17:19:48John-HenryI look at landing page traffic and see if individual pages have been effectedBothNo, never.50-75%15-30%MaybeAhrefs
Screaming frog - to see which links are live
Yes, any 301.I try and remove anything that's sketchy or in bad neighborhoods and catalog what i can't remove. - so 100% of questionable linksYes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Link Networks and site wide anchor text links.No idea, I'm just hear for the ride. hate it so very, very much. I used to think penguins were adorable, I now want to smash their black and white faces into a jelly. It's made us afraid of links! Imagine that, afraid of links... I never thought I would see the day. It's created a hysteria among SEOs that I think is unhealthy and fear mongering. 6 months - 1 yearUnsureNDAs, sorry.
10/2/2012 18:50:58Farky RafiqHistoric traffic, actual proof that it was penguin BothSometimes30-50%15-30%UnlikelyAhefs Ose WmtNoJust that I can show that I've tried really hard to resolve the problems. Maybe 30% removed and 70% requested.Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Dirty directories Small ongoing updates and then they'll push authorship harder so maybe socially active sites will gain a better rankings but that might be a long way off to make it solid as a signal we do know what we as SEO practitioners should do, what we could do and what we might be able to get away with. Don't build links and build brands is easier to say than do. Most link profiles do have a couple of cheeky links that just the nature of link building.About 8 weeksUnsure
10/3/2012 10:24:44Jim SewardThe first thing I would look to do is use a service like to see if there is a drop off in traffic lining up with a penguin update, I would then look at the back link profile of the site and catagorise the backlinks using the back link tool here:

After that I would use this data to see if there was a high proportion of directory/blog network links and also the amount of anchor text spread and whether they were unnaturally targeting a couple of obvious keywords
BothSometimes30-50%5-15%Absolutely!I think the obvious one that people overlook is common sense, there are a lot of tools that have sprung up to help deal with Penguin, I've linked to two above, but thinking about it logically, not panicking and working through it logically is probably more important than any toolNoI don't think any website will ever have "no bad links"

I hate to say it, but some of these links for years have been part and parcel of any website promotion and even natural link building.

For example, I have sites with directory links going back to the 90s? Should I be looking to remove these, of course not, that in itself would be unnatural. The fact that the same

Although removal of excessively spammy links would be ideal, I would be looking more to lower the percentage of spammy links by building the percentage of quality links
Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Heavily "optimised" keyword heavy anchor text in links from poor sources such as directories/article sites and blog networks.I think it might not be the next update, but an update in the future will continue to remove actual websites from the Google equation.

We're already not needing to leave Google to return a lot of data, for example, want to know what the weather is, just ask Google and it'll give you a forecast, want to know film information...Google it and it'll appear in the top right.

Google's always come down hard on sites that scrape content, but Google is becoming the biggest scraper of them all and the introduction of schema data is allowing Google to do this more successfully.

I think the time will come when we barely have to leave Google for any query think penguin was a long time coming and in all honesty, it's probably criminal that Google's allowed sites to rank using the methods that Google has targeted for so long.

I don't think it's perfect, a lot of honest sites have been hit, and there are still a lot of sites in the SERPs ranking for good keywords that Penguin was meant to target who continue to rank
I have not had to do this at this stageUnsureUnfortunately not, as I work in house and never used penguin targetted link building methods, I have not been hit by a penalty across the 10-20 sites i manage and all have maintained their rankings (small drop off on one when Penguin hit, but it was back up the next day).

Actually, why am I saying unfortunately??? I
10/3/2012 10:45:32KyleAnalytics: New Google organic traffic, excluding brand based search terms.KeywordYes15-30%5-15%UnlikelyGoogle analytics
webmaster tools - links
SEO gadget link removal tool
Yes, any 301.Once I've tried contacting everyone at least 2 times.
I aim for 70% removal on average.
When bad links are going to unimportant pages i 404 that page with a noindex/noarchive tag followed by a robot txt block once its no longer in the index.
Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Domains with more links pointing out than in, constant stream of unrelated content.Low social engagement?
It's hard to say, I thought exact match domain would be looked at way before now. I think penguin has been great for SEO, when I say SEO I mean search engine marketing based techniques. It's allowed so many of us move away from a link focused strategy to a marketing/PR strategy with links in mind.

Sites have become much more interesting and engaging since penguin and that can only really be a good thing.
2-3 months.Yes, any canonical.
10/6/2012 2:58:11len ward TrafficBothSometimes50-75%15-30%MaybeMajestic seo
Google analytics
Seomoz on page grader
UnsureUnsure maybe 10%Just ignore anchor text, get links and don't specify preferred anchor.Non relevant inventory links. Liks that every outsource has.Excessive pages for locations you servelenward@rankmeseo.comrankmeseoYes, any canonical.
10/9/2012 17:06:56Mike EssexOverall visibility for a collection of their top terms and branded searches. BothSometimes30-50%5-15%UnlikelyLinkdex
Google Webmaster Tools
Site Contact Details Tool (SEOGadget)
Yes, any 301.I don't think you'll ever get a perfect percentage. I'd rather spend a set time period contacting as many owners as time allowed and then get in touch. Yes, but lower %. Mix in branded links and other non-keyword links.Forum links
Blog sidebar links
Footer links
Low quality directories (although good directories still have a place)
Paid link networks
Links that are irrelevant to the page content
Social manipulation. It's already starting, and I think if Google don't clamp down on it now it will become a huge issue (and damage what they want to achieve with Google+).mike.essex@koozai.comhttp://www.koozai.comI think it's an update with good intentions, and true to what Google want to achieve. It certainly punishes the type of link schemes that Google have always been against, and whilst you can complain that they shouldn't have let them work in the first place that's not really a defence.

If you got away with speeding for years and then got caught by a new speed camera is that your fault or the camera's? Technically you shouldn't have been speeding, but everyone blames the camera. This is a similar thing.

Whilst I do sympathise with sites that have been hit, most of the changes Google have made are just them following through with threats they have made for years.