The impact of the Google Penguin penalty and our experiences with Disavow links

The following posting describes our experience with a client site who we provide SEO services for.


The impact of the Google Penguin penalty has loomed over a client site for some time. A submission of the first set of “disavowed” links brought about the first positive reaction that had been seen from Google in many months.

 Given that background, it was initially expected that “disavowing” more links would produce additional benefits. When this was attempted, however, it appeared to have a negative impact on the situation.


 By reversing that second set of “disavowed” link submissions, it appears that the site has been put back on track. This indicates that there is clearly a risk associated with “disavowing” more links, which may actually be supporting positioning in some cases.


 Now that visitor numbers are rising again and a clear rebound is being witnessed on some terms (such as European removal companies and European removals companies), it’s recommended that the best approach involves sticking to the current strategy, without looking to “disavow” more links at this point.


 It’s clear that progress will need to be monitored carefully. If there’s any sign that SEO progress is being limited, then it may become necessary to look again at the possibility of isolating some links and “disavowing” them. For the time being, however, that would seem to be an option that carries more risk.

Happily, indications from the last 7 days appear to point to the fact that this decision has proved to be correct. Visitor numbers from Google’s organic listings are rising again and are approaching the heights witnessed in November. This is extremely promising and it’s also noting that the search engines are also allowing positive movement on some of the specific, target keywords.

 At this point, it is suggested that it makes sense not to submit a further set of links to be “disavowed” (given the negative experience of doing so previously). The site appears to be rebounding relatively strongly and it’s advised that concentrating on “standard” SEO at this point is likely to produce the best results.

With the SEO process seemingly back on track, link building will be the priority for the coming months. It’s suggested that the main online marketing activity will include:


·        The use of a further set of articles to attract guest blog links.

·        Continued link building, with a focus on the set of target keywords.

·        Managing the Google Adwords spend.


In addition, close observation of the latest information on Google Penguin recoveries and the “disavowing” of links will be carried out, since the situation is constantly changing.


Search engine optimsation in 2013

Google have once again thrown a tirade of 1-2-3 knock out blows to
finish the year off all guns blazing. Not only did they launch the EMD
filter, but also refreshed Penguin yesterday and quietly sneaked out
another Panda update the day before the EMD launch. So is that the
best they've got then? I'd suspect so for this year!

There's been a pretty significant change to the landscape this year,
all things considered much of these updates have targeted the more
obvious loopholes and many behaviors must change as a result. The
terrain we live in no longer resembles that of the past and we are now
in an environment which is highly sensitive to quality and
manipulation with a 'shoot first, ask questions later when there
policy dictated by the self styled gun ho private police with their
privately owned judicial system and with the king at the helm, who has
taken over security in our shopping malls, increasingly gentrifying
the stallholders, turning search from one big diverse market into a
glossy over priced brand led collection of the biggest fried food
chains on the market, somewhat akin to the diversity of food
restaurants found in most American cities. 

It is increasingly commercial today with Google Shopping now being
only paid inclusion as of October and with many companies increasing
their spend with Adwords as a result of all the turmoil in natural
search this year, its bumper profits again for the biggest Crack
dealers of our time. 


How to best navigate the changes in speed limits, avoiding the police
cameras and dig oneself out of the manholes which swallow up those who
deviate from the highway.

Rule 1) drive nice cars, old bangers are more prone to stop and search
shakedowns, in web terms we need to ensure the content is seen to look
good, it has to add UNIQUE value to the debate, to offer something not
found elsewhere, one great way to achieve this is to link out
naturally to highly relevant and other unique sites which few others
are linking too. Making sure not to use similar headlines to other
content out there. Being careful to create the most unique site
possible reducing the number of pages which bring in no traffic and
have no unique content thus lowering the tone of the site. Cleaning
your wing mirrors will not make the whole car shine! 

Rule 2) obey the rules of the road, trying to overtake on the hard
shoulder is going to raise eyebrows, speeding is going to result in
camera penalties, jumping red lights is going to get you nicked and
towing your car up the motorway at 80 mph might result in an
In web terms we need to know how hard to hit a site with links, if you
hit it too hard and too often it will set off speed cameras, a good
rule of thumb is not to add more than one link per week 'maximum' to a
site. Monitoring the effects of every single inbound link, waiting for
it to settle in before adding others. 

Rule 3) don't fill your engine with leaded petrol. Non relevant links
of every kind, will have the effects of adding led to your search
results and stop your site from performing well. We have some general
rules with links, never use non relevant links, non contextual links,
links you can't easily get removed, never use the same anchor text
twice. Create the smallest possible footprint with your link profile.

Tricks that we find still work well are using aged domains to bypass
the Sandbox, using domains with high trust .ac, .edu etc. back links
for inbound links, using linking resources with highly relevant
content and specific themes related to the targets, use a few highly
potent links rather than a lot of low power links. Running the ship on
a very highly tuned fuel mix which is pure from any contaminants.  

Moving forwards: The Christmas season is upon us yet again and if your
reliant on the seasonal market, then this is the time where you need
to be planing campaigns, your positions and ranks cannot be tweaked a
few weeks before the day and you need to ensure any Christmas
campaigns are in full progress as of now. 

Put your website hosting on a new year diet


We’re already 14 days into the year 2011, but it’s not too late to put your website on a diet! Making your website leaner will help you rank better in the search engines and keep your site secure.

Out with the old

Do you deserve better hosting ? Do you deserve the best hosting ? Is it time to move ? The IThelper offers a unique personal but professional hosting experience which can be individually tailored to your needs.. for more information click here

It can be boring going back to existing pages and code when all you want to do is plough ahead with fresh content. However reviewing your existing content is a necessary task which can even be inspiring once you get into it.( honest!)

Delete, delete, delete!!!!!
Get shot of those themes and plugins you aren’t using. this will help you keep your website secure as well as freeing up valuable space.

It’s worth checking through your content as well; deleting, redirecting and amalgamating pages can help you improve visitor experience, cut down on your sitemap and ensure you keep organised. Just be careful you don’t leave a trail of 404s or delete pages important for SEO purposes, and back up your website before going on a deleting spree just i

Sort out your scripts and stylesheets
Put all your CSS into one file when possible to improve page speed and cut down on the number of files you have. If you have any JavaScript on your site, it’s also worth going through pages and includes to remove any lines of code no longer in use. Also delete any additional files (such as images) that are used by/associated with the scripts as well. Another important tip is to where possible include your JavaScript at the bottom of the page rather than the top to increase page speed.

In with the new


Planning your content in advance will save a lot of hassle, especially if you work with other people. Organisational tools such as Workflowy and Remember the Milk are ideal for keeping track of what needs doing and what you’ve completed.

If you’re outsourcing any design or content, then planning at least two or three months ahead can also have a positive impact on your budget. If you do all your own design and content, then create a schedule with deadlines to maximise your use of time and help you stay motivated.

If you have pages of your website which are outdated but still provide SEO value, then consider what content you can add to give them new value, or how to best refer visitors to the important core pages of your site.


Most of all enjoy  2011 and eat more fruit !!

Free Bug fixing of all our software guaranteed for LIFE

I bug fix every new software request before I release from live to test environments  but good software development relies on a separate person other than the developer doing the testing.

 In big companies I have worked with  this is usually a test team where a tester or group of testers  is assigned to a project or a developer.


The developer does his unit testing and then the testers do system testing and  Quality assurance.

In small companies  this is usually the client .. hence it relies on  them or someone delegated by them to test and make sure that any new features fully meets their expectations and business requirments.

This means testing each and every new feature in as many situations as possible.. yes this is boring .. yes this takes time.. but further down the road it does ultimately save time and increase revenue.
I have never and will never bug fix software I have developed free for life ..
In my experience this doesn’t happen in reality except  by developers that overcharge initially , are desperate or inexperienced or a combination of all three.

Of  course  there is "give and take" in all relationships and of course smaller fixes and tweaks are done out of good faith.  The other exception is fixed price work where the specification is crystal clear and allows indefinite fixing of issues which are included in the initial price.
Building software is not like building a house! Things change.. dependencies get broken.. windows server hotfixs get applied to servers by automatic Microsoft updates that break databases etc

A modern computer and software suite is by far the most technically complex edifice ever constructed - far more complex than any mechanical or civil engineering project. Thus, a software project is an inherently complex task being undertaken in an environment where the interactions are far more complex and poorly understood.

what I'm saying is what might work one week may break the next .. there are so many inputs and permutations .. logic paths that can happen only on certain conditions… A recent point in case was  a registration screen which all in all took me over an hour to diagnose and in the end it was down to the SMTP server switched off on the server and an emailing app turned off…. Fix time  10 seconds... responsibility or negligence of the developer - ZERO %

Which is another point ... that the diagnostic of some of these issues can soak up and absorb 99% of  the time.. and the fix can be done in seconds once its found. Add to this a poorly written report by the client of the bug with no test case details and you have to factor in additional time to hunt down the right user account/ page/ report/ whatever to use.

As I mentioned while most GOOD developers that I've talked to agree that bug-free is a myth since there's always room for improvements at the very least; there's a fine line between being driven to writing quality code and then charging for it being intentionally bug ridden.

The model I would recommend is to use a grace period. Any bugs found with in 2 weeks of a release will be fixed for free (with a caveat about duration); however, anything not discovered until after that will be considered part of the next release and billable.

The other thing to make clear here though is locking down of  requirements and expectations so that  "bugs" are not found when in actuality its a new feature that’s needed.

Thanks for reading this far .. sorry it got a bit heavy ..i’ll leave you on a lighter note

Programming today is a race between software engineers stirring to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the universe is winning.” Bill gates