If your photography website has taken a sudden dive in ratings recently then it could well be due to the Google Penguin algorithm changes pushed out in recent months.
Firstly, what is Penguin?
To find out what Penguin is and how it affects photographers websites you can read this earlier blog post we wrote a few weeks back - What is Google Penguin and why should photographer’s beware!
Now, I’ve read lots of horror stories about sites being “penalised” by Google and other “scare tactics” being pushed out there – the key thing to remember is that Penguin is just an algorithm change – unless you have had a message from Google via Webmaster Tools about some other problem with your site, this is simply a change in your rankings due to Google changing their algorithms. All you need to do is adjust your site’s back-link profile to compensate for that algorithm change and eventually you will recover from penguin.
So how do we do that?
Remember what changed in Penguin – it’s all to do with targeted keywords and where they appear within your back-link density. So, for example, if 50% of your back-links are all via anchor text which reads “Wedding Photography New Jersey” and your search results for that keyword suddenly went from page 1 to page 33, then you’ve been hit by Penguin and you need to get that 50% figure down to around 10% or lower.
So how do we recover from penguin? Remember percentages are just simple arithmetic, so to get 50% of your links to suddenly become 10% you need to either add links, or remove links.
If removing links is an option for you, get a list of all those back-links for “Wedding Photography New Jersey” and initially target any website that have no relevance to photography, as these are amongst your weakest back-links anyway. If you created the link via some pointless forum post or forum profile – log in and delete them. If you can’t access or amend the link yourself contact the site owner and ask the site owner if they might kindly remove them for you (trust me they will be aware of the problem and most decent site owners will honour your request).
Worst case scenario you can use Google’s webmaster tools “disavow” links tool, but the jury is still out on how long this takes and what signals that in itself sends to Google. So only use this as a last resort for links you are confident are doing your site harm.
Start adding new site back links but spread out the keyword density well away from your target keywords – this will gradually reduce that 50% figure and slowly you will see your rank start to recover – it will take time, but you will get there – it just needs a bit or work, but you will learn a lot about SEO in the process.
Now if you’ve read through that and Penguin still means nothing to you, go play with these other Penguins