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How I Recovered from Google Penalties, Algorithm Updates / Changes & Gained Traffic Back

It’s been some time since I have written about the state of my businesses and quite frankly I have been experiencing withdrawals from it.

One of the toughest challenges for me personally has always been where to spend my spare time. With a career and several income streams on the side, I frequently find myself negotiating between pushing the professional career forward or any one of my income streams.

To add to the dilemma, some of the more recent income streams have really started to really pick up and show strong promise, which inherently makes me want to focus on them. That said, something has to take the back seat.

With a limited amount time available to spread between initiatives outside my career, the frequency at which I get to work on side projects, including posting on this blog is significantly slower than someone working online full time.

I have been exclusively focused on creating more ebooks, audio books, iPhone apps, working on two larger authority type websites and experimenting with methods to revive websites that were penalized by search engine algorithm updates. I couldn’t help but break my momentum to share recent success I’ve had with penalized sites.

I have mentioned before that I started this blog to document the various projects I am involved in so that you can see how I was and still am to able to establish various income streams while maintaining a full time career with the idea to be able to replicate it as well if you wanted to.

While I will continue to do exactly that, albeit at a much slower pace than full timers, I want to share some recent success I have had reviving some sites that were impacted by the changes in search engine algorithms, most particularly the Google algorithm updates (Bing and Yahoo have held up for me for the most part).

I have haphazardly shared signs of improvement in traffic at random intervals in the past on my Facebook page. But I wanted to make sure that the success I had with this website was not an anomaly.  I wanted to see whether I could experience the same success with other websites as well.

To date I have three websites that have successfully bounced back from the various penalties imposed on them by Google, as well as the impact on traffic due to the various algorithm updates we have seen in the recent past.

Here are some screen shots showing the traffic trends:

This is a site that started recovering in the August time frame. It was down to just a few hundred visitors per day – as good as dead compared to where it was during its hey days.  The site is back to the mid three thousands of uniques per day.

This shows a site that started recovering around November. The site was penalized and was down to under 300 unique visitors a day. After several months of working on it the site is now just under 500 visitors per day. There is still some upside to recover but I’ve added 200ish visitors per day to it and I am happy about that.

Finally, this one shows a site that started recovering later in November. It was down to under 300 uniques per day. As I write this post traffic is up to just under 700 uniques per day.

Collectively this is a huge improvement in traffic, and my Google Adsense earnings are definitely reflecting the improvement.

If you’re curious how the traffic breakdown looks like on these, have a look at the pie charts below. Notice that most of the traffic comes from search engines. This is what I want ideally for these particular sites. These sites were created with the sole purpose of profiting from Adsense, information products and affiliate marketing.

Note: None of these sites are “spammy” in nature. I truly believe the content is valuable and of high quality. These sites were impacted by some of the traditional search engine optimization strategies I used to get them to rank higher initially.

You will notice the date ranges are quite varied. The reason for this is that I took my time experimenting with the methods with one site only until I was able to see some results. I wanted to let the results continue for a reasonable period of time before moving on to the next site.

I did the same with site #2 and subsequently site #3. I have a handful of other sites that were impacted which I am currently working on. These sites are larger in nature and were more penalized (I can tell by the number of “bad” back links they have coming into them).

Naturally, these sites will take longer to recover. I will post an update once these have recovered to hopefully further reinforce the methods I used to get the first three back on track.

Fortunately, not all of my sites were impacted. In fact, some of the sites continued to thrive amidst all the algorithm updates and changes and continued to generate a healthy passive income stream.

For example, see this and this relatively recent earning proof for example.

So here is what I plan to do. I will follow up with several posts and discuss each step I took in detail with the hope that you too can follow along if you’d like if you’ve had some sites that were impacted. The good news is that it didn’t cost me an arm to execute on these. The bad news is that it took a lot of time to methodically get through the exercise.

Considering the net results that I am seeing now, the bad news doesn’t sound bad at all now that I look back in retrospect. But because we are human, the challenge is that just like starting an online business for the first time, there are many unknowns and often doubt creeps in, making us second guess our decision because we don’t know whether it will pay off in the long run. The only way to truly find out is to try. But if we don’t try and take action, we eliminate all possible chances of success to begin with.

In the next post I will discuss how to first confirm whether your site was penalized.

Have you been able to successfully recover a site from Google penalties and algorithm updates? I’d love to hear about how you did it in the comments below. Even if you haven’t fully recovered yet, I’d love to hear what you have tried so far and what you plan on doing in the future?

Various Article Marketing Strategies That Work & What Works Best

There are several article marketing strategies employed by internet marketers to build back links to their web properties, but which one of these approaches works best, especially in an ever changing search engine algorithm landscape?

Because back links are still very much relevant and important in terms of where your web property is positioned on the internet, article marketing is also relevant and important because it is one of the better ways to build back links to your web properties in a manner that you can control.

Many have completely backed off from article marketing after the multiple updates to the Google search algorithm, but such changes are only going to increase over time. In addition, Google is not the only search engine and thus other players in the market are also trying a variety of things, some that will work in your favor, and some that won’t.

But with that said, I don’t see article marketing going away completely because building back links is and will remain part of any search algorithm’s formula. However, the method by which you build back links has and will continue to evolve.

The Different Article Marketing Strategies

I have personally applied a variety of article marketing strategies that have worked for me which I have also written about on this blog.  All article marketing strategies boil down to two simple methods in my opinion, direct and indirect linking. I will discuss these two and provide my thoughts on how well I feel each article marketing strategy works.

Direct Linking

Direct linking is exactly what it sounds like.  You link directly to your website or blog’s home page from within the article utilizing a relevant anchor text or simply listing out the web properties URL.

In the earlier days, everyone linked directly to a web property’s home page, but as internet marketing evolved, the concept of deep linking emerged, which is the practice of linking from within an article to a sub page or web page of the main website or blog being promoted (thus, a “deep page”).

Indirect Linking

Indirect linking refers to a link layering strategy in which you are linking from within an article to another article, blog post, forum posting, etc. and from within that linking to the actual web property that is being promoted.

Indirect linking picked up a lot of steam in more recent times, particularly when everyone was getting into a number of niche site projects, and even more so exacerbated by the effectiveness of linkwheeling as a link building strategy.

There were several other offshoots of this article marketing strategy as well such as broken link wheels, but in essence this strategy involves interlinking between several avenues in an effort to push link building momentum to the web property being promoted.

What Works Best? What is Your Objective?

Sounds dandy, but which one of the above article marketing strategies works best? The answer is that all are, and if you are wondering whether the quality or quantity of back links is more critical to your success, both are.

That wasn’t the answer you were looking for, right? Truth is, at least in my experience managing over 20 niche sites, a more important consideration is not what strategy to focus on, or whether to focus on quality or quantity, but rather how you go about executing your strategy and acquiring the quantity of back links.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating spamming the internet and getting just any kind of back link to your web properties, but a PR 1 back link is not necessarily a poor quality link.

What I am trying to convey in this post is that both quality and quantity of back links are just as important, and the clean article marketing strategies we’ve used in the past still work with due care given to how we execute them today.

What do I mean by due care?

Due care involves an ethical and reasonable approach to link building, the same that was true even in the past but unfortunately overlooked by many. It’s easy to get carried away when things are on the up and up, and unfortunately sometimes it takes major set backs for us to take a step back to reflect and reevaluate.

Fortunately, we are constantly reminded to be cognizant of velocity, relevancy and variety as it pertains to our link building efforts.

Velocity refers to the speed at which you build links. If you are using a tool like Unique Article Wizard like I do, I encourage you to slow down the frequency of your daily submissions and instead slowly drip feed them over time. The tool allows you to make such adjustments instantly.

Relevancy refers to the content of your article and the avenue it is linking to. For example, you cannot submit an article to Ezine about dogs and have a link within going to a website about bats. Ensure that not only the content of the article is relevant, but also the anchor text you are using to link to your web property.

Finally, variety refers to the anchor text you use to link to your website. In addition to ensuring the anchor text is relevant to your web property, mix up the text instead of using the same keyword repeatedly. In addition, ensure an ample amount of plain URL links (www) pointing to your web property.

So while many have completely backed off article marketing, I still find it working for me. I encourage you to continue building back links to your web properties. However, be very cognizant of the new search landscape and thus pay close attention to the variety of anchors you are using, the relevancy of your article content to where you are linking, as well as the velocity of your link building efforts.

So, have you given up on article marketing as a method of building back links? Why or why not? What alternative internet marketing strategies are you finding work best for your websites and blogs in today’s internet landscape?

My Social Bookmarking Strategy, Its Benefits & The Tool I Use

Social bookmarking is a hit or miss strategy for many, but utilizing it in a very specific manner using specific tools has been very effective for me.

It is a key component of my marketing strategy whenever I build a new niche website, or whenever I want to promote or build back links to new articles on my blog, websites or articles that I submit to directories and web 2.0 properties for article marketing purposes.

Social bookmarking is the bookmarking, recording or saving of a particular URL (a website or a single web page of that website) to a social bookmarking platform such as Digg and Stumbleupon. The reason why the strategy is effective is because social bookmarking platforms are some of the most credible and high ranking websites, not to mention the possibility of your content going insanely viral.

The reason why social bookmarking doesn’t turn out that beneficial for many marketers is because many use it haphazardly, without a specific approach that has a clear objective.  Clarity and focus are critical in everything you do.  Like most similar approaches, this initiative is like shooting in the dark.

Having a specific strategy with a clear objective in mind is how you gain the maximum benefit from this marketing approach. With that said, there are many ways to use social bookmarking to meet various objectives.

Personally, I use social bookmarking with two specific objectives in mind, to gain quality back links to my websites, and to get my web pages indexed on search engines before I begin spinning the articles and submitting them to article directories. Subsequently, I use it to boost the rank or build back links to articles submitted to directories.

Although high quality content can spread like wildfire if noticed by a high profile social bookmarker, and many use social bookmarking to do just that, I don’t proactively seek to gain this result from my social bookmarking efforts because the outcome is way beyond my control and involves a high degree of luck.  What I do intend to gain however is a solidified page rank to stabilize by ranking on search engines through back link building.

Using Social Bookmarking to Boost Your Article Marketing Initiatives

Just like article marketing initiatives can help provide a boost to your website and the various web pages within, social bookmarking acts in the same way and can also help take your link building effort a step further.  Not only can you bookmark your web pages, but also the articles you submit for article marketing purposes on various article directories.

Imagine three layers that start from the core, which is your website or blog.  The outer layer is the article marketing initiatives which brings back links to the inner core.  Another layer outside the article marketing layer is the social bookmarking initiative, which brings back links to your articles, which in turn passes on to the inner core which is your main website.

Social Bookmarking Flow Chart

As you can see in the diagram, I also use social bookmarking sparingly to link directly to content that is on my web properties.  Use this approach sparingly and slowly.

The Best Social Bookmarking Sites to Use

So which social bookmarking sites should you utilize to drive back links to your articles? Digg and StumbleUpon are solid social bookmarking websites to start with, but these are just two of several effective sites. There are social bookmarking tools you can use that come with a pre-populated list of popular and effective social bookmarking sites you can target.

In my experience, social bookmarking is a numbers game in that the more sites you target the more effective your efforts become. The utilization of an automated tool helps you do this relatively easily.

There are three tools that I came across when I first started looking into using social bookmarking, Social Bookmarking Demon, Social Marker and OnlyWire.  I personally don’t like Social Bookmarking Demon because 1) it is clunky 2) it is expensive for no good reason in my opinion and 3) it doesn’t give me any more benefit from using it relative to the other two.

I used Social Marker for some time and find it better than the Demon because it is FREE.  The downside is that their customer no support is non\-existent.  Moreover, depending on which day you try it, the tool may or may not work for you.  This frustrated me more than anything else and for that reason I don’t recommend it.

OnlyWire is what I use today because it is easy to use and it I like their back end support best of all three programs.  For a non techie like myself, robust customer service is very important and I am willing to pay extra for it.  However, OnlyWire has a free plan that you can use to market one website for up to 300 submissions per month. That is plenty for most people and you may never have to spend on a social bookmarking tool.

Since I have over 20 niche websites, I use the Corporate plan at $99/month because it allows me to market an unlimited number of websites with unlimited submissions.  They also have an intermediate plan that starts at $10 per month which allows you to market one website for an unlimited amount of monthly submissions.  For me, the fee well worth it relative to the benefits I gain from utilizing this powerful Internet marketing tool. However, you can totally take advantage of their free offer.

Note that utilizing social bookmarking mass submission tools doesn’t mean you don’t have to sign up with each social bookmarking site. You still do, but you only have to do it one time. You can’t skip this step no matter what social bookmarking tool you use.

Once your login credentials are stored in the software you are using, the rest of the process becomes relatively streamlined.  You can mass bookmark specific web pages across multiple social bookmarking platforms with one click of the button. For example, in my Onlywire dashboard, I have most social bookmarking sites clicked, or enabled for submission (see below).

Onlywire Dashboard (Click to enlarge)

You can definitely benefit from social bookmarking without spending money on social bookmarking software, but utilizing one will make the process much easier, much less time consuming and more effective in my opinion.

What strategy(ies) has worked best for you? What kinds of results have you experienced? What tool do you use and what’s your opinion of it?  If you are not leveraging social bookmarking in your marketing initiatives, why?

Full Disclosure: I have an affiliate relationship with OnlyWire and get paid a commission each time someone I refer to it makes a purchase. I currently use OnlyWire for mass Social Bookmarking.

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