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Google Panda 20, Google EMD Update & Google Penguin 3

Google Panda 20Until today, I’ve only ever posted new content to on the 1st of each month.

I intend to keep doing that, but on the odd occasion when something big happens, I’ll make the occasional mid-month update as well (just like today).

In the last 2 weeks, Google rolled out 3 changes to their algorithm. The Google EMD (exact match domain) Update, Google Panda 20, and Google Penguin 3.

Many people have lost rankings because of these updates and many people have contacted me personally asking for a clarification about exactly what happened.

Where do my opinions, recommendations and thoughts come from?

While I don’t claim to have all the answers, I do immerse myself in SEO every day and I spend a huge amount of time studying every major Google algorithm update.

I own a huge number of websites that I monitor closely. In addition to these, I also have access to data from a large number of websites owned by my private 1 on 1 students (I obviously never reveal my students specific data, but I do take it into account when analyzing changes and making recommendations etc).

I monitor the performance of all these websites.

I look for patterns and trends and am constantly analyzing what’s working, and what’s not.

Let’s now take a look at what’s happened in the past couple of weeks…

September 28th, 2012: Google EMD Update

On Friday the 28th of September, Google announced it had just completed an EMD update targeted at reducing low quality exact match domains appearing high in the search results.

Matt Cutts EMD Tweet

What Google are essentially trying to do with this update is to minimize the impact an exact match domain name has on getting top rankings.

For example, lets say you want to rank for the keyword “how to make coffee”, then a domain name such as “” would, until now, give you a boost in the rankings (it’d help you get rankings faster).

To a lesser extent, .org and .net domain names such as “” and “” would also help speed up getting top Google rankings.

This latest “EMD Update” will supposedly minimize the power of exact match domain names, essentially leveling the playing field.

I really doubt that Google has completely minimized the added power an exact match domain name has, but they’re definitely moving in that direction.

Results from My Own EMD Websites:

Up until now, I personally haven’t noticed ANY loss of rankings for any of my exact match domain names.

The example website I built for Authority Hybrid members (if you’re a member, you’ll know the site I’m talking about) is a “partial match” domain name and it has STILL got it’s top 10 ranking and I’ve done nothing to that site in months.

I’ve taken a look at several of my promotional product launch websites, and none of them have been hit either…here’s an example:

EMD Example

As you can see in the image above, at 11:51am on Monday 8th October, my website is STILL ranking number 1 in Google (I used to verify that ranking).

The key thing to remember is this:

Google is NOT penalizing exact match domain names. It’s simply trying to minimize the extra power they have.

When I’m launching new websites in the future, I’ll continue to leverage exact match domain names when I find good ones (such as are available.

September 27th, 2012: Google Panda 20

The Google “Panda 20” update actually started BEFORE the exact match domain update. Google didn’t announce it right away though, so no one actually knew about it until AFTER the EMD update.

This update is being referred to as “Panda 20” because it’s the 20th update of the Google Panda algorithm that’s been made in the past 18 months.

Here’s a timeline showing when each Google Panda update has been made, and how many websites have been affected each time:

  1. Panda Update 1, Feb. 24, 2011 (11.8% of queries; announced; English in US only)
  2.  Panda Update 2, April 11, 2011 (2% of queries; announced; rolled out in English internationally)
  3.  Panda Update 3, May 10, 2011 (no change given; confirmed, not announced)
  4.  Panda Update 4, June 16, 2011 (no change given; confirmed, not announced)
  5.  Panda Update 5, July 23, 2011 (no change given; confirmed, not announced)
  6.  Panda Update 6, Aug. 12, 2011 (6-9% of queries in many non-English languages; announced)
  7.  Panda Update 7, Sept. 28, 2011 (no change given; confirmed, not announced)
  8.  Panda Update 8, Oct. 19, 2011 (about 2% of queries; belatedly confirmed)
  9.  Panda Update 9, Nov. 18, 2011: (less than 1% of queries; announced)
  10.  Panda Update 10, Jan. 18, 2012 (no change given; confirmed, not announced)
  11.  Panda Update 11, Feb. 27, 2012 (no change given; announced)
  12.  Panda Update 12, March 23, 2012 (about 1.6% of queries impacted; announced)
  13.  Panda Update 13, April 19, 2012 (no change given; belatedly revealed)
  14.  Panda Update 14, April 27, 2012: (no change given; confirmed; first update within days of another)
  15.  Panda Update 15, June 9, 2012: (1% of queries; belatedly announced)
  16.  Panda Update 16, June 25, 2012: (about 1% of queries; announced)
  17.  Panda Update 17, July 24, 2012:(about 1% of queries; announced)
  18.  Panda Update 18, Aug. 20, 2012: (about 1% of queries; belatedly announced)
  19.  Panda Update 19, Sept. 18, 2012: (less than 0.7% of queries; announced)
  20.  Panda Update 20, Sep. 27, 2012 (2.4% English queries; belatedly announced)

To emphasize that this really was a pretty big algorithm update, I’ve highlighted the 3 biggest Panda updates we’ve had so far (in terms of how many websites ended up being affected). As you can see, this is the 3rd biggest Panda update ever, and the biggest since the 12th of August, 2011.

Aside from having a big impact on many websites, this Panda update is actually an algorithm change, not just a “refresh” (in the past it’s often just been a “refresh”).

What this means is that Google have changed the way Panda works, they having just hit a “refresh button”.

5th October, 2012: Google Penguin 3

On the 5th of October Google made it’s 3rd refresh of Google Penguin.

Here’s a timeline showing the Google Penguin changes made since April:

  • Penguin 1: April 24, 2012 (3.1%)
  • Penguin 2: May 26, 2012 (less than 0.1%)
  • Penguin 3: Oct. 5, 2012 (0.3%)

Google (Matt Cutts) confirmed that Penguin 3 affects 0.3% of all search queries.

Because of the fallout caused by Google Panda 20, this update has largely flown “under the radar” and far fewer websites seem to have been hit by Google Penguin 3 compared to Google Panda 20.

If you have been hit by Penguin, then getting back to the top of the rankings is just a case of fixing your link ratio. You’ve probably been using the same anchor text too frequently or perhaps you need more links from relevant websites.

You can learn more about Google Penguin in my May update.

I now want to focus in on Google Panda 20, as this is what’s caused most of the issues in the past couple of weeks…

What Does Panda Target?

Google Panda is aimed at penalizing what Google deems to be “low quality” websites.

Sites that suffer usually have at least one of the following problems:

  • Not enough content (thin websites)
  • Too much advertising (too many ads in prominent places)
  • Too many affiliate links (multiple affiliate links on every single page)
  • Not enough social signals (Facebook likes etc)
  • Extremely high bounce rate (people leave your site as soon as they arrive)

Unlike websites affected by Google Penguin, websites that lose rankings as a result of Panda seem to receive a penalty…it’s not a case of just fixing a few things and expecting your website to bounce back, websites hit by Panda seem to face a time penalty a well…

Generally speaking, websites don’t just bounce back from a Panda penalty. They typically struggle to get rankings for a long time. Unfortunately, I can’t recall many instances where websites have returned to the top of Google after being hit by Panda.

Google Panda Isn’t About Backlinks Or Link Building Methods

Google Panda has never really been about the types of links you’ve got, how you built those links, or the anchor text you’ve used. That’s Google Penguin.

If you’ve taken a hit due to Panda 20, it’s not about the way you’ve done your link building, it’s about how Google rates your website. More than anything else, it’s “on page” stuff.

The Damage Done By Google Panda 20…

While Google says this update affects 2.4% of all English queries, it actually impacts a much higher percentage of people who are involved in SEO though.

There are millions of search terms that people don’t bother doing SEO with and millions of people who own websites but don’t do any SEO to them. Remove all these keywords and websites, and the percentage of queries impacted will rise substantially.

I’ve read about many many people who’ve been affected and even some of my own students have lost rankings as a result of Google Panda 20.

The typical story I’m hearing is:

“My website was ranked #6 in Google, now it’s ranking #423”

The sad thing about all this is that many innocent people with QUALITY websites have been caught in the crossfire.

Since Google uses a robot to rank websites, it’s INEVITABLE that this happens.

Results From My Own Websites

My own network of authority sites have come through Panda 20 completely unscathed (for now…touch wood)…

I’ve got a large number of Adsense sites, eCommerce sites and Affiliate sites, they’ve ALL maintained their rankings and their income (thankfully!!!!).

Here are a couple of examples of different types of websites that’ve maintained their rankings and traffic:

Aidan Booth Adsense Website

The above is a StatCounter screenshot show traffic stats for an Adsense website. As you can see, traffic is steady at about 400 unique visitors per day.

Aidan Booth eCommerce Statistics

The above stats are from an eCommerce website. Again, the traffic has maintained steady at about 50 visitors per day.

But I’ve seen websites similar to mine that have lost rankings though…so what’s the difference?

Why have some people’s websites suffered, while mine have survived?

I’ll talk more about that in just a second…but first before you can even think about that, you need to know WHY you’ve lost rankings.

Why Did Your Website Lose Rankings?

The very first thing you need to do is try to identify WHY you lost rankings.

Was it a result of the Google EMD update, Google Panda 20 or Google Penguin 3?

If you lost rankings and traffic on the 5th of October, then you’ve been hit by Google Penguin 3. If this is the case, refer to my May update to learn how to fix the problem.

Determining whether you were hit by the Google EMD update or the Panda 20 update isn’t as simple. It’s more complicated as these two updates have overlapped with one another (a deliberate ploy by Google…).

The graph below shows (very obviously) that a website was hit by Google Penguin:

Google Update Ranking Loss

The date the traffic dropped off perfectly coincided with when Google Penguin was initially released. Normally Google releases updates one at a time, which makes identifying the cause of a drop in rankings very easy.

Since there’s an overlap in algorithm changes this time around, it’s not as clear cut.

If you lost rankings/traffic somewhere around the 28th of September, then it was either caused by Google Panda 20 or the EMD update. If that’s the case, I recommend you ask yourself the following:

  • Does your domain name include a keyword that you actively target on your homepage?

For example, lets say you run an eCommerce website and that you’re targeting the keyword “outdoor furniture” on your homepage. If your website is “”, then chances are, you’ve been leveraging at least a little power from a partial match domain name and you could have been affected by the Google EMD update (but you could have also been affected by Googel Panda 20 as well!).

If however you target the keyword “outdoor furniture” on your homepage and your domain name is “”, then you’re not leveraging an exact match (or partial match) domain name and the only thing that could have affected you in the past couple of weeks is Google Panda 20.

If you think that you could have been hit by Google Panda 20, ask yourself the following:

  • Does your website have too many ads/affiliate links?
  • Have you placed too many ads/affiliate links in prominent places on your website (at the top)?
  • How do visitors behave when they come to your site? Do most visitors leave your website immediately?
  • Are you lacking Social Signals (Facebook Likes, Google +1’s etc)?
  • Does your website lack quality content? Is your website a “thin website”?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then chances are that your website was a prime candidate to have been hit by Google Panda 20.

Perhaps You Have A GREAT Website That Was Caught In The Crossfire

It’s possible that your website is an excellent website.

It’s possible that your website is made in exactly the same way, following exactly the same methods as websites that have come through the recent Google changes unaffected.

If this is the case…then you’ve most likely just been unlucky. You’ve probably just got caught up in the crossfire.

If this is you, then believe me…I know how you feel…

I’ve been in your situation many many times and on countless occasions I’ve asked myself if internet marketing “really works” and if it’s “worth the effort”.

Thankfully, I’ve always held such a strong belief in internet marketing.

A belief that I could reach my dreams and thanks to that belief, when the times have gotten tough, I’ve just kept pushing on.

I’ve launched new websites, I’ve diversified the types of websites I build and the methods I use to make money online.

My Business Is FORCED To Grow…

By consistently and persistently “plugging away”, my business has been forced to grow.

There’s no fluke in this.

I simply removed the chance of failure by playing the “numbers game”.

I’m fully aware that not every single website I launch will be a “winner”, but I know that some will be successful and I’ve gotten good at stacking the odds in my favor.

I know that Google will continue to throw obstacles at me and other internet marketers from time to time, but by continuing to improve what I do, by continuing to evolve my business, and by continuing to diversify, I’m lowering the “risks” of taking a significant “Google hit” every single day.

Next step if you’ve lost rankings from Panda 20…

If you were one of the unlucky people that have lost rankings, if you’ve taken a hit, you NEED to get back up and move on.

If you’ve been hit by Panda 20 and have lost rankings as a result, I recommend you build new websites. You probably can overcome a Google Panda penalty with time, but it’s probably easier to just build a new website.

And if you haven’t lost rankings from any of these updates…

If you’ve come through these recent Google updates unscathed, don’t rest on your laurels.

If you’re building authority sites, do you best to provide REAL value to your visitors…but don’t ever assume that you’re 100% safe from algorithm changes as sometimes GOOD websites do get caught in the crossfire.

You NEED to keep expanding your business – that’s the best protection there is.

The more money making websites you own, the better position you’ll be in. The more diversity you’ve got in your business, the stronger it’ll be.

Final Thoughts

My gut feeling is that the vast majority of people who’ve lost rankings on authority sites in the past 10 days have been hit by Google Panda 20, not the EMD update.

In fact, I’m not even concerned about the EMD update…as long as you’ve got plenty of anchor text variation then it shouldn’t be an issue.

Google is a robot and it’s fickle.

Sometimes Google gets things wrong and quality websites suffer.

Remember that internet marketing is a numbers game, stack the odds in your favor and don’t put all your hopes and dreams on just a few websites. Continue to build them over time and your business will be forced to grow.

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72 Comments so far:

  1. Taylor says:

    Wow super informative post Aidan. That’s what separates you from all the other “gurus”, you actually “do” what you preach and always over deliver the value. You cant get any more specific and informative about this new change w panda and penguin then that 🙂 thanks dude

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Taylor, thanks for the feedback 🙂 I’m really happy that I’m able to help and I’m glad that you find it useful!!!

  2. Rob says:

    Thanks for such a detailed breakdown Aidan.

    I think one of my Authority Hybrid sites was either hit by Google Penguin 3 or the crossfire.

    You can see the drop in traffic:


    • Aidan says:

      Hi Rob, it definitely looks that way. Penguin isn’t as bad as Panda as it’s not a penalty, it’s just an algorithmic change. If you work on more anchor text variation and getting more links on more related sites, your website will bounce back.

  3. Thanks for taking the time to write out such an informative article, Aidan. I’ll come back again in the next day or two to re-read, as there is so much to absorb.

  4. Romy says:

    Another very useful post. Liked it and “liked” it 🙂

    But, I have a site that doesn’t belong to any of your categories.

    I have an EMD site. It was ranking on page one (top 5) for 4 main keywords. After the recent updates I lost rankings for 2 of those kwds (I mean nowhere to be found). Funny thing is, I went up 1 position, from 3 to 2, for my #1 main keyword, the exact match keyword, the one I used as my domain name.

    And now market samurai reports that I lost lots of backlinks. I had around 600, now I have 200. What I get from this is that the sites that were linking to me were deindexed… Or they were hit by Google as well, and now they are cleaning up their websites, removing outbound links, and starting fresh.

    Weird things still happen, and I think will continue to happen.

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Romy, thanks for Liking this page!! Appreciated 🙂

      Panda is, generally speaking, a site wide penalty…the whole site normally suffers. Based on what you’ve seen, it sounds like you defintiely didn’t get hit with Panda, but perhaps Penguin. Perhaps the link building was too heavy (too much usage of the same anchor text or not enough relevant links) to a couple of your keywords, as such, they may have experienced a Penguin hit (if it happened on the 5th)?

      Really hard to say without knowing more…the good news is though that you’ve still got rankings and I’m adamant your other 2 keywords that dropped can bounce back if you spend more time link building 🙂

  5. Will says:

    Thanks so much for the great information Aidan, always appreciated.

  6. Carolyn Blake says:

    I lost ranking for every single one of my Halloween sites, which i set up as exactly as I could according to HSA guidelines, September 2011. After July of this year, I even posted many articles on each one with no exact match keywords in them…like the History of Zombies, Origin of Trick or Treating, the first Zombie movie, a new species of spider…all related to the site’s theme but nothing to do with selling or my keywords. Now for any of them, even if I put the main keywords in quotes, they are nowhere to be found. This is devastating…all that work, all those sites aged for a year…gone. And too late to save for this Halloween, maybe ever. This is devastating.

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Carolyn,

      I’m sorry to hear that, I know EXACTLY how you feel.

      About 2 years ago I had over 300 Halloween sites de-indexed right at about this time (right before Halloween!). At that moment, I made the decision to diversify and move AWAY from small, thin, exact match domain based websites…it’s been the best thing I’ve done. I recommend you do the same.

      Make sure you start working on a few Authority Sites right away…sites that add a lot of real value to their visitors…

  7. Jeremy says:

    Between Rank and Pillage, Constant Content The Google Gift (a MUST buy for knowledge and humor!!), and Authority Hybrid I have only seen good (amazing) things out of algo changes!

  8. Annabel says:

    Hi Aidan,

    Thanks for the explanation on the recent updates.

    I lost 4 sites that I built a few months ago from page one that were doing really well. They disappeared on the 28th Sept from page one to God knows where! They were EMD thin sites, but they were my first and that’s how I was taught to build them – I was a newbie and didn’t know any better.

    But for you to lose 300 sites – that must have been awful! The fact that you just got up and changed tactics is truly inspirational and I will do the same.

    I did start 3 authority sites recently and have done very little with them and they all improved in ranking with the recent updates. One of them is on page one with only a single article and nothing else.

    I think it is probably the combination of thin content and exact match domains that just wiped out the first set. They survived both the previous Panda and Penguin updates.

    Anyway, thanks again for the really helpful post today.

    • Aidan says:

      Hey Annabel,

      Haha – yes, it was pretty bad when I lost so many domain names, but that was the risk I took when I decided to leverage that EMD strategy so heavily (I still earned a huge amount of money from EMD’s the same year that I lost the 300 so it was still worth it – just a case of “what might have been”!!!).

      I’m glad your rankings have improved with the recent updates 🙂 Take all this in your stride and keep learning. Thanks for commenting!

  9. Hi Aidan –

    Thanks for the comprehensive report. It’s good to have some light shed on the culprit.
    Even if there is nothing to be done about it, except in the case of Penguin, as you said
    might be a possibility.

    If our linking profile was skewed (too much of same anchor text or too many of one type of link)
    is there a way to know such things. If we are to try to balance the linking profile, how are we to know where to add weight.

    Thanks again,
    Dave C

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Dave, you’re welcome.

      Regarding the link profile, tools like Majestic SEO ( can give you a lot of good free information about this. Normally the best thing to do though is simply build lots of “URL links”. For example, build links that use “” or “” as the anchor text.

      Furthermore, completely unrelated anchor texts such as “click here” will help balance things up as well.

      With regards to getting links on relevant websites, this isn’t actually that difficult as you can create your OWN small network of relevant sites 😉

      • J.J says:

        Hi Aidan,

        And how small should this network be?

        Great Article by the way. Very Informative

        Considering building new websites after reading this

        • Aidan says:

          Hi J.J,

          If you want to create your own little network of “Feeder Site” (sites where you create your own relevant links), it can REALLY help boost you up the rankings. I’d aim initially for 3-5 Feeder websites, each site would have 4-5 articles and would have links coming back to your main website…

          Hope this helps, let me know if you have more questions about this.

          • Jonathan says:

            HI Aidan,

            On the feeder sites would you recommend the use of any advertising (adsense etc…), OR just keep the site to content only?



          • Aidan says:

            Hi Jon, I’d go with content only…if the feeder sites started getting some decent traffic, then some kind of monetization could be an option though.

  10. Chris says:

    Thanks for this informative update, Aidan. I’m glad to see that the techniques you are teaching is holding up with all the changes – it shows that what you are doing is not only high quality and meaningful (in the Big G’s eyes), but the linking strategies are sound as well.

    • Aidan says:

      Hey Chris, thanks for commenting 🙂

      Google is difficult, they keep on shifting the goal posts…but I think by focusing on value for the end user, we can avoid running into many problems others will have in the future…

  11. Kelly says:

    I really didn’t lose much in this latest update ’cause I don’t get traffic from Google anyway. 🙁 I’m assuming I got penalized in the previous Panda update.

    My latest Authority site is being built on a complete different host account and it will have not Adsense.

    Who knows, maybe this will help me. I can’t help but think Google is watching me and all my sites are on the same host account and have Adsense.

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Kelly,

      Good to hear that you’re moving forward and are building a non-adsense site to diversify, it’s a good idea 🙂 One of the issues with using Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics or having Google Adsense on your website, is that Google knows EVERYTHING about your site…how long people stay, the bounce rate…literally everything…and they can use this information for you and potentially against you as well…

  12. Randy says:

    My puppy site took the biggest hit. I was getting 150 visitors a day, and on the 29th it fell to 4. Has not broke 10 visitors since then. I did not have a lot of links to the site, but the ones I did have were relevant, high pr sites. I guess I will just leave it and build other authority sites, it might come back later. Frustrating though.

  13. Carrick says:

    Great Post Aidan – lots of great details and explanations!

    One question/request:

    It seems as though ‘Authority sites’ are the best approach these days (in terms of gaining and maintaining trust and rankings)….Could you quickly define/explain what an Authority Site means to you?

    I.e. Is it a site with lots of longer-tail keyword focused pages all pointing back to the home page which is optimized around a more generic term than the long-tail pages?

    For example:

    If you wanted to create an Authority Site around ‘Ladies Golf Clubs’, your home page would be optimized around ‘Ladies Golf Clubs’, and you create many posts/pages within various appropriate sub-categories of ‘Ladies Golf Clubs’, targeting terms like ‘womens left-handed golf clubs’ and ‘pink golf clubs for women’ etc etc etc.

    Is that correct?

    Thanks in advance!!

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Carrick, thanks for the comment!

      When I’m talking about Authority Sites, I’m talking about sites that have a minimum of 15 or so articles.

      Your example of an authority site is pretty much right. I’ll elaborate a little as I’m sure other people are wondering the exact same thing. My authority sites are typically based on informational topics, so instead of focusing on a physical product keyword like “golf clubs”, I’d focus on a problem/topic like “Golf Swing”.

      So, “golf swing” might be the topic of my homepage, and then the 10 or so posts would delve deeper into that topic. Some examples might be “how to stop my slice” or “how to drive straight” or “how to add 50 yards to your drive”. The key here is that all the topics are related to one another and all are providing some form of value (tips and recommendations are GREAT).

      The other thing you need to be certain of is that once you’ve got rankings, you’ll be getting enough search traffic to make it viable…no point in just targeting keywords that don’t have much traffic 🙂

      Hope this helps!

  14. B Rap says:

    Aidan, Thanks for a great article. You certainly know how to take complicated issues and resolve them down to simplicity.

    One question, if I may: When you say that the Panda update penalizes weaker sites, those with, for example, too much advertising — is Google Adsense included in “too much advertising”? Or do you mean like Amazon and similar, non-Google advertising?



    • Aidan says:

      Hi Boruch, great question, “too much advertising” can mean a couple of things:

      1. Too many affiliate links
      2. Too many Adsense blocks
      3. Too many ads/adsense blocks at the top of the page

      So yes, you can overdo it with Adsense f you place too many blocks of ads at the top of the page. If you look at your website and you think that the ads are annoying or get in the way of the content, then you’ve probably got too many ads…

  15. Hi there Aiden

    That was very informative Aiden. I’ve been sitting on the fence not sure of which way to turn. All my sites have taken a considerable hit in my case. That bloody Matt Cutts with his bullshit algorithms. If I saw him on the street, I would punch that head of his. Can’t stand guys who I know wouldn’t practice what they preach.

    Still on page 1 in Yahoo. Stiil on page 1 on other search engines. Google on the other hand has gotta play games with funny animal names.

    Some with EMD’S got hit some not with EMD’S got hit. My car detailing site suffered dramatically. My inquiries have basically stopped. That also had a lot to do with SEO LM of course but there you have it. I’ve made it a rule in fact. No more automated software.

    All sites that have collapsed have been primarily from the time I started to use automated software such as LM for building links. LM being the primary culprit. My hobby datsun site collapsed altogether.

    My detailing site and my courier delivery site ( which is now slowly declining ) have all fallen on search queries. Calls for my delivery business have also basically stopped. My delivery business is somewhat crammed or stuffed with keyword though. It’s one of the first sites that I built though going with old algorithms.

    It still ranks first for some major keywords but not enough for the phone to be ringing. My affiliate sites have basically died. They were the old one page mini sites that I built from Brian’s commission ritual videos. They were working until Panda, then F#$^IN ” KAPOUF ” GONE !!

    With my detailing business, I had no option but to relaunch the site with a new domain which is a targeted keyword but with dashes such as The old one was but the old domain was marked with a notice from Google that it located unnatural links attached to this domain. No matter what I did to try and get this site back up, it just disappeared even further.

    So I gave up on the domain, tore down the old hosting on that name and used it as a redirect to the new domain and started over again. I went and changed all the url’s on anchor links everywhere I could think off. I’ve been doing this for the last two days changing from the old URL to the new one.

    In the analytics, new sitemaps,webmaster tools,local directories, Google places as well and a myriad of other places. The one thing I don’t know though is if Google counts my opening of my own websites from my IP as a hit on the analytics. I just checked this morning and saw that I’ve gone from 25 hits to 90. Or is that actual search hits. Hope it is

    Thanks for a massive easy to understand update Aiden. I’ve been waiting for something like this for a while

    Your a good man to have beside me in rough times

    Cheers mate

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Pete, sounds like you’ve had some tough luck with these updates – you’re not the only one!

      Firstly, if you can avoid using Analytics, do it…Analytics offers some great insights, but it also tells Google EVERYTHING about your site…if you’re using Adsense as a form of monetization, then sure, go ahead and use Analytics because Google will already know everything about your site anyway (they get info using the Adsense code).

      Nowadays I use Stat programs like GetClicky and StatCounter…they do the same thing as Analytics without revealing all my site metrics to Google (which Google can potentially use against you).

      Regarding your new website being on the same IP address, I wouldn’t worry about it. You’re most likely using a form of Shared hosting anyway, so potentially, thousands of people could have the exact same IP address as you, and thats fine.

      It sounds like you’re taken action to move forward which really is the only thing you can do when you’ve been hit…keep at it Pete, let me know if you have more questions.

      • There is one question Aiden

        Using the old Google marked re-direct pointing to my new domain, will that effect the new domain negatively. In fact, I have quite a few domains pointing to the new one.

        I’m using Stacounter as you suggested. It’s marvelous. It reads in real time instead of every 24 hours like GA. Should I remove the GA even though I have Adsense on the site ? Wont doing this stop the site from possibly going up in the rankings if Google can’t read the site ?

        Cheers Aiden

        • Aidan says:

          Hi Pete,

          I personally wouldn’t redirect a penalized domain to my new domain…I’d try to have the new website look completely new and unrelated to the one that got penalized (let me know if you still have queries about this).

          As for Google Analytics, if you’re using Adsense then Google already knows everything about your site anyway, so I’d just leave the Analytics code on your site – don’t worry about removing it.

          Hope this helps.

  16. Danny says:

    As I mentioned on Facebook, my EMD sites seem to have improved. I put it down to my content being on-topic, and while there is on-page SEO in addition to the EMD, I make sure I use synonymous phrases, not just the same words.

    Synonymous phrases have been mentioned as important for anchor text for incoming links, but I find they work for on-page SEO too.

  17. Reed Robbins says:

    As a newbie it’s certainly an uphill struggle, so it’s always helpful to have a mentor like you to keep us informed and grounded. Thanks for the post, Aidan – gave you a tweet and G+.

    • Aidan says:

      Hey Reed, thanks for the Tweet and the G+!

      You’ve made great progress in the past 6 months or so Reed…like you say, it is a bit of a struggle getting started but I think you know what it takes to make it now 🙂

  18. Super uncool thing to say but… I love your Panda!

    So much cuter than the updates.

    Will read your article now that Ive shared that 🙂



    • Aidan says:

      Haha, thanks Rosemary, I purchased that Panda image on for “1 credit” (about $1.30 or so) and added the text to it myself 🙂

  19. Jim Nimmo says:

    Hey Aidan,
    Once again some realy useful infomation.
    I am still ranking #2 for my main keyword but although my traffic for this particular site was a bit thin, it has dropped off to less than half on about 29th Sept. What are your thoughts? Guess I had my butt kicked 🙁

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Jim, it’s hard to know exactly what happened to your websites without having more information…but if traffic has halved, then you have probably lost rankings somewhere. Perhaps you’ve maintained a #2 ranking for your main keyword but have lost rankings for the others (that would be a strange scenario but it is possible)…

  20. Karm says:

    Hi Aidan,

    Like you mentioned If you’ve been hit by Panda 20 and have lost rankings as a result, I recommend you build new websites. You probably can overcome a Google Panda penalty with time, but it’s probably easier to just build a new website.

    My question is, do we still follow your steps on choosing a domain name for a new website, or do we choose partial EMD?


    • Aidan says:

      Hi Karm, thanks for the comment!

      Exact match domain names will still work fine. I don’t recommend buying a low quality EMD such as “”, but something like “” is great.

      Aged domains can also be good…you need to make sure the name makes sense, isn’t too long, sounds authoritative, and encompasses what you’re talking about on your site (so people know what to expect when they arrive).

      If you’ve got Authority Hybrid, then definitely, just follow those steps and you’ll be fine!

  21. Mark says:

    Hey Aidan,
    Thanks for this fantastic report…. I ‘liked’ your page. That’s the least I could do for sharing great info…

    As you know I am one of your Authority Hybrid Elite members. I thought I would comment here instead of the forum.

    I am a few weeks behind last 2 eClasses due to a serious heath issue at the time.

    Anyway I have 2 sites (AHE) First site has 6 posts not including home page published 26th September to 3 October. ‘Home page’ my primary kw which is EMD with one word added on posted 19th September. 2nd site only has 2 posts (25th September), no ‘home page’ content yet. EMD too with add-on word.

    My question is, you mention above that sites that are thin will probably get penalized…also to many affiliate links on each page. My posts have 2 anchor text affiliate links and 1 image affiliate link. (as per training)

    I’m just wondering if my 2 sites will be penalized by Panda 20 and EMD, or do these algo updates only apply to older sites?


    • Aidan says:

      Hi Mark, thanks for Liking the page! Much appreciated!

      Firstly, don’t worry about getting behind…you can easily catch up, and this isn’t a race…you have all the live training sessions available for download so you can progress at your own rate.

      Your sites won’t be in line for a penalty. Sure, they don’t have much content yet, but I’m sure you’ll be adding to them in the next few weeks. As for your partial match domain name, it’s really nothing to worry about. The key is that you get diversity in your anchor text, get some good quality links and some links on relevant pages – and I’ll be showing you how to do all of that.

      Brand new sites don’t usually get hit by these kind of updates as Google realizes they’re most likely still a work in progress.

      • Mark says:

        Hi Aidan,
        Thanks for your reply.

        I put my 7 kw’s through Market Samurai Rank Tracker, all 7 ‘not found’ and I wouldn’t expect them to be as no link building done yet. I realize this is a difficult question but how would I know if I have been effected by Panda 20?

        Will my rankings only start to show up after (as you say above) “get some good quality links and some links on relevant pages” and social signals strategy ?


        • Aidan says:

          Hi Mark,

          The only way you can really tell if you’ve been affected by Panda is if you lost rankings, right after a Panda Update. In your case, you definitely haven’t been affected though as your site is brand new and still not getting any traffic 🙂

  22. Fredrick says:

    Hey Aidan,

    Thank you for posting such valuable content on your blog for us to read, and become more knowledge about SEO, I really appreciate you Aidan. Also, I wanted to know when will you be opening up slots for your one on one coaching program again? Could it be at the end of this year or beginning of the year 2013?

    Kindest Regards,

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Fredrick,

      You’re welcome – thanks for taking the time to comment!

      Regarding the 1 on 1 coaching, you can sign up for the waiting list here:

      I’m not sure when new spaces will open up, but if/when they do, the people on the waiting list will get notified first.

  23. Nick says:

    Hey Aidan –

    Just got around to finishing Authority Hybrid…Awesome course btw…

    It was my first IM course, just a bit overwhelmed my the amount of content we need..

    Other then that, just to double check, the criteria you laid out pretty much remains the same, only real adjustment is to vary the anchor text?

    So we still stick with the criteria of how you go about targeting your keywords? Combine that with 50 to 75 foundational links a month, just focus on relevant forums, blogs, etc, etc. To our niche..

    Try to get our links on sites with high PR, focus on our squidoo lens and facebook likes.

    Good content, then over time we should see rankings?

    Guess I’m curious about is that should all these links back point directly to our site, or should some forum links point to a web 2.0 site, then that web 2.0 would point back to our site.. Vary it up?

    Hope that makes sense.



    • Aidan says:

      Hi Nick,

      You’ve summed up nicely how the backlinking should be done. We’re looking for variation of the types of links and variation of the anchor text used.

      Generally speaking, you’ll build links to your website 95% of the time. When you create a high quality Squidoo lens (or some other high quality page with related content – for example a Facebook page), then it definitely pays to build some links to that as well.

      By combining this kind of linking with a website that’s based around quality content, then it’s only a matter of time till you see rankings.

      Hope this helps 🙂

  24. Nick says:

    Hey Aidan –

    Thanks a ton for your response.

    Had a nagging question that I don’t think was mentioned in Authority Hybrid.

    Could we just outsource some of the SEO tasks to Fiverr? If we stayed with the sellers who had legitimate amount of great feedback and was providing realistic results?

    For Example, I had a referral to someone opting to ‘Post 1000 Dofollow Social Bookmarks which will Increase your SERP Ranking Guaranteed.’

    Just don’t wanna opt for one of these gigs and end up getting banned by google only after a few weeks of attempting this..

    Seems like we could get away with a lot of the linkbuilding by products like this.

    Thank you so much for your time, and thanks a ton for your value!


    • Nick says:

      Also, was curious how you felt about such products like SEnuke to avoid manually doing 2.0 properties

      • Aidan says:

        Hi Nick,

        SENuke (and similar products) can have a good benefit in that they allow you to set up profiles quickly…if I was to use a tool like that though, I’d at least make sure my content was unique. I recommend doing it manually though.

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Nick,

      You could get a lot done on Fiverr…but I think you’ll struggle to build the high quality links with them. They are great for getting the Social Links though (Likes, Google +1’s etc).

      I’d never buy 1000 of any kind of link all at one time, and I’d be very cautious of any SEO company/person guaranteeing results (unless it’s a “money back” or “satisfaction” guarantee). As for social bookmarks, I don’t think I’d buy more than 30-40 at any one time as it can look unnatural (especially if you were to buy 1000).

      Hope this help Nick! Comment again if you have more questions on this topic.

      • Nick says:

        Aidan –

        You are awesome.. Thank you for taking the time to give your feedback..

        I guess the main concern where someone just starting out is wondering where the greatest amount progress can be made for our time and effort.

        Especially with all this google mess and various updates, having a inexpensive outsource team would be helpful with the lower level stuff such as blog comments and forum links. Some of your suggestions in the course with paid services are great, but would probably have to hold off until a bit of profit came in (although unless you think a month trial would be worth it? Was even thinking of Odesk and the likes, just not sure what to even ask for). Although I think out of all of them, was the best.. Especially since my Squidoo lens just got deleted due to ‘duplicate content.’ Totally sideswiped me on that one..

        All in all, it’s been an informative learning experience.

        I know this is the fear of most marketers just starting out, so we’ll all have to see what happens once the updates settle down.

        Thanks again!

        • Aidan says:

          Hi Nick,

          What I’d recommend you do is focus firmly on high quality links…I wouldn’t even bother paying someone to do forum links or blog comments for you as unless you’re paying them a lot, they’re probably not going to be creating high quality links anyway.

          What I’m seeing more and more is that website that have a small number of high quality links are outperforming websites with lots of low quality links…and it seems to be getting more and more noticeable over time.

          So my targets for link building would be:

          1. Web 2.0 sites (set up a new Squidoo – I know you’ve just had one deleted, but I’d still set up a brand new one with good quality new content)

          2. Aim to get a few YouTube links – My YouTube Sniper report details a great way to do this (it’s inside Authority Hybrid members area)

          3. Set up a Facebook page (this is very easy and quick to do) and put a link to your website in the “About” section

          4. Move on to Reverse Engineer your competitors links…this is time consuming but well worth it (and 1 link here could be worth 1000s or lower quality links).

          5. Install the AddThis social plugin on your website, and pay someone on $5 to make a few Likes and Google +1’s (you don’t need a huge number of these, just 10 or 20 is fine).

          These 5 tasks will probably fill up a month…and they’re what will give you best bang for your buck in terms of getting rankings 🙂

  25. dedi says:

    Hi, Aidan, in Authority Hybrid, you recommend to use aged domain, but after panda update, possibly we get aged domain that got hit by Google panda, do you have some tips for us so we could get the right aged domain?



    • Aidan says:

      Hi Dedi,

      Good comment. Buying an aged domain is always a risk, but right now we have no way to know if a domain has been hit or not…all we can really do is make sure that it’s indexed in Google (check using the “” search command)…

  26. Etha says:

    Articles like this one are what keep me coming back for more.

  27. malik S says:

    Hey Aidan
    Great post as usual…
    I have one question though..
    And its not about these updates its about getting links from similar sites …
    One guy told me its of no use trying that hard to get links from the similar niche sites…

    Its page rank that matters more ..

    Like i have a health site and i am getting a link from health site whose page rank is 0 or i am getting a link from a university site that is not in anyway similar to my site but the page rank is 7…

    Which are the better options?


    • Aidan says:

      Hi Malik, ideally you should aim for both Relevancy AND Page Rank…links on relevant sites are becoming more and more powerful all the time, while links on PR sites (in some cases) are losing their power. The reason is that Google wants links that look natural…so if you get a link on a high PR site that has nothing to do with your niche, then it won’t be as good as a link on a high PR site closely related to your niche.

      It also depends on the level of PR…a PR7 would be massively helpful, a PR1 not as much…

      It’s definitely worthwhile trying to get relevant links though, they help a lot.

  28. Dave Litten says:


    For some reason my income doubled at the end of last year. I have always just used the great focused content on my websites and it has given me a good, if erratic 5 figure (dollars) income each month. I have about 7 websites all in the project management training niche, most focused on taking specific PM exams.

    Here are two examples http;// and http;//

    Note they are both entirely different exams, although both are project management related.

    I also own ‘, and as I am about to create several further websites where each visitor would be interested in passing a specific PM exam, I’m wondering if I have the right approach.

    Question: Should I take all of the content under my several websites and create one mega- site with different sales pages for each product, plus add all the hundreds of articles I have created for each pm training niche, or continue growing my family of related, but separate, pm-training related websites?

    I’m guessing I would have to remove all the info from the separate websites if I created one large website because Google would penalize me for having (my own) duplicate content?

    By the way, Aidan, I am following your great recommendations within your PageOneEvolution program – the best investment I have made this year!

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Dave, sounds like you’ve got a great income coming in from your set of websites, nice job!

      It sounds to me that you absolutely have the right approach. If your several sites are all performing, I’d try to keep it that way. You may want to expand one of them to make it bigger (and earn more), but I’d still try to maintain the income of the others and I’d probably avoid launching a new site in the same niche (in most cases I’d just try to expand on something you already have).

      I’m glad you enjoyed Page One Evolution – I really enjoyed putting that program together!

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