The Complete Guide to Google On-Page Optimization in 2014
16 votes, 3.62 avg. tacos (72% full)

On-page optimization is more important now than it has been in the past 10 years.   It’s also far more complex now than ever before, and most people aren’t even aware of it.   Over Optimization Penalties have gotten a lot more sophisticated, and I still see even SEO agencies keyword stuffing and using ridiculous menus that were popular a couple of years ago, having no idea that it’s hurting them now.

Working in foreign markets has given us a unique opportunity to study exactly how Google’s algorithms work, because in many cases there are very few (if any) links.  That means what separates one site from another is only on-page optimization. So I’ve designed a step-by-step on-page optimization plan for you all.  This is a massive article so here are some internal links to help you navigate:

My On-page Philosophy
Identifying and Matching Search Intent
Don’t Over-optimize!  On-page and domain-wide
Mix It Up!
Customizing WordPress to Not Suck
How to Build Links (it’s so much more than anchor text)
Bonus – How to immediately bounce back from an over-optimization penalty (Penguin/Panda refresh)

My on-page philosophy

One of my SEO mantras is to “Match your competition on-page, and obliterate them off-page”. Why? Because if you’re reading this blog you likely have your own PBN or access to mine, and your competitors don’t. Now matching on-page is not easy, it takes a deep understanding of all the concepts in this article to do so effectively. You need to correctly identify which aspects of your competitor’s website are helping them rank, and which are hurting them. Please always keep this in mind, and pay VERY CLOSE ATTENTION to what your competitors are doing.  Especially when a competitor in the top 10 is there with a very limited link profile.

Identifying and Matching Search Intent

This is the first step of keyword research.  Essentially Google see’s the following 4 different types of intent on a query:
DO (Take an Action Now)
GO (Navigational )
KNOW (Informational)
VAGUE (Further Specify the Query)
I’ll go into each of these a bit as there are ways you can optimize your page and site for each query type.
For DO based queries (i.e. commerce, lead generation) you want to be able to match their IMMEDIATE need on-page (in the case of commerce, to buy).  Any algorithmic indication that you are reputable will help you rank. These include:

Note that in many cases you need to have the data on page, but it DOESN’T NECESSARILY HAVE TO WORK OR BE AWESOME.  At least to start.  You want to give the algorithmic indicators that you have what the user needs.  Once you rank you want it to work and be decent so you can pass manual reviews though.

For GO based queries, you want to tell Google that you are essentially the correct match for the navigational search.  Many times this is within the domain name, but can also be within Micro Data, an address listed, Google+ places and reviews.   Again, you don’t have to actually BE the correct place – you want Google thinking you are.

For KNOW based queries you want to tell Google that you have good information.  All of the following are helpful:

  • Google+ Authorship with +1s and shares on content
  • Linking out to authoritative websites.
  • Articles on relevant news topics in the niche (Just search google news for your keyword and then write commentary).
  • Review Micro data

VAGUE queries are an interesting phenomenon. If the term is very short-tail (generally 1-3 words) and is showing some fairly ambiguous results, you can bet Google is confused as to the user-intent. By ambiguous results, I mean:

  • You have Google Images showing for a term that’s not obviously image-based
  • There are multiple Wikipedia results
  • There are Google news results for terms that aren’t obviously news-based (usually at the end of the SERP).
  • There are video results for terms that aren’t obviously video based.

Here the trick is to deliver on helping the user further specify their query.  Take a look at Google Instant, the title tags of other ranking sites (esp. those with much lower backlink profiles), and Google’s related searches at the bottom of the SERP. Then come up with a nice article that showcases the popular results (types of, top 10, etc.) This will make you rank for the short-tail term.

Don’t Over-optimize! On-page and Domain-Wide

When I first started in SEO in 2001, you could keyword stuff articles loaded with H1 tags and rank.  Then Google changed everything over to links, and on-page was utterly useless. Now on-page is incredibly important, for 2 reasons:

  1. So that you don’t trigger Google’s incredibly capricious over-optimization penalty (OOP).
  2. To distinguish yourself from competitors (Quality Signals)

Let’s start with the OOP.  It’s pretty basic, keyword density matters.  Keep it under 1% for any 2+ word phrases.  I use SEOQuake’s Chrome add-on to check it any-time on the fly.  Note that this is for every page – not just your homepage.  And yes, your anchors, navigation, headers and titles all apply to this number, so wordpress optimization is crucial.  Now I know you’re going to say that you see examples of sites that rank with 5% keyword density, but that’s why I used the word capricious.  Google will likely hit that page sooner or later.
If you’ve followed my keyword research videos to choose a low competition keyword and you’re not ranking in the top 100 for that keyword within a week of publishing the page, you’re likely over-optimized.  Change up your content and check your rank again.   Another way to test this is to take your full title tag, which will always be something unique and click-worthy and not just “Keyword1 Keyword 2 Keyword3”, and search Google for it.  You should be in the top 3.  If you’re not you’re over-optimized.

Ok, now onto Quality Signals.  Using each of these gives you a +1 in Google’s book:

  • Data displayed in different ways (tablepress tables, images, videos).
  • External Links to authorities in the niche
  • Low keyword density (1% max)
  • Long content, 1000+ words
  • Micro Data (rick snippets, structured data)
  • 3-5 internal links within content
  • Minor social interaction (G+, FB, Tweets). I’m talking dozens, not thousands.
  • Google+ authorship attribution

Keep in mind that the above applies to EVERY page, not just your homepage!  Not all of it is necessary… but it certainly is best practice.

Mix it up!

Using a variety of different tags seems to help a lot as well. Pages that include bold, italic, lists, tables, and blockquotes in their content seem to fare a lot better than just plain old text.

Customizing WordPress to Not Suck

Google used to love WordPress, but since Panda came out they hate it.  All the tags and categories create a ton of low quality content due to duplicate content.  That being said, WordPress is very easy to use and ubiquitous with tons of extensions to do just about anything.  I’d still recommend using it if you don’t know raw HTML.  If you do, just code in HTML man – you get the benefit of fast load-times as well.

Ok, so first off – don’t use posts, categories or tags.  Use pages and child pages.  You’ve just solved 90% of the problem.

Secondly, use a shallow persistent navigation (7 links max).  Don’t have stupid dropdowns that show on mouse over.   In fact don’t do any silly Javascript/CSS Hide/Show trickery – Google can read it and will hurt you.  Silo you’re content, and use the related links plugin or better yet in-content links to link between children of a single parent.

 The homepage should just be a unique page with lots of text like any other page.  No excerpts, no posts.  It should have it’s related links constantly update when a new piece of content is added (to ensure it gets indexed quickly).

How to Build Links (it’s so much more than anchor text)

If you did decent keyword research you are likely link building a series of landing pages, not just your homepage.  So please keep everything I talk about in this section in mind on a PAGE level basis.
On a domain wide basis – don’t link build the same target from the same site more than once.  That includes multiple links to the same domain but different pages.
Anchor text
Stop building exact match anchor text.  Just stop it. Build some longer partial match anchors, that are not targeted to high LMS terms. For example, instead of “blue widgets”, use anchor text like “this online catalog”, or “learn more about blue widgets here”.  Don’t make more than 15% of your domain linking root domain anchors contain your keyword.  If you have a keyword in your domain, don’t do more than 20% using Partial match combined with URL anchors (Penguin 2.1 hit EMDs/PMDs in this manner).
The two attributes right now that give just as much value as anchor text are the text in close proximity to the anchor (within the same sentence), as well as the title tag and meta description of the linking page itself. Take full advantage of these as you can’t get penalized for them.
Also play with pure citation. I’ve seen sites rank with citation alone and not a single link. It also helps to remove any linking footprints from your PBN if a percentage of your posts don’t carry any links.

Bonus – How to immediately bounce back from an overoptimization penalty (Penguin/Panda refresh)

Many people when hit by a penguin/panda refresh think they have to wait until the next refresh to get their traffic back.  If you have an expensive or otherwise non-expendable domain (IE a client) then you’re shit out of luck and you’ll have to wait.  If your domain is under your control and expendable however (IE then here’s what you do:

  1. Clone your existing site on a new domain like
  2. Put in a global 301 redirect from your old .com website (just google this)

Voila, within about a week you should be ranking again (often higher than you were before).  HOWEVER – if you don’t fix whatever caused you to get hit by the refresh, the new domain will also get hit during the NEXT refresh.   You could always rinse and repeat… but why not just fix what was wrong with it in the first place.

Hope this has been helpful. Leave a comment if you have any questions / juicy tidbits of knowledge!

The Complete Guide to Google On-Page Optimization in 2014
16 votes, 3.62 avg. tacos (72% full)
  1. Thanks so much for the info Hayden.

    You’re right about the 301 idea…I have one money site which keeps losing it’s rankings but as soon as I 301 to a new domain it is back near the top and making money again. Then after around 3 weeks it disappears again. It is still very profitable to keep doing this but I can see why I would have been penalized for too many exact or partial anchors (even though I only link built from around 10 of my PBN sites!). I will try and fix the site before it tanks again.

    Would you say that Google doesn’t take into account how many back links a site has for the algorithmic penalties? What I mean is that even if a site has just 10 backlinks and 4 are exact match and another 2 or 3 are partial it would still see that as over-optimisation? I just think it’s really harsh if that is the case.

  2. Thanks for the latest update Hayden. The Bonus recovery strategy for Penguin is awesome! I am going to try it and see if it recovers my Penguin 2.1 crushed sites.

  3. Great stuff, Hayden.

    I like your style of explaining things. You just say it how it is without trying to over-complicate it.

    Much appreciated. Been following you for a few months now and you’re a smart man.

  4. With regard to foreign sites, do you link the same way or can you get a little more keyword friendly? Do you use lower quality links?

    You’re blowing my mind with only pages. I’ve only built sites with post for the last 2.5 years. I’ll try pages on my next sites…it does make sense.

      • Catherine says:

        Hi Hayden,

        So are you saying that the 301 Redirect should work for other penalties as well? I have a site that was the lucky recipient of a ton of spammy links and subsequently hit with a manual spam action by Google. I can’t get the links removed and have disavowed them but I’m still playing the waiting game. Would you just clone the site and redirect in this case? Would that pass the positive link juice from the original site to the new one without any negatives from the spammy links?

  5. Thanks Hayden, great content as usual. A few questions which I will number for ease of answering:

    1) regarding your comment “And yes, your anchors, navigation, headers and titles all apply to this number”, should I include the ‘description’ with those too?

    2) By ‘anchors’ do you mean anchor text of links pointing to the page?

    3) ‘navigation’ presumably is the words that make up the nav bar on the site?

    4) ‘don’t use posts, categories or tags. Use pages and child pages. You’ve just solved 90% of the problem’. Ok, easy enough to do. But what problem does it solve?

    5) ‘use a shallow persistent navigation (7 links max)”. Can you explain this a bit further? I am not sure what this means.

    Thanks! Fred.

  6. Awesome research again Hayden – I will go ahead and try some of this now, I expect there is a bit of over optimisation on some sites.

    Good tip about the 301, this something I’ve not had to try but I know it works well.

  7. As always Hayden your finger is on the pulse in the IM world. That is some really powerful info. Looking forward to experimenting.

    Is there a usual time frame between refreshes or is it completely random?

    Would be interested to know your take on the recent page rank update and whether you think it has any foreseeable implications.


    • You can search Google for penguin/panda refresh and see the standard timing. It’s every 1-2 months nowadays. That’s only if you got hit with a refresh and didn’t just wander too far out and get hit by the landmine that is the OOP filter. If the latter you should see a bounce back immediately.

      It’s a TBPR update. Nothing special. People are caring less and less.

  8. Hey Hayden – thanks so much for the informative post. One thing I’ve been wondering in regards to outbound authority links for “know” based queries:

    1) should outbound authority links be do follow?

    2) Does the on page content of the authority site give you positive influence? EG, if I link to a site with “dishwasher reviews” in the title and h1 tag, is my page more likely to rank higher for “dishwasher reviews?”

  9. Hi Hayden, in relation to your last bonus post – “How to immediately bounce back from a penalty”, in the case of a non-expendable site where the clone and redirect is not an option, can you please tell me your thoughts on the following points:

    1) Where there has been no manual penalty received, but there is an algo penalty for the homepage (most likely due to over-optimized exact match anchor text), given that all the backlinks are exact match from my own PBN that I control, how is it best to ‘undo’ this? I.e. would you delete the links from the PBNs and start again with new posts from them or change the exact match anchors of the existing posts to partial, branded, naked, etc.

    2) From what I’ve been made aware of from various sources is that if the anchor text of backlinks is changed to something else, then this will raise red flags with G, as it shows deliberate link building. Do you agree?

    3) Given the above two points (and depending on your answers), do you feel that a campaign of heavily diluting exact match anchor text with brand, naked, and generic backlinks may be a better option, and do you think it will help a penalized domain to come out of penalty sooner? i.e. before the next update?

    I know these are fairly arbitrary questions, as every case is different, but I’d still appreciate to hear your thoughts on these.

    • 1) Just change the anchors (URL/Brand/LOTS of generic). But also change your homepage to really de-optimize it.

      2) In theory I agree. In practice this has no effect.

      3) A small campaign in addition to #1 is a good idea.

    • Very good post. I don’t follow BHW, but an intern did show this to me after this post was completed. No plagiarism here thank you very much, he just happens to have the same outlook as me on many things.

    • No Offence Jeff, Hayden built tools and software after going through a lot of research and experience in the SEO field, I seriously doubt he would reword any of the blackhatworld’s posts, FYI :)

  10. Hey Hayden, thanks for the useful post.

    SEOquake includes the appearance of keywords in the title and description in the keyword density calculation.

    When you say keyword density, do you mean it in that way too? You think it should be less than 1% WITH the title and description?

  11. Hey Hayden :)

    have a question about the panda/penguin/penalty refresh.

    say you had a site 10 yrs old, branded domain, some over opt in the linking. but got the manual penalty for unnatural links-impacts links. I know this is against the links and google basically doesnt count them.

    due to the penalty would you give up and 301 or continue with the domain due to the history?

    im always freaked that the 301 will not make the new site as strong as the old either in PR, OR da.

    • This is just my take but I wouldn’t let the 10 years on that domain go to waste. If it’s a manual penalty, you don’t need to wait until the refresh. Clean up the issue, make a good case, and resubmit for inclusion.

  12. Maxime Sincerny says:

    By citation you mean if I would write here it will affect the rankings of my website?

    That could be great for really low local competition.
    Do you think that could be used with scrapebox?
    If it doesn’t trigger any penalty
    A test will have to be done :P

  13. Good article.

    Question… you say that cloning your site and 301ing the old site should fix the problem with a penguin update. I know many people got hit because they were using “paid link networks that google figured out, pointing to their sites. These same link networks are what got people their great rankings in the first place… So my question is, what do those people do? Will this still work?

  14. Hayden hi!

    That’s a very good post just like any post you do, as it makes me think and think again. So I have several questions if you don’t mind.

    1. How to make sure microdata is used if you recommend using pages instead of posts (I too never use tags and more rarely use categories now as well – only if the categories are really needed for better UeserExp).

    2. Keyword density (-> OOP with product review domains and pages). When the page (or a whole mini-site) is based on reviewing specific product, with 1-word name, the product name will naturally be repeated up to 5+ %, sometimes even higher. I cannot just replace ProductName with “this solution, this supplement, this product, the matter we’re talking about, the hero of our story…” just to make it natural for google, as it’s completely natural for the reader.

    But now google says “It’s OOP!” so … what are your thoughts on this issue?

    3. BounceBack.

    Do you mean I souldn’t “fix” the penalized site before cloning it? I mean reducing density %, titles and URL structures if they have too many keyword repetition.

    So, just clone it and place on a fresh domain. How relevant should new domain name to the previous one? I’m now rewriting several articles from the penalized domains, and try to do the similar technique (general 301), but my old domain is and new domain name is

    All titles, URL structures are different, the articles number and topics are the same. Could this work well, or it’s better to stick as close to the original site as possible?



    PS. You bottom opt-in form is unclosable, cannot post comment because of it so I’m reducing the page scale now ))

  15. Great post!
    I definitely learned a lot from it. Thanks for sharing!
    Hope you can start another internship so I can get a chance to work with you!

  16. Hi, Hayden!
    I didn’t understand. Am I need to link only to different root domains from my site pages (external links)? But if I have many not usual phrases in my articls and I link them to Wikipedia pages to explain about this term, why I canot do that? It seems not logical. As I usually do I put the link for my phrases in my articles to other sites from Google search for this phrase. Do you think it’s right?

  17. I’ve been waiting for this post ever since you told me about it! I’m definitely going through it right now and double checking my site to get rid of the OOP penalty

  18. Can you explain your reasoning for this point:

    “On a domain wide basis – don’t link build the same target from the same site more than once. That includes multiple links to the same domain but different pages.”

    Thought 2-3 links max was ok – have you experienced diminishing returns from more than 1 link? Although, I am more curious as to your experience with linking to different pages on the same domain – why do you not recommend doing this?

  19. Great post, thanks for sharing. Definitely helped clear up some things I’ve been struggling with.

    I have a question about internal linking. Is it ok to use exact match anchor text sparingly when linking between pages or is that a no-no too?


  20. regarding the switch to pages from posts and if my money site has 30+ posts. what would you do?

    a) should i convert the posts to pages and keep the permalink the same.

    b) should new content be published as pages?

    c) use posts on existing site but pages on new sites.

    also, right now the main nav is categories, how would that work with pages?

    thanks! and so far i have seen incremental benefits of rankhero (my fault on the choice of keyword to target) but i will probably try to use all 25+ sites before giving up!

  21. Hi Hayden

    You mentioned in relation to OOP – ‘Keep it under 1% for any 2+ word phrases.’

    What are your recommendations for 1 word KWs?


    • Scott Davis says:

      Look at what kw density the competition has and try to stay under it. We generally don’t target 1 word phrases anyway due to competition.

  22. Hi Hayden, great post! Thanks :)

    Quick question… when you said this:

    On a domain wide basis – don’t link build the same target from the same site more than once. That includes multiple links to the same domain but different pages.

    …do you mean for a PBN, only link use one link per PBN site to your money site? So 2 links to 2 different pages within the same site is no good?

    • Scott Davis says:

      Only send 1 link from a pbn site to a money site. If you link build a money site more than once from a single pbn site you will see diminishing returns in terms of link juice.

  23. Thanks for this great post. This is clear cut definition of on-page optimization.

    My site is fairly new (3 weeks) and some of my pages are having keyword density more than 2%. However, my site is on 500+ results on Google for my main keyword. Could it be because of over optimized keywords?

    I have exact match keyword on my domain name. Does this affect my rankings?

  24. Hi Hayden,

    What a great article, thanks!

    Is there a scenario where a 301 rediret might do more harm than good?

    I got hit by Penguin 2.1 which I believed to be purely down to a bad backlinking service I ordered (my own fault!)

    Having read this I think I may be over optimised too. I have already disavowed and have seen no improvement in my rankings (a main keyword went from #4 to #290 and just won’t budge)

    Do you think if I fix my onsite SEO and do a 301 Global redirect I might stand a small chance of recovery? Perhaps combined with a small backlinking campaign (from a PBN)

    I appreciate every case is different, I just wonder whether I should 301 or just completely start over (by the way my domain is around 5 years old and a large branded authority site, if I do 301 redirect it will be to the version of the same name)

    Thanks in advance!


    • Scott Davis says:

      Tough call. A 5 year old branded domain may be worth hanging on to but the 301 re-direct should get you out of trouble fast as long as you fix the original reason you got the penalty.

  25. Thanks for that post, Hayden – Great info, as always! One more question: When I am starting out with a new site, can I start backlinking with high pr backlinks right away? Or do I have to lay a foundation of PR 0 backlinks first and then work my way up to higher pr backlinks?

  26. Keyword density should be less than 1%? Are you serious? The density for my main keyword on a site I’ve just finished working on is 3.36%. I’ve just gone through the whole post and I don’t see how I could reduce it any more without taking away from the quality of the article.

    • In theory it should, but what it does is reset any domain-wide penalty caused by one of the refreshes. You can get hit again after the next refresh of course, I’ve experienced being hit and also surviving them, it depends on how much you clean up the site.

  27. If I don’t want or need the 301 redirect anymore, I can just remove it and continue using my “old” domain as nothing had happened?

  28. Hey Hayden,

    Great post again. Got a few new ideas that I will implement asap. Already heard about the power of static pages, but your post just convinced me to actually do it.

    One thing I didn’t get from your article, though, in the citation section :

    “It also helps to remove any linking footprints from your PBN if a percentage of your posts don’t carry any links. ”

    Would be awesome if you could quickly clarify this point. Thanks a lot!!

    • Let’s say you have 100 posts on your PBN site. Giant footprint if 97% of them carry an external link, or if 97% of them have ZERO internal (cross-site) links. The 2nd example is more important right now. Correct this by writing some articles just for your site filled with internal links, and zero external links.

  29. Hey Hayden, Although I saw some tips referenced to PBN sites it seems alot of your tips are for money sites. Am I wrong? For example, is it important to use html for PBN’s also? Does it somehow help the authority or link value of them? Do you use html on some of your PBN sites?

    • These are indeed related to money sites, but many of them apply to PBN sites as well. Better overall content quality means the sites are less likely to be penalized. I doubt there are many different levels of link juice passed based on the content quality though.

  30. for the 301 redirect : why do you suggest to redirect to a new (but same) kw rich site :
    Wouldn’t be smarter to redirect to a new (brand)site that sounds more like a BRAND : or for ex.
    so we’ll get less chance to get hit again (by over-optimizing url, kw, etc..)
    or does it have to be the same url, only with a different extension ? thank you

    • Yes, to a brand makes more sense. Actually I’ve seen interns have success with redirecting the site to an expired domain (as long as the domain never lost a lot of links when expiring).

  31. I’ve been relying heavily on the Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin. It gauges many SEO factors – one of which being keyword density.

    Was using that plugin a mistake?

    Should I go back in to each and every page and start pulling out those same keywords that I purposely added because Yoast told me to?

  32. When building an authority site do you blog using child pages instead of posts?

    Thanks for the most in depth article on on-page seo I’ve ever read.

  33. Is it helpful to pull in reviews and Q&A’s from places like Yahoo answer to give you more relevant content, or will you be penalised for duplicate content?

  34. Wow what an insightful post not found elsewhere. Now with googles new updates we have got to keep up with the times as much as we can.

    I dont understand why not to use posts but use pages though

    • Scott Davis says:

      Hi Tony, wordpress creates a heap of extra info with posts which results in duplicate content. You can use posts but you should write a unique excerpt and disable all the tags, date archives and author archives. Do a search in google for site:yourdomain.tld and you’ll see all the extra crap that turns up which is indexed if you use posts. If any of that confuses you….just use pages :)

      • I am using posts. I posted a blue widget article to my site e.g. and the article is on the home page Now and show the exact same article. How can I solve this duplicated content problem? Thanks.

  35. To a freakin’ T that is what happened to one of my newer sites.

    According to this article, I link built wayyyy to fast to a newer site of mine. Quickly after being indexed (2 week in) i used my PBN to built around 3 links a day for 3 days.

    Should I rebuilt? or Wait? The site is currently no where in the rankings…..

    • Yeah 3 per day for 3 days is pretty aggressive from a PBN, especially if you suddenly stop. But wait it out until the site is 3 months old and keep building links. Assess at that point. Probably slow it down to 6-12 links per month. Once the site ranks you gradually cut back the link velocity over 3-4 months. But never stop completely. You should also keep adding content. Helps to reduce the inbound links to pages ratio. G is loving bigger sites too.

  36. Hey guys! Thanks so much for the info, it really is invaluable. I had a few questions that I am struggling with in terms of siloing with WordPress.

    1) Navigation. I am really confused as to how navigation is supposed to work if you can’t use categories or tags, etc. Generally with WP sites the norm seems to be to have navigation point to category archives, but in this case obviously that wouldn’t work if there are no categories… Is it all supposed to be internal linking within the articles, plus maybe a related articles at the bottom? My sidebar is looking pretty bare at this point LOL. Any tips would be great.

    2) I’m wondering with a review/article site, how I should silo reviews. Do i silo them in their own “review” silo, or do I group them with related articles? And if they had their own silo, I’m worried about there being too many and the silo being diluted… Or maybe break them down into several smaller review-only silos?

    If you have any experience with this type of thing, any advice would be invaluable to me! Thank you guys so much!!

    • Hey Ro,

      1) you create pages in your nave menu and then link out to internal pages with manually built links.

      2) The basic way to do it is > main review article (e.g. “{widget} reviews” or “best {widge}) links out to the individual product reviews e.g. “Super Dooper Widget X2000 Review” and others. “Super Dooper Widget X2000 Review” then links back to the main review article and perhaps one or two other models of widgets that you have reviewed. It really depends though. Probably a full post of itself that one.

      • Thanks for the reply, Greg! This helps out a lot. I had basically come to the same conclusions after thinking about it and working on my site the past few days, but it’s great to have confirmation that I’m heading in the right direction.

        Thanks again!

  37. Hey Hayden and Greg, Question on the Penguin recovery. Got an EMD that was ranking top, now about position 100. Got hit mostly from a sitewide inbound link (exact EMD anchor). Being that link still is in place (was a donation link so they won’t remove it), if I 301 to a new non EMD with proper onpage, will that overoptimized anchor on the old domain still pass through? Or am I safe to 301 knowing that I’ve got heavy emphasis on that EMD keyword (being I’ll be targeting that + variations for the new site)?

    • Odd that you’d be penalized based on one link IMO. Possibly a combo of that link + other factors. Did you get a manual penalty warning? 301ing to a new domain can work for sure, though depending on the reason for the initial penalty, if you don’t fix the underlying issue/s, after a short period of time the site will tank again.

      2 options. 1) presuming you didn’t get a manual penalty, perhaps sit on it for another month or so. We have had 3 sites over the past 6 months be ranking inside the top 3, then drop down to +200 for up to a couple months and then mysteriously appear back in the former position again. Appearing like they were hit with an update/refresh and then re-instated at the next refresh. In each instance, we did nothing with the sites to try to diagnose or fix the issue, they just came back!

      2) Try the 301. If your site is nowhere currently, can’t hurt to trial is for yourself!

      Keep us updated.

  38. Hi Hayden, I am using posts. I posted a blue widget article to my site e.g., and that same article is showing on the url of home page and the url How can I solve this duplicated content problem? Thanks.

    • 1) Use pages instead of posts when adding new content
      2) Instead of showing latest posts on home page, use a static page with unique content
      Both are just WP settings/questions.

      • Using pages will still have the same problem. Blue Widget Page will have same duplicate content on home page

        Useing a static page with unique content will still have the same problem. If you create Blue Widget Page and set it as front page display static page, it will have same duplicate content on home page.

        • Create a new page, title it, say, “Home.” Choose it as your static home page. For the content of that page, type in your desired content, adding the appropriate html (H2 tags, etc). Then the static home page is not using content from anywhere else on your site. That’s what I do. I think that addresses your concern.

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