A friend of mine, an ex-client whose site I designed, has a problem with his ranking and I want your personal spin on his situation. It'll help if I recall some of his site history.
Basically for 10 years or so his website has been in the top 10 rankings averaging 5-10. Well that wasn't good enough for his niche because of the low search volume so he took it upon himself and bought dirty back-links... You know the kind 10 bucks per 10,000 and of course this worked for a couple of years and then came the likes of panda and penguin and now his business is on the edge of closing.
Now let's put the personal thoughts of "serves him right" aside because I too dislike sites that are beating me in rankings when they clearly shouldn't. Fact of the matter it's happened and people/businesses are on the edge of closing.
His recovery steps have been:
- Messaged site owners to remove his links (even paid some people to remove them)
- Removed all naughty links via the disavowed tool
- Paid for his site to be rewritten by a Professional Copywriter (expensive)
- Paid for Bloggers to Post Weekly (Unique Content not Spun)
- Paid for Advice from SEO Consultancy's regarding Issues
- Has very few links listed in Google Webmaster Tools and more quality than his competitors.
- Had SEO people rework some of his site (Reduced Keyword Spam etc)
Now my friend has pumped £10,000s into recovering his website and almost one year on his site is still on Page 4 (Against sites that are just not good in terms of content and also debatable links) - The search terms are not very competitive at all.
Now as a webmaster and putting yourself in this position when do you call it a day or is there any steps additionally he can do?
I know this question may seem a bit subjective or based on person opinion but none the less maybe there is additional steps that can be taken or confirming that he should just re-brand and go with another website would be convincing advice to my friend.
He was hit on the first release of Penguin updates around April 2012, He waited a couple of months and believed he had been slapped. From there it was a little unsure if it was a panda, or penguin or a bit of both. So around July onwards he started to have his site rewritten and with regular updates to counter Panda if that was the problem. Then in September with no improvements he employed someone to message webmasters to remove the links, a lot got removed. Then in October they released disavowed he then removed all the ones that wanted stupid amounts of payments or didn't response to take down messages. So I'm guessing all changes after NOV in total, thou panda changes was back in July.