People sometimes use terms like cute, intriguing, mesmerizing, and even cool when referring to Penguins. That was until Google recently rolled out a new major update on or around April 24th, 2012. AKA “The Webspam Algorithm Update,” which Google later officially named “Penguin.” Now all of a sudden penguins are not as cool as they were a few days ago.
If you follow the world of SEO you have probably heard about the Panda Update, the more recent Ads Above the Fold Update, or even the Mayday Update. There have been quite a few major updates over the years, and even more minor updates than most people can keep up with.
Google will never please everyone when it comes to Algorithm Changes and updates, especially major ones. There will always be winners and losers. Everyone will not be rewarded, nor will everyone be penalized. You will have to determine for yourself where your site happens to fit in.
There are numerous blog posts and forum topics surrounding the Penguin update circulating. In fact, it would have been difficult not to have noticed. SEO and Webmaster sites have been on fire the past week or so with numerous discussions, and they will likely continue for a while.
Reported changes seem to vary, but it would seem as though there are a lot of people ticked off about this one. Some people say that their traffic decreased 50% to 90%, which is obviously a big blow. It almost appears as if there is a much smaller group of people that say their traffic either stayed the same, or increased. Maybe they haven’t noticed any significant change. They could be keeping quiet, or they just don’t have any input to contribute.
If your traffic suddenly dropped on or around April 24th, 2012 it is very possible that you were hit by the Penguin Update.
People have been asking about how they can recover. I have seen a few tips and suggestions, but it has barely been a week since Google rolled this out. It would be tough to come up with a quick fix in that amount of time.
Some people seem to be focusing their efforts with onsite clean up, essentially tuning down onsite optimization. Others are more concerned with offsite optimization and shady backlink practices.
Google seems to have changed the tune they have sung for years.
Shaun Anderson from Hobo-Web pointed out in a Negative Seo Post:
“Can competitors harm ranking? There’s nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index.”
“There’s ALMOST nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index.”
“Google works hard to prevent other webmasters from being able to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index. If you’re concerned about another site linking to yours, we suggest contacting the webmaster of the site in question.”
“If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.”
They have to be kidding right? You should contact the webmaster of a site in question and ask them to remove a link to your site! What if your site had 1000’s of backlinks? How do they propose that you find all of them?
Secondly, if you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove…You are supposed to provide Google with the details in a reconsideration request.
Again, you are supposed to figure out some way to track all your backlinks down, and let them know about the ones out of your control. Why do I get the feeling Google won’t exactly be prompt about this even if you did manage to provide all the details in a reconsideration request.
I am sure a lot of people and SEO companies are rethinking their strategies and the way they do things.
This should also serve as a reminder how easy Google can crush a site or business overnight. It also makes me wonder how easy it would be for Google to reward their own products and services. Food for thought anyway.