The Penguin update moving forwards

Unless you have been living under the rock for the past few weeks you would have at least heard about the google algorithmic update that is being called Penguin update. Reading by most forums and This update was one of the most devastating updates to affect people who make their living off websites to begin with.

I certainly won’t stand here and say that I am not affected, as I was. Two of my money making sites went from number one spots for very very good terms to number 2 and number 3. The result has been significant interns of money that they earned. I had noticed that three sites that I had and long forgotten were also gone into the wilderness. These are aged sites with decent on page content.

After getting over the initial shock and feeling of going on a murdering rampage, I spent most of Tuesday evening all the way through to Wednesday morning analysing all my and client sites. And with an estimated 35% loss in rankings over all.

Luckily this loss was mainly absorbed by my sites, though had two clients that took a sizeable hit. Ad had to send most of Thursday explaining to them that it will be ok, and all of you IT WILL BE OK.

Algorithmic penalties, or devaluations are nothing major to worry about as long as you determine what part of the algorithmic penalty you have triggered. You can be on your way to rectifying the problem. Some sites/pages I could see what was the problem, other it’s just completely ridiculous. I have a 3 year old page, hat ranked very well for a term with correct everything just dropped with no where to be seen. This blog also got a message saying it was doing unnatural linking, however I have not taken part in any such thing, and all links I have acquired are just through readers, I was ranking for all sorts of terms though. I was ranking for negative SEO, and how to do negative SEO as an example. Not intentionally mind you but hey!!

What I intend on doing on this post, is to go through a small list of what I think has caused this loss of rankings, I am sure many people would have been effected, and since last Wednesday I have received over 185 emails regarding thoughts on penguin update alone.

I am a bit sad as this blog probably won’t be ranking for many terms, but am hoping it will pass manual reviews!!

Moving Forwards

So like me I am guessing most people have been hit, and hopefully you have not suffered too badly, but what are the ways to move forward, are there any practical steps that can be taken?

I am certainly no expert and will only try and report what my thoughts and findings shows. As it is too early to see any effect these variables have I have highlighted everything that the sites have in common. Before I continue, I would really like to stress, I love promoting websites, but do so cautiously. If you have a website with spun content, or auto generated content and let’s of web 2.0 type it should be no surprise that we are at this stage.

Without sounding preachy if you have an original website, with useful content that does MORE then just selling/promoting, and your link building has been more varied then just web 2.0 and building ties, then you may well have a case of genuine grip as to why you are not ranking any more.

In my short study I have found all of my sites that were hit had the following things in common:-

1. The main keyword that I aimed to rank for was in anchor text for 60% or more. I strongly suspect that the over optimisation penalty strongly figures anchor text diversity. As of now the mandate I am setting myself and my clients is that the main keyword must not exceed 40%. This single factor will now mean that link building and promotion is now exceeding, expensive. As simply out I need to acquire more quality links to rank for the same term.

2. Over Optimisation WTF????? Yeah this little nugget seems t target the traditional way SEO was done, as in place your keyword in h1 tag and also in h2 tags etc.. Now I have found that sites hat did well were ones that contained h1 tag with keyboard in and h2 and hi3 tags targeted other keywords or generic terms. In short under Optmization is now the over optimisation.

3. Keyword density, there is a lot of talk about this all I can save for sure is hat sites that did extremely well were the ones with keyword density of under 1% or just at 1%.

4. Devaluation of links, I definitely think this effect has clouded the issue, of course if an update happened on its own which just targeted spun content then it would be easier to determine what type of spun content is being targeted and if there is others relevancy issues. I happen to think google algorithms are at a stage where if a statement does not make since and link placement seems to there just for SEO then that links get devalued.

Lot of us have been guilty of the above, especially in the early days where lets face it this kind of shit worked, so we did it. But is it natural, is this how a natural website develop?.. I doubt it.

Final Thoughts

It is bad especially if you don’t have much interns of financial backup, and you need money that or lots more then 24 hours a day. Also I have to say the way google have reacted, it really leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. It completely stinks of throwing SEO on its head, with simple aim of getting more money from Adwords from people who are now effected.

With this massacre (and it is a massacre) there has to be side casualties, and my advice would be to wait a while see remains once the dust settles. See if there is a roll back, indeed one of my site that was effected last Tuesday was now up and running by Sunday back to is normal self.

It’s is easy to say but soo soo difficult to implement, diversify your traffic source engage in long lasting relationship with your customers so that you are not reliant on another company to determine your livelihood.

I started full time affiliate marketing to make sure my income is not dependant on one company or man. Though I now work on my own, enjoy a reasonably successful lifestyle and am happy I am still painfully aware that I am still reliant on google. TIME TO CHANGE…

P.S. This is the first post written on my brand new iPad


  1. I’ve been looking forward to your comments on this latest carnage and whilst i’ve yet to do any in depth analysis, i’m pleased to see that our conclusions are somewhat similar…

    Low Anchor Link Diversity + High On Page SEO = Slapped

    Low Anchor Diversity for EMD + High On page SEO + EMD = The Abyss

    Now, of course i have exceptions to the above but it does seem like a distinct general theme to all the sites that i’ve had hit. On the plus side, low anchor diversity can be solved, as can on page SEO issues so i’m hopefull that rankings can be improved in time, even if they don’t rollback/tinker with things in the coming weeks.

  2. I completely agree with the comment above. I have a number of EMDs and they’ve just ended up going into the abyss. Going forward I wonder how long the penalty will last if new different anchor text links are built or if the penalty has some kind of long lasting effect.

    It is a bit poor from Google though, changing the game so dramatically overnight. It makes it difficult for small online businesses to plan for the future knowing that at any minute their revenue could take a huge hit.

  3. Good point about Google being like working for a boss. A boss you can never get a meeting with or even know exactly what they want or expect from you!

    I got hit hard. Will try and move on. Onwards and upwards.
    Joe recently posted..Monthly Round-up: April 2012My Profile

  4. Have you had any luck reviving penguin hit sites? After nearly 6 weeks no one has yet posted a positive story on turning a site around which shows how brutal an update penguin was.

    The two widely quoted case studies have been flawed, wpmu looks like a manual override and the Nick Eubanks site turned out not to be penguin as the dates were all wrong

    Would be interesting to hear how you have got on.


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