There’s been a lot of yelling and cussing about Google’s “Penguin” update that was rolled out the last week or so of April 2012. And rightly so: it stinks!
Panda (a previous Google update) didn’t affect me or my sites. Penguin has hit me hard.
It’s hit in another way too: as a consumer I now find my searches on Google are much less useful. I’ve been using Bing for searches more often now, with better and more useful results.
For instance… I had a site that sold blue glass bottles. Gone from the several #1 rankings I had in Google. Buried so deep it’s crazy… how do you explain going from #1 or #2 to #300? How do you explain sites that now occupy the first page of Google’s results that don’t sell the product? At least one says it does, but when you go there it does not. Several are wholesalers (not useful to a consumer at all). Some are large retailers that do not have that product (again not useful). Some even make no sense at all.
Now take my experience and multiply by about 1 million because it’s not just blue bottles, it’s across the board.
My wife has a site that sells a children’s creative movement DVD, gone now on Google… crazy.
Is Bing the Answer?
If Google is trying to improve search results for their users, then “Penguin” falls flat on its face. They’ve thrown the baby out with the bath water so to speak. Searching on Bing produces much more useful real-world results and it won’t take people long to figure that out.
I have several sites that, over the years, I’ve applied the same SEO techniques to… some are now impossible to find on Google, others are a notch or two higher… explain that… same techniques, same basic treatment, different results… what’s more… some of the sites that have increased only consists of a few pages and have not been updated in ages… one is now on the first page!
Is Penguin Over?
As I said, I have some sites that were not affected… I did the same optimization on them and used the same link building strategies that I used on the sites that are now buried. Some of these have not been updated or modified in years… they still rank the same. I’ve read that Google is not finished rolling out Penguin. So maybe they’re not done, or, maybe that’s Google’s way of saying, uh, we need to work on this update some it sucks.
What Do We Do Now for SEO?
Hold tight. Don’t do anything rash. In my SEO course I state that Google likes to play “chicken”, or, at least it appears so. I don’t recommend doing anything until you’ve tracked the current situation for several weeks… SEO is slow business, with no overnight solutions. I’ve started two small tests on two sites… just to see what happens. I’m not changing much and I’m not changing anything on the rest of my sites for a few more weeks. I want to see what happens. I’ve seen in the past when either Google, or I, have made changes, that I’ve had a major drop that lasted a few weeks to suddenly end with my return to the first page (that’s the “chicken” part… seeing if you’ll blink and start changing everything).
I’ve already had someone contact me from a company that had placed a comment on this blog back in 2008 asking to have their link back to their web site removed. They said they were trying to fix all their inbound links. I replied that this is a PR4 site with pretty clean outbound links and no spammy junk… were they sure? They replied yes. So I deleted their comment and link. It’s not going to help them though – I see it as a rash mistake on their part, probably at the hands of a high paid “consultant”. (Note: I’ve removed all comments and the ability to comment because of spam).
In the past, I made some mistakes with a few sites and Google (as well as Bing [MSN at that time], and Yahoo!) all pushed the sites way, way down in rankings… once I realized that I’d inadvertently made this HUGE blunder, I fixed it… it took a couple of MONTHS before Google relented and returned the sites to where they were ranking previously (I think Bing and Yahoo! were much faster on the return or didn’t punish me at all). So remember, any attempt at a fix or modification to your site, or linking strategy, will not show a change overnight, the next week, or possibly the next month. Like I said above, SEO is a process of patience.
I’ll make more posts as I track my two experiments and learn more about this really bad “update” from Google.
Until Next Time,