The Penguin 3.0 Aftermath: Were You Hit?

Hysteria. That's what happens every time Google makes an announcement regarding its algorithmic changes. True enough, for many online marketing fortunes built on the back of the search engine - this is often a prelude to bad news. After all those dollars spent on optimization tools, SEO, writers and even sponsorship, years of effort could and may have gone down the drain. Or worse, it could mean lost revenue for the coming months.

But for ordinary users who just want to happily look for something to buy on the Internet, well, life goes on.

Google Culture and Dependence
I've had an interesting conversation with Luana, a friend I met on +MyBlogU, about the existence of a Google-centric culture that we're having when it comes to online marketing. The first instinctive idea that popped in my head was, "There's a Google centric culture?"

That's when it hit me. It's true.

Think about it in a broader way, and not just in Internet marketing. Are you using something from Google right now? Gmail? Google Plus? Search? Blogspot? Google Play on Your Android Phone?

I've always seen the tech giant as a lovable fur ball with some intent to watch over the things we're doing including the things that we search for online.

I even ignored Edward Snowden's statements against Google.

As a fan and maybe a blind follower of the web titan, I've only seen the good things that it does and gives us; and I only read about the good things that I hear. Breaking free from that, could feel a little like, shall we say, sinning?

The Real World Effects of a Google Penalty

  • Lost clients
  • Lost audience
  • Lost readers
For some, it's more about the stigma and the negative impression that could scar a blog or a website for a long time. Advertisers could shun you and go to a different blog or website. Your site's name could be the subject of a blog post title with negative connotations - it's just bad PR in a world where everybody is striving to look good.

The effects of these could reverberate across the online marketing circles and brand you for a long time.

So I asked a few friends on MyBlogU to weigh in on the whole dilemma. I asked them how it impacted their websites and blogs. Maybe, just maybe, we could glean a deeper insight into how we should go about in the future.

My Indian client has actually seen a rise in search engine rankings starting on Oct. 7. Impressions went up by 44% and clicks by 64%. My Italian client (no blog nor fresh content) also saw a rise in impressions by 12% and there have been 32% more clicks in SERPs. Most of improvement is for search queries containing brand names, but some other content went up to the first page, too. All in all, Penguin 3.0 has been good to my clients

The situation with my websites is different, but willfully so. Search impressions went down to 12 from an average of 37 a day for and there has been a loss in clicks of 14%. I was expecting it, since I sold a few dofollow links on the homepage over the past few months and I have been playing with the robots.txt file, excluding Googlebot at a certain point. I removed the links about a week before the update and then reinstated the robots.txt file a few days ago. Search clicks average 10-12 per day now. Also, I noticed there is no manual webspam action under Webmaster Tools, so the penalty was only algorithmic.

The situation is stable for other websites that were penalized for "unnatural outbound links". For some, the click average per day went up a little, for some others even by 50%, even though there has been no considerable improvement in rankings (which is the norm for penalized sites with a small community, I suppose).

What am I going to do now? In short, nothing. I don't hate Google for this, because I know their business model. I do my best to avoid penalties for my clients, but then Google can do whatever to my websites, since traffic from Google only makes up for the 2% of my total traffic and I rely more on community building than on SEO. Also, there's no way I would give up on advertising, even when the methods for it don't really make Google smile. But that's for another story.

Luana Spinetti | Freelance Designer

Few of friendly bloggers affilate sites have been effected for few keywoords and their SEO visibility have dropped certainly and there is a net loss of 3%-4% in SEO keyword visibility.It seems that most of the affialiate sites have not receovered yet.This is case of only few blogs which are in my site but there a couple of sites on internet which have recovered well and there couple of good sites which have good Gain arte upto 8-9 % in SEO visibility.

Conclusion of Penguin

Most of the spammy websites are hit with recent updates and some with black hat are doing fine.

My personal take

There are many issues surrounding Google's decisions and updates and most of them have been unpopular to many Internet marketers and bloggers. But, as Luana says, these are business decisions and it's rather unfortunate that this can sometimes spillover to real lives and businesses.

As a disclosure, I have been hit by Penguin 3.0 myself. Well, on another blog that is.

But water under the bridge, life is very good and I still love blogging and writing. No SEO technique or penalty can take that away from anyone.

So your website got tanked: it's not the end of the world
The thing with ranking on any search engine is that it's essentially a matter of weighing subjective "opinions" in the form of links/websites/blogs hierarchically arranged and trying to make them an objective reality.

These are all perceptions and don't get me wrong, an interesting undertaking by itself.

But think about it. Go ahead and search for "the best car insurance in New York"

Ok, fine, let me google that for you.

It says, Geico, progressive, and a long domain name I couldn't care less about.

First of all, I don't have a car. So, I don't really need car insurance. Second, I don't live in New York. Third, if ever I will win a car and get some car insurance, it will most likely be shoved down my throat by some goons over the [redacted] in the Philippines.

The thing is, what's "best" is subjective. We all have our own opinions. Even if you have the "rightiest" opinion of them all, or even if you have the "bestest" review out there, with the most optimized seo killer whatchamacallit engine out there, someone, somewhere out there, will beg to differ.

My belief as a blogger, is simple...

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