Penguin Musings

Google did it again and a whole bunch of internet marketers are shaking their feeble fists in wrath and disgust. I am speaking obviously of the latest Google algorithm update named ‘Penguin’. What happened? On 24th April 2012 Google rolled out yet another update that addresses web spam. You can read more about why Google hates web spam so much on this old article of mine called >>>The Real Reason Google Fights Web Spam<<<. Back? Great!

Angry Penguin with fly squatter.

Have you been hit by the angry penguin?

I really don’t want to regurgitate what others have already written, or better said yelled into Cyberspace, so here my musings about an aspect which I believe has been overlooked by many. If you read >>>Google’s announcement about the Penguin Update<<< carefully and have a close look at the images you will notice something interesting in the second image – the spammy links that have been inserted. Now a lot of webmasters that swear to high heaven that their website is great aka doesn’t contain any web spam, is useful for real human beings, has content that is written by an expert on the subject etc etc are complaining that their rankings have been affected negatively and that they lost a lot of traffic.

What I think has happened, and what affected some quality websites negatively, is that they engaged in shady link building practices despite having themselves a good website, content and quality wise. They suffered what could be called a ‘secondary’ penalty, meaning their website itself was not hit by the penguin, but sites that linked to their website were and as those got taken out of the SERPentines by Google the links also vanished and the sites that lost those links dropped also in the rankings plus it sent a warning signal to Google that these sites were trying to game the system by acquiring links artificially.

But doesn’t that open the door to ‘negative SEO’?

Unfortunately yes! The main thing Google needs to address ASAP, imho, is the problem of negative SEO, otherwise your competitor could just bomb your site to death with lots of spammy links in a short time …

So what to do if you are affected?

Google has put online a special form (you can access it >>>here<<<) where you can give ‘feedback’ and argue your case why your site should show up for a specific search result, i.e. would be useful for an actual, human reader that is looking for >search query<.

But before you do this, I suggest having a good look at your site and ask yourself if that is really the case. I remember something I witnessed over a year ago on an internet marketer forum:

Somebody was asking ‘Hey, a question for you guys and gals with ‘black mold removal’ websites: I have this problem now and no money to pay a professional. Any suggestions what I could do myself?’ The shocking thing was that several people answered: ‘Yes, I do have a ‘black mold removal’ website but I haven’t a clue about the topic, I just flog an ebook about it that I have never read myself…’

So, ask yourself, if a friend or family member would have a problem / question / interest in the topic your site is all about, would you send them to your own site or not?

And there is also this post >>>Confessions of an Internet Marketer<<< which was published interestingly enough on the 24th April. Coincidence?

I leave you to your own thoughts regarding link building, spam content and ethical internet marketing, like always leave any questions, suggestions or tell me that I am wrong in a comment 😉 Oh, in case you wonder, so far I see no difference in rankings and traffic on my own site, but this isn’t over yet, so things will stay ‘lively’ for the next few weeks or longer …

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2 comments to Penguin Musings

  • Hey There,

    The article, confessions of an internet marketer, wasn’t a response to penguin but has been something kind of heavy on my mind for quite a while.

    But re: Penguins and Pandas….

    It is getting harder and harder to rank for things without some sort of branding that goes beyond search. And it will likely continue to get harder. When they start penalizing your link network for bad neighborhoods, that becomes a game changer for most search marketers.

    • hospitalera

      Lol Leo, with ‘coincidence’ I meant that more as in ‘coincidence of life’ as in suggesting that it was your answer to Penguin 😉 You would have to be a very fast typist to get that so quickly out … As for Panda / Penguin and any other black and white animals Big G might send after us, for me it boils down to this:

      Search engine traffic gets you your first visitors and then it is your job to retain them on your site and engage them (newsletter, email list, social media, forum etc etc) and convert them into regular readers / customers. This way even when things go haywire you still have a base of loyal readers that keep coming back independently from the search engines.