Google Penguin Update One Month Summary and Thoughts

Penguin StaringMany people are offering recommendations, suggestions, tips and even “recovery stories” these days about Google’s Penguin algorithm update. This update had a very meaningful impact on the search results and consequently on many, I would even dare saying most (at some level at least), websites’ traffic.

The problem with all the information online about the Penguin, is that no one knows exactly what specifically it is targeting and to what extent. The only things that are known are that the Penguin was set to reduce spam on the search results (demote sites which uses spammy techniques) and that it is running on a periodical basis.

That takes me to the next point. Google has yet to confirm that there was another Penguin refresh. And if there wasn’t any Penguin refresh since the initial roll out, how is it possible that there are “recovery stories”? This is why you should be very careful and suspicious whenever you find someone telling about Penguin recovery.

So when the next Penguin update will happen? We can only speculate based on another similar-goal algorithm update, the Panda, that it would refresh every 4-6 weeks. Meaning the first teak will occur at some point until the end of May or at the beginning of June. But yet again, nobody outside of Google knows for sure.

Been Hit? Try Identify Why, Fix and Wait

If your site’s traffic fell drastically, first you’ve got to be positive you were hit by the Penguin. Around the same time the Penguin launched there were also more events that could have caused the drop- Two Panda updates (3.5 and 3.6) and some algorithmic bug. If your site’s traffic began declining on April 24th, it’s the Penguin.

The next thing to do after identifying it’s indeed the Penguin, is to try recognizing the reason why your site was hit as much as possible. At this point, it is pretty clear that sites’ that were involved in massive unnatural link practices were slapped.

Besides that there are only less established speculations like exaggerated use of keywords in the title/description meta tags. I also found out that there are some WordPress plugins that injects hidden links into the page, which may have triggered the Penguin. Only when there will be a Penguin refresh and true recovery stories will surface we’ll have more precise details.

Don’t bother to submit a reconsideration request to Google after you fixed (or think you fixed) the Penguin problems. Google clearly stated that it would ignore such requests regarding the Penguin. You’ll just have to wait and see if you recovered after the next Penguin update.

By the way, Google search team already stated in several occasions that the Penguin is a success so don’t expect it to go anywhere. It is here to stay.

Diversify Your Traffic Sources

I think that one great suggestion, regardless if you’ve been hit or benefited from the Penguin, is to lessen your dependency on Google search traffic by diversifying your traffic sources. Duane Forrester from Bing published a fantastic post about it this weekend (while teasing with the animal names of Google’s algorithms).

Forrester basically claims that there will always be algorithm changes and there’s always a chance that new competition may outrank other sites. Therefore, it become a necessity to find other traffic sources alongside search as well. I personally think that it is simply a waste NOT to use the different social media channels.

Apparently, Forrester feels the same as he particularly mentions Pinterest’s Pin button as a simple way to use the social media. Here’s a nice segment from the post:

If your business suffers when an algo gets tweaked, insulate yourself from that. Any first year marketing student will tell you this: having all your business in one basket is bad news. You need to diversify.