Saturday, May 12, 2012
Many bloggers and webmasters have felt the full effect of Google's latest algorithm, called Penguin. This one hit me pretty hard (just like when Panda algorithm hit about a year ago).
Here's the story so far:
A while back I created a new blog. It was my first time to try a WordPress self-hosted, and I really liked the domain name. Things were going pretty well. I wasn't getting huge traffic, but I was ranking pretty well (first page on Google) for some keywords/phrases. I had some good articles for the keywords I was ranking for, so things seem to be "working."
It seems this new algorithm has changed things--most of my search engine traffic is coming from Bing and Yahoo. I'm not even ranking for a term that matches my domain name.
How am I responding?
Well, this time I'm not really doing much. I did remove my link from a couple of blog rolls. I also sent a reconsideration request to Google and received a reply: "We reviewed your site and found no manual actions by the webspam team that might affect your site's ranking in Google." Translation: my blog was collateral damage. I knew the reconsideration request wouldn't accomplish anything, but it was about the only thing I could do to complain.
Here's why I think my response to Penguin will be very limited:
*There are so many variables that it's hard to say exactly what (if anything) I've done "wrong." I've never done any black hat SEO.
*There was a Panda update right before Penguin came out, which makes it even more difficult to know exactly what's going on.
*Most importantly: I want to wait and see how they tweak Penguin. I believe they have no choice but to change it if they want to stay competitive (more on that later).
My biggest disappointments with Penguin:
*The consensus of bloggers is that this new update just stinks overall. There are cases of empty blogspot pages (no content) ranking #1 for competitive keywords. This is why I believe this algorithm will be changed soon.
*It still seems overly generous to exact-match keyword domains.
*It opens the door for negative SEO--using low-quality links to attack a competitor's website. There is debate as to whether or not it is possible, but I fail to see how Google can keep it from happening.
I'll wait and see what happens.
By the way, here is the best article on penguin I've read so far about this new update.