Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why Google's Penguin Update Will Fail

"Quality of inbound Links and the quality of content are not firmly correlated."

Last month Google rolled out its Penguin update, the alleged purpose of which is to improve the experience of searchers by penalizing websites with "spammy links."

There is flawed logic with this approach that is destined to result in the failure of Penguin, or at least will require a major adjustment.

Yes, its true that many websites have bought links to promote their sites and also to manipulate Google's results.  Why? Because for years Google rewarded link buying behavior with a good position in organic searches.  Google created this problem, but now suddenly it wants to put the genie back in the bottle.  Google has decided that any websites that have what it considers an "unnatural" link profile will be slapped with a penalty.  I actually own a website that was rightly "A #1" for its search term, and for years sat on that throne.  Yes, I bought links.  Big deal (I won't identify the site because, well, I'm scared of Google).

The reason that Penguin will eventually fail is that in many cases, such as mine, the content of the site is excellent. In my case the content is well planned, original, updated, and the best source for its niche subject.

Although my site was knocked way back to the bottom of page 5 presumably for links Google considers spammy, that content remains excellent. In fact, its much better content than the other 200 or so pages that are ahead of it.

As with many my things in my life, I don't think my experience is unique.  If this happened to me, then it probably happened to you and half a million other websites.

It's difficult for me to believe that a company like Google, which purports to place a premium on serving up excellent content for its users, will be satisfied very long with delivering second rate content.  Just to make a point with people it's angry with.

Links and the quality of content are not mutually exclusive.  And with many articles now being posted on blogs by scared SEO Pro's who are scrambling (unsuccessfully it appears) to try to remove the thousands of links that were placed on these website, it just ain't gonna happen. Although I sense an excellent business opportunity for the owners of link and directory website to charge for the removal of links, the fact is those links are here to stay.

The only thing that Penguin will accomplish is to encourage a different kind of behavior that Google will eventually deem undesirable.   Google, do you really think I'm going to contact 5,000 link website owners with an individual request to remove my link? Really?

I've already began aging the .NET version of my site. Website owners will simply abandon their "spammy" sites with great content and start over. We go to the top once, we'll get there again because its our livelihood.

Thanks to Penguin, the web will simply become that much more cluttered....   Great content with crappy inbound links,  buried by hastily built sites with lesser content that outrank the good stuff.  Crap at the top of Google's search results, which is exactly the result they are trying to avoid.

Once Google realizes this error, one approach they could take is to consider whether any 'new' spammy links are added. If no more are added over a period of time, then give more tilt to the quality of the content and allow the sites to rise again.  But if Google takes too long to do this, then their actions will continue to encourage the pollution of the internet.

Or Google could provide us with a method to "disavow" a link through its webmasters tools.  Or how about a "badlinks.txt" file on our website that tells Googlebot that we agree with them that the following links are bad. Mea culpa!

Inbound links are not spam.  Bad search results at the top of Google are spam.  Google only has itself to blame for the problem.   If it hadn't been so easy to game Google in this manner for so many years, I wouldn't have had to play this game. I wouldn't have had to fight fire with fire.

This is why Penguin has failed.


[Note: since I wrote this 2 days ago, my site has crept up from bottom of page 5 to be the last listing on page 3.  Meanwhile, a shill blog site I built to provide links suddenly now is on page 1.  That's astounding, since the content is just crap. I will begin to add good content to this site and see if I can leverage it to the top of the page 1. 

Ultimately, great content will trump inbound links. I just have to believe it. No way is Google going to continue to embarrass itself like this.  I wish I was brave enough to provide examples for you. It is a lot of fun watching Google squirm, but I don't think its in my best interest at this time.]


Josh said...

Ya, I'm in the same boat. Basically I had 3+ authority sites completely tank, only to be replaced by utter spam.

Yes, I bought links. Yes, I used blog networks. No, I didn't use junk content... Spun, but manually.

I spent a lot of time on that content. Google rewarded me for it. I held #1 for 2+ years. Penguin killed that site and near all my others.

I agree, it will fail.

Anonymous said...

Have 10+ year old website selling a software product. Whitehat Seo all the way, some links but only a handfull manually added to directories and as many industry related sites as I could. No focus on backlinks just content and we still went down. We went from page 1 to page 5, traffic was down 57% but continues to fall and now we are hitting 70%.

I think Google will have to just devalue links all together. There will be a rush for the black hat SEO guys to flood a site with spammy links in order to move up themselves. I bet many of the 'buy links' sites are raking in the money already.

As far as Google's quality. We have been in the middle of researching hardware for a new computer, the results were bad on Google so we switched to Bing. I do not want to search a software and 'about.com' come up with a post talking about general information that is years old. This latest update from Google just moved Bing up another notch.

Anonymous said...

So lots of us are guilty, because we played by Google's rules. If they want to stop us from buying links, then they should simply devalue those links. We're not stupid... if they don't work, we wont' buy them.

But the question is, where do we go from here, Google? You're going to deprive your users of good content just because of some links pointing to it are bad? How's that workin' for ya?

Anonymous said...

Please don't update your crap site with quality content because once Google sees the quality content it will have no choice but to demote it! Please put more craps there instead to stay at page #1! Welcome to the new algorithm!

Anonymous said...

If you search Tulum Blog the third result is an expired domain! I mean come on Google why am I on page 15 and an expired domain is better?

Anonymous said...

Google has also done a lot to hurt small business people who have put up their own sites and who had good content but don't follow web stuff every day and violated google's link and keyword stuffing rules. Now they may be forced to set up new sites and have lost millions in business. Small business is vital for the US economy. I can't imagine they'll use any of google's other products because of this change. I know I wont. Might be time to short google's stock?

Anonymous said...

Matt Cutts said tonight that Google will create a tool to allow webmaster to "disavow" bad links. JUST like you called for, dude!! Great call! Maybe Google read this post.


It's true! Penguin is failing!!

Giana Forzareli said...

I really hope this new update fails. I am sick of seeing my websites loose their ranking on the search results pages. I have lost a good amount of traffic due to the new Google Penguin update. Thank you for keeping my hopes up.

Anonymous said...

Just a bit of an epilog. The site has eventually come back to page 1, although not in the top position as before. Traffic is still down about 1/3, but its being made up for by some additional sites I created with fresh, good content.
For a follow up to this story, you can read this post by a guy who helped bring me back.