Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Google Penguin Update: After the Slaughter

Let me preface this by stating up front that I am not an SEO expert. I'm just a small businessman trying to get by.  

As I wrote earlier, I own a website that was hit extremely hard by the Panda update. Below are two charts that show just how sudden the drop was.  My site went from about 3,000 daily impressions to about 300.

The image below is a closeup of the graph following the devastating drop after April 25.

My efforts so far have had very little improvement on the overall traffic.
Even though the site has slowly inched forward in the rankings, its not enough to make any significant difference. The difference between clicks from page 1 to page 2 is gigantic. Even on page 1, the difference in clicks between top listing and 2nd or 3rd is also gigantic.

The net result for me has been that my Google Adwords has increased by nearly $1000 per month. Sales have declined, although its still sustainable, yet much less profitable that it was previously.

My Google Webmaster account does not give any hints. There were no emails warning me that I had bad links. Just a sudden drop.

The most frustrating part of this is the lack of transparency by Google.  There are fair questions that I and many other small business owners need to have answered so that we can either fix whatever damage that Google has perceived, or that we know to just move on and do something new.

Is Google penalizing me,  or does Google just think it found better content to replace mine? I have no idea.

If I'm being penalized, how do I know?  Can I fix it?  If so, how? 

Do I have bad links? If so, which ones, and will I be forgiven if I remove them?

By having access to all of my webmaster data and my Adwords account, how do I know that Google didn't run some special algorithm that revealed that by knocking down my organic ranking it could make an extra $1,000 a month off me in Adwords fees?

Basically, I'm leaning toward the idea that the cause is lost. I've began creating new websites with new content.  One of my new sites, a simple Blogger blog is already in 4th place on page 1, and all over page 2. My shill content is (imho) a poorer experience than the other professionally written and highly targeted content that Google hates, but what can you do.  Google seems to love content that is new, just for the sake of new.

I still think that the Penguin update must be rolled back or a major adjustment made to it, simply because I can't see this continuing... eventually Google will have enough data to see that it has made a mistake.  It will also be interesting to see how their share of the search market fares post Panda. I'll be looking for a gain in Bing at the expense of Google.

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