On the Wednesday 24th April 2012 Google rolled out its Webspam Algorithm update. I myself would like to call this “Black Wednesday”, Google call it the Penguin update. I’ve heard a lot of sites have been hit hard by this including myself. I have lost 35% of my traffic.
- Google Penguin Webspam Algorithm Update
But what I don’t get is I now have 18% more indexed pages. You know how to do this don’t you, yes you type “site:www.yourdomain.co.uk” and hit enter. Does this mean that in the long run I will be better off after this update?
White Hat SEO
Now I’m the type of girl who likes to use white hat SEO methods. After the Penguin update I felt like I’d gone back a year in time. Google is the type of Search Engine that is always changing its algorithm, but I’m starting to think there must be a better way. Why have the made it so complicated. I’ve also read that the “quality decision” is made off site or out of algorithm. But I’ve read so much on this since Wednesday that I can’t quantify that source.
Penalised in Error
I ranked well for a number of keywords. Visitors of these said keywords gave a low bounce rate, high page view and stayed for a good few minutes. So I don’t understand how I have been penalised because at the end of the day I was giving the user what they wanted.
Perfect Search Formula
I can see the aim of Goolge and I admire that, but are they trying to narrow down people’s searches into a perfect formula? Seems so! For example if someone was looking for a car they may type in Car. Now there are the car geeks who would click on the same link and be really happy with all that torque talk, but what about the granny who just wants a cheap economical car. Have Google started using data about us to define its search. Who knows they aren’t telling us.
Have you been Hit by Mistake?
There are two ways to contact Google and argue your point about your website loosing rankings. Firstly through a reconsideration request via Google Webmaster Tools and secondly through the form (LINK: here). However they must be receiving thousands upon thousands of reconsideration requests and queries, so the effectiveness of such a plea may be negated by a very long queue.
I’ve heard comments muted on forums that this update is targeted at the stay at home individual online marketer who is trying to compete with the big boys, but I’ve seen no hard evidence of that. Google say they want to weed out spam and promote the good guys. I thought I was one of those (a good guy) – but obviously not.
What to do now?
Where do I go from here? Well after panicking and writing a to do list I think I’m just going to have to wait another week and see how this update pans out. Maybe it will work out better and all those extra indexed pages in Google may rise to the top and be stronger than ever. In the meantime, I’ve put in my reconsideration request and I’m watching my visitor statistics like a hawk.
I can see where I went wrong
I can see where I need to make my site stronger and that is where I’m going to start. I don’t mind loosing rankings for 100% bounce Keywords. Much as I liked getting 100 or so extra visits a day from these beasties, I would rather not have them. I only want to keep the low bounce/high PV visits. But they have gone, and for some reason I have gained some 100% bounce rate keywords. It all doesn’t make sense.
I see the Search Algorithm a bit like a Sieve. Google has to let all the things fall through the net that aren’t very good and the big juicy pieces of information and fabulous websites will stay. I think I’ve fallen out of the sieve and am hoping I get put back in. I feel punished after all the hard and ethical work I have done.
- Perhaps I should diversify traffic sources and instead of spending time and money on content spend that same time and money on other forms of marketing.
- Perhaps I should cut my losses and sell my website to one of the big boys – I still get visits – it should still be worth something to someone.
- Perhaps I should portion a large part of my budget to Google Adwords and make Google even happier.
- Perhaps as my husband says I should just wait and see what happens. My website is still receiving thousands of page views every day but just not as much as it was. I should count myself lucky, pour a glass of red and forget about it for now because I’ve done all I can.