Google Penguin – Panic Time

If your website was hit hard by Google Penguin, you probably believe it is time to panic.  A little panic is understandable, after all, your online presence is likely one of your most important marketing channels.  Here is a quick example of why not to panic.

Google is always tweaking their algorithms, including major updates like Penguin this year and Panda last year.  In between major updates are more subtle changes, but frequent changes, that don’t get big headlines, but cumulatively can have just as much effect as the major updates.

On one of the sites I manage, the Penguin update seemed to hit it hard, and unreasonably hard.  I panicked a bit, I researched a number of blogs and read postings by Google on what Penguin was intended to do then I compared the site, the content strategy, the inbound and outbound links, etc, to the best information available and I could not determine anything for which the site should be penalized.  Yet the rankings and traffic had dropped.  On this site I monitor a number of keywords and some of them had dropped off the first page of Google search results.  Generally that means no search traffic from those terms.

I kept a close eye on the rankings, running reports on a weekly basis and over the course of several months now, without drastic or dramatic changes to the site, 16 of the 18 search terms I am tracking have all recovered back to or above their pre-Penguin rankings.  Not only that but this week a significant number of them shifted up again.

It is my belief that Google has “undone” some of the Penguin factors which they realize have damaged the search results of good quality sites.  This has not been a highly publicized event as I don’t believe Google ever apologizes, they just keep working to deliver what they believe are the best rankings for quality sites.