The last two Panda updates taught me some hard lessons regarding search engine optimization. Also, the last couple of Pagerank updates made me realize that black hat search engine optimization was just a waste of time. I saw my Pagerank fall from a prestigious value of 5 to 4. As if that was not enough, I went down to 3. The last two panda updates too cut back my search engine traffic by almost fifty percent and all my backlinks looked worthless. I never considered it simply as SEO, it’s always been The Dark Arts of SEO.
That was when I started realizing that optimizing your website the black hat way wasn’t going to pay off anymore. I stopped and focused on on-page SEO and did less backlinking. I’m admitting here that I’m not a saint and I’ve done some dirty stuffs in the past but Google made me learn how the game was supposed to be played and I complied.
Exit Panda, Enter Penguin
Well, Panda is dead and gone, and it even favored some who engaged in the dirty game but Penguin is here and a lot smarter. Lots of sites were hit but luckily for me, I think my hard work payed off. Like I mentioned earlier, I stopped playing dirty since the last two Panda updates and focused more on generating high quality content, on-page SEO and moderate off-site SEO. Over-optimization now can get you penalized and make you disappear from SERP.
According to Google its Webmaster Central blog on April 24, “We’ve always targeted webspam in our rankings, and [Penguin] represents another improvement in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content.While we can’t divulge specific signals because we don’t want to give people a way to game our search results and worsen the experience for users, our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics.”
Aftermath of the Penguin Update
For about a couple of weeks now, I’ve noticed a rise in traffic and this is a clear indication that I’m now on the right track. If you’ve been playing the game the right way too, you traffic shouldn’t go down even if there’s no noticeable increase.
Right from 24th of last month, if you noticed a drop in traffic, you’ve been hit. Check your Google Analytics report and compare your traffic to what it used to be. It’s time to make some strategic changes.
Recovering from the Penguin Hammer
I was a Panda victim that recovered and I believe that if you got hit by Penguin, you can definitely bounce back but it’s not that easy and you may give up even before there’s any positive change.
- Stop over stuffing your content with keywords. You should write your articles for human reading, not google bot.
- You may want to stop buying backlinks or using those backlinking softwares for a while. Let things happen naturally.
- Aviod duplicate contents and topics. If you already have these, you should merge similar topics and use 301 redirect
- You have enough spammy backlinks already, try using social bookmarking for both traffic and SEO
- Consider doing your off page SEO the right way!
If you think your site was affected wrongly and you’re pretty sure you did nothing wrong, you may contact Google. The spreadsheet is to inform Google that you were punished by mistake and not guilty of any SEO crime. I doubt if that will be as effective though because there’ll be thousands of complaints they won’t be able to handle.