It’s only been a little over a week since Google’s long-anticipated Penguin update arrived and countless website owners are still trying to pick up the pieces of their affected sites. Originally touted as a sincere crackdown on webspam, the actual impact of the update has been seen by many webmasters as a messy adjustment to the company’s search engine algorithm that leaves many people guessing about the specific elements that it addresses. While a decent number of the total 3.1% sites affected (a statistic given by Google) are webspam-related, all too many domains impacted by the update are actually legitimate commercial organizations and online retail businesses.
Rebuilding your Domain Post-Penguin: Assessing the Damage
Many popular voices in the SEO community have been quite outspoken regarding Penguin as well as Google’s potential future plans to deliver more updates like it. Sites such as Search Engine Land and the SEO Book have been running regular features where-in website owners are asked about their domain traffic before and after the update. Across the board, the response to the whole situation has been almost entirely negative. Traffic is lower than it has ever been for so many sites and a ton of keywords lost their rankings as well.
So what’s a webmaster to do? Many SEO companies have been working overtime to help their clients assess the full extent of the damage done to their sites. In some extreme cases, certain pages have been de-indexed while many pages saw drops in their SERP placements by as many as two or three result pages. It’s clear that the road to recovery starts by closely reexamining site properties and regular SEO behaviors.
Where do you Stand?
The first and most important step in recovering a website’s authority and ranking begins by checking the domain’s individual pages. By conducting a certain site:www.clientwebsite.com search on Google, one can see whether or not certain important webpages have been de-listed by the search engine. After that, checking the ranking on each indexed page will give an SEO agency a better idea of just how far the damage goes. Should a particular URL have moved off the top SERPs entirely, then it’s clear something was seriously wrong with its content.
Better Behaviors for Better Results
While black hat SEO techniques have been going the way of the dodo bird for years now, there are still some sites that use methods which many would call questionable. Whether it’s by intent or a simple misunderstanding, some websites still feature pages which include keyword stuffing and irrelevant links – just two of the SEO methods which Google deems undesirable.
While no details on how Penguin operates have yet to surface, it’s a safe assumption that the existence of page qualities such as these may contribute to a penalization from the newest Google update. If any of these black hat techniques exist on a page, a SEO developer should go through the content and remove those elements.
Speak Loud to Get Rankings Back
Despite the considerable amount of damage that Google has dealt with its release of Penguin, the company is not uncompassionate to website owner complaints. Those webmasters who feel their sites were unjustly hit by the new update can send a form to the company to get those changes undone. Unfortunately, as of now there have yet to be any stories regarding Google making good on these promises.
The Google Penguin update has also motivated upset site owners and SEO agencies to come together and speak their minds about their discontent. Although it’s still too early to tell whether or not it will make a dent in Google’s plans, a petition is currently going around for the reversion of the work done by Penguin. Should one’s ranking drops be particularly severe or extensive, it may not be a bad idea to sign the petition which can be found here.