opinion

Google's Penguin Smack Down Persists

Stephen Yagielowicz

For adult websites, traffic from Google is rapidly declining — and with it, revenues. While a generalization to be sure, it is no secret that the search giant’s ongoing algorithm changes, which began with the Farmer Update, aka Panda 1.0, on Feb. 24, 2011, have done considerable damage to many site’s traffic volumes.

The Panda series updates (there were at least 15 of them) focused on a site’s “quality” — lowering the ranking of sites that do not meet the company’s latest quality guidelines.

What used to be considered good SEO practice could now be infecting your website with the SEO equivalent of a flesh-eating virus.

These changes were followed up on April 24, 2012, by the Penguin update, which is designed to devalue “spam” sites in the company’s search rankings; with a fast growing number of adult sites now receiving little to no traffic from Google.

Adult sites that use “spun” text, or non-contextual, paid or traded links, or otherwise violate Google’s existing quality guidelines will find themselves at the mercy of Penguin — and while it may sound like the plot of a “Batman” episode, for operators seeing years of status-quo marketing techniques suddenly penalized, it is a serious matter.

Of course, Google is making these changes to put the surfer first, which sadly is not an attitude shared by all web marketers, forcing the need for action.

“Sites affected by this change might not be easily recognizable as spamming without deep analysis or expertise, but the common thread is that these sites are doing much more than white hat SEO,” states Google engineer Matt Cutts. “We believe they are engaging in webspam tactics to manipulate search engine rankings.”

According to Eugene from SEO specialists NobleSamurai.com, everything you knew about link-building is now completely wrong, due to Penguin.

“What used to be considered good SEO practice could now be infecting your website with the SEO equivalent of a flesh-eating virus,” Eugene stated. “For the first time in history, links can hurt you.”

Eugene goes on to note that if you have ever added a link to your website or had links built for you, then you need to stop this practice immediately, until you are able to obtain a better understanding of the implications of Google’s latest algorithm changes.

“In the past, Google has gone on record to say that the type of links in your link-network would never negatively affect your rankings, but now they’ve changed their minds,” Eugene explained. “With its latest Penguin update, Google is now actively penalizing hundreds of millions of website owners like you, for the types of links that point to your website — whether you built them or not.”

Eugene advises site owners to analyze their current link network for vulnerabilities.

“If you don’t know what your link network really looks like, it’ll only be a matter of time before your website, your traffic, and your income become another victim to Google’s merciless iron fist,” he concluded.

As for what you can do about Penguin’s effect on your Google traffic, the company offers some direct advice for webmasters:

“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.”

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