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Google Bullshit aka Penguin Debacle on the 24 April 2012

Due to the fun of time zones mostly when its the 24th April in the US its the 25th April in New Zealand. In New Zealand and Australia the 25th April is ANZAC day. ANZAC Day is the day Australasians respect our war dead – so I personally think its pretty fucking ironic that’s also the day that Google decided to DISrespect the right of small business to exist on the Internet.  By the 26th there were an awful lot casualties including – apparently being the poster child for the Adsense team and providing huge amounts of unique and original content is no guarantee that Google might rank you in the search engines. So much for the content is King argument. The winners, fairly universally, appear to be large corporations as domain authority and, quite possibly, large Adwords budgets, trump everything else. 

Full disclosure: my niche sites got slaughtered. As in every ranking gone from the top 100. My larger sites are generally OK with some oddities like losing the ranking for “passive income” for this one.  However I do not think this is a result of the deindexing of Build My Rank, I saw the drop of a few pages that was the result of that. This was the wholesale disappearance of every ranking for each site. 

Most of those affected where niche sites, which, frankly repeat the same keyword variations a little too much both on-page and in the backlinks –  I’ll ignore them for a while before I decide what to do with them. 

But there is one I’m, frankly, annoyed about, the book site I set up last August.  I set  this site up to promote my Vacation Packing List book. Before 24 April it was bouncing around page 2 for some related long-tails – but now its gone, entirely, it doesn’t even rank for the site’s domain. Instead we have: 

I mean that terms is hardly a very competitive one – in fact, as witnessed by the SERPS – Google has hardly anything that matches! It has good links and about 20 links from Build My Rank – if that’s what sunk it – then the very scary world of negative SEO is alive and well. 

My gut feel is that this one is a huge win for Google – but not for its stated reason of “removing spam for the search results” – it clearly hasn’t – just Google some of your favourite queries using a proxy such as – to see the rubbish that is ranking. 

No this is a winner for Google – because of the number of small time SEOs I see claiming that they be quitting the game. In fact if I was looking for an investment then I’d be buying shares in any company which provides email services such as mailchimp or AWeber

Because although I’m not quitting the game – I am focussing more on social traffic and building email lists. And those are easier to do with larger sites. Are niche sites dead? I don’t think so – unless every specialist site – like my one above, and every small business’s website, are doomed to rank nowhere. Which may be what Google wants – but how long before the general public start switching to a better search engine? Because at the moment if you search Google isn’t providing the answers – they are giving you a list of big brands, and sites which are way out of date. 

Other views on the update: 

Costas: Doesn’t Like Penguins Very Much 

SY: Penguin Musings 

Leo: Organic/Inorganic Links and Penguins

Dorsi – is usually a lovely sunny character – but she seems more than a little pissed as Penguin Hits Hubpages Online Writer

22 replies on “Google Bullshit aka Penguin Debacle on the 24 April 2012”

Hey Lis,

I suspect your “passive income” website (this one) didn’t suffer a hit mainly because the majority of your links are natural and have a natural network profile. I wrote something yesterday on organic/ inorganic links. Relevancy is now the keyword.

It appears that google is starting to judge link profiles according to linking neighborhoods. And since most search marketers get their links from predominately the same places, it is easy to penalize them.

Most people don’t realize this but how the search bots index is no longer the 2-step method. Google owning a browser allows them to render and process information instantaneously.

Leo I think your post was one of the most useful I’ve seen, plus that video. My new travel site got hit a few days after I wrote this. I had very few inorganic links to it – but I had a handful plus some comment links from friends outside the niche. I think I might get those links removed. Given the site doesn’t have a mature profile – I can see how that could get hit algorithmically.

Which does rather put negative SEO on the table front and centre

Gosh Lis so this has sucked for you too. My traffic at HP went from 2,500 page views a day to about 500 overnight. And meantime I am building niche sites which is pretty scary given the climate of things right now.

It’s starting to look like it’s all about the big boys now.

Yeah first time anything has hit – except for the Hubpages debacle last February. My hubpages weren’t hit by penguin – but they have been slowly dropping since the start of the year.

I have some further thoughts on where to go from here – but I’m not prepared to advertise them here (where Google indexes – if you get my drift ..) – I strongly suggets you sign up for the newsletter (link under any post)

That goes for anyone really – but yeah, Google just made the cold war hot … time to be a little more careful about what I post here.

God I wish You allowed images on the comments LOL. Hi Lis. we fared about the same. DIY computing is doing well, several others are too. I never used anything to build page rank or traffic aside from manual linking, so many of my sites did well, BUT, and here is the really amusing part. Sites like… which, (and I built it so I can SAY so) are total crap and have half the content of the bigger ones and a third the content of yours.. went UP in rankings and are staying there. That site no more deserves traffic than the free tripod site that is now sitting where yours used to be.. Just outrageous. I believe that about half the websites down are just collateral damage because most were infinitely better than what is replacing them.

Just stopped to say don’t you dare stop blogging.. dust it off and start again. Just like the rest of us.

Happy Saturday

OK,OK bloody bully – yeah WTH – what else would I do with my life except feed excellent top class content onto the Interwebs for the big G to ignore!

see Yeah, I knew you’d be there with the rest of us dipsticks.. LOL Come on over and guest blog. DIY took a bit of hit but not so horrible on some pages.. Hurt my pride and my adsense.. damn mean things LOL.

Really amusing, the hypocrisy of it all. Go and Google “build links” it’s NOT okay to do it, but its okay to take money from them for advertising. I agree. Not posting a lot of planning and prep on my sites either. Time to just do it and talk about it after it works.


Sheesh @ Dorsi Lynn Diaz That stinks. My clients was at 1400 views a day. 90% traffic gone on the main page, but the internal pages for whatever stupid reason, kept all but about 25% gone. Internal and main page got inbounds so it was like. wtf? Based on what I’ve been seeing ( I requested site owners to give me their page url, their former ranking in serps and the site that was replacing them) a good portion of it was link building but there were some other common denominators as well, but in about half the sites, there were no real issues that I could pick out. Even those which were using inbound linking had far better content and far more attention to their website, so if it was about giving us better search returns (yeah right) Penguin was an epic failure. bear in mind that about 12% of sites world wide suffered from this according to Sullivan, so right now there is nominal good stuff left in search and, as typically happens, crap floats, and that’s what we’re seeing at the top. I didnt’ even lose a third what most sites did and I’m still disgusted by the whole thing.


That’s a decision that only you can make – its a business though – if you don’t want business – don’t bother

I completely agree. The simple truth is that no matter how you slice it, you have to treat your online business as a business. It won’t sell itself and it takes time and effort.Consider really if you were working a brick and mortar business and it burned down–would you rebuild? most of us would. Google literally burned down a lot of houses in the last couple weeks. Maybe it was time for some repairs anyway. Granted the way in which it was done and the results of it were not good, but now we decide if its time to rebuild or to step away and find another way to make a living.

My sites were also blasted by the last update. I guess the evolution of making money online is to not rely on Google traffic and to build traffic through other means. It’s a big bummer to take such a significant hit to my income, but it the long run, I guess this was a good lesson for all of us Internet Marketers.

hey Lis,

The penguin is pushing me into new waters. I was stagnant and comfortable. Now I’m going to expand more, upload some photos to my posts, get into Pinterest, etc. I’ve had too many interests, and I’m going to narrow it down to one main one. Kind of scary to put all my eggs in one basket, but I’m going to give it my best shot…

chin up girl!

I completely agree. When Ezine was hit, we all took a lesson away from it about putting our eggs in one basket, but we didn’t take that examination far enough, as it were. Google is also one basket.. If we had not been dependent upon Google, what they did to ezine and other sites we used in Panda wouldn’t have mattered to any of us. The key lesson that we all need to take away from Penguin, Panda, and every other update that has come down the road, is that depending only on Google, or even mostly on Google is a serious mistake. They are fickle enough that what they hint at us to go out and do one month, they will penalize the next month. With your permission Lis, I’ll share an article, and if you’re not good with that just pull the url from the comment.

HAPPY Tuesday guys.. and we ARE coming back from this one too.

I think what’s most frustrating about all the updates is that the rules keep changing. So even if you play by the rules, they can suddenly change and all the things you did before that were helping you now hurt you. It’s definitely time to start relying on Google less and less for traffic. At anytime they can flip a switch and destroy everything you thought they liked about your site.

You’re exactly right Derek. One thing that I have said from the beginning is that Google doesn’t owe us free traffic, and we need to leave THEM in the dust this time and go find our own.

Best, Robbi.

If you’d like to get some guest posting in that will add some interest and some traffic, I have multiple sites that can house your guest posts if they are of reasonable quality. Please feel free to offlist me at I’ll be happy to help.
Lis if this breaks any rules, please delete my post and send me a cyber thrashing or something. 🙂


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