Hit by Google Panda and Penguin Updates: Road to Recovery

Hello again! Here we are again in Noobpreneur.com 2nd edition of weekly update. Unlike any other blog posts, this type of blog posts will update you with what’s going on with Noobpreneur.com as a business.

Meet Google’s Panda and Penguin

As you might have heard, there are many websites were hit by Google Panda and Penguin. If you are not sure what I mean about Panda and Penguin, both are referring to Google algorithm updates that regulates how websites and webpages are ranked in search engine result pages when you search for something.

google panda penguin updates
Image by Mortissimo

Google actually does hundreds of algorithm updates every year, but the biggest series of updates are started back in February 2011 – called Panda / Farmer update. Initially introduced to slap low quality sites, including content farms, pages with high ad-to-content ratios and so on, Panda has done several updates more.

Not stopping there Google also introduces yet another major algorithm update, called Penguin. The algorithm changes are meant to fight websites that have done the so-called “over-optimization”. In plain English, it refers to SEO activities that are overly aggressive, so Google consider such sites as those who are trying to game the system.

Go here for Google algorithm change history. Go here to learn more about Google Panda, and here for Google Penguin.

So what’s with all the fuss?

To end users, Google Panda and Penguin are meant to promote user experience. Google meant the updates to help users get better search results. So far, Google has met its objective, despite some controversy.

To website owners, Google Panda and Penguin are the tipping point: Some don’t affected at all and some enjoy the benefits – however, some others heavily impacted by the changes, mainly due to pages lost their ranking, causing them to lose traffic and eventually revenue.

Recovering from the updates is not easy, either – Barry Schwartz says that only 13% of websites are fully recovered (as of February 2012.)

What’s going on with Noobpreneur.com – lessons learned

With all above said, I’m not-to-happy to report that Noobpreneur.com was hit by at least 3 of the latest Panda updates (the latest version – Panda 3.9, July 24, 2012.) We lost plenty of traffic, but we know it’s not the time to panic.

We survived through numerous Panda update, but were initially hit by the May-June 2012 overall algorithm updates – and then continue to get hit by the proceeding updates. We are still investigating what we have done wrong, but I highly suspect our linking strategy has gone awry. I think we have over-optimized in our linking strategy.

My mistake is that I start hiring an SEO specialist back in April 2012 to help us rank better for our main keywords. The SEO company claims that the SEO strategy is white hat and “guaranteed” to play the Google Panda game, but unfortunately, in the end I hire the wrong company and now we have to pay the price for the mistakes.

The 2nd major mistake is the fact that I let some ugly third-party blog posts slide in Noobpreneur.com. I am becoming complacent with Noobpreneur.com and now we have to pay the price.

Fortunately, my other sites are not impacted, and perhaps it’s due to one and only reason: I never done any full-scale link building strategy nor hire any SEO company – I rely on natural linking (links coming from those who think my websites are cool enough) and creating/publishing useful content. No, SEO companies are not the one to blame – but it’s my and your responsibility to hire the right one.

What to do?

As I mentioned above, it’s not the right time for you and me whose websites’ have been hit by Google Panda and/or Penguin updates to panic and rants about it everywhere (and blame Google for the conspiracy and so on.)

Check out this guide on website quality.

We have several options, but for Noobpreneur.com, we are going to refocus on user experience, providing quality content and leave everything else to our readers. This story will be the main reference for our road to recovery. Let’s see and find out!

So, how about you? Have you been hit by Google Panda and/or Penguin? Have your website recovered? What’s your strategy in getting your website on track? Please share your experience by leaving your comment.

Ivan Widjaya
Road to search engine ranking recovery