Google Penguin: The Backlash Intensifies

Emperor Penguins, Symbol for Google Penguin UpdateAlthough Google did the initial push out of their Penguin update back on April 24, 2012, it is abundantly clear that this is only the first step in what looks to be a fairly long road, a’la last year’s Panda update.

Last week during his keynote speech at SES, Matt Cutts caused quite a stir during the Q&A portion at the end. The main statement that he made suggested we are in very early stages with Penguin. Panda, on the other hand, is well understood and established. This is why Panda has moved to a routine monthly update, while the second wave of Penguin is still on the way.

If you recall all of the uproar just after Penguin hit the SERPS a few months ago, imagine the reaction from the SEO industry when he shared that Google’s “engineers have been hard at work” and “You don’t want the next Penguin update.” On Thursday, Barry Schwartz reported about the reaction on-site and Matt’s follow up direction to him, and the discourse that ensued in the comments was very heated. Take a few minutes to read both the article and comments, and you will see how harsh the response was.

Full Frontal Assault of Link Manipulation

Get ready, because we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. At some point, Google needs to finally figure out exactly what to do with social signals. They are already growing in importance, but links are still the king of the hill. And Google is starting to get serious about penalizing any and all forms of link manipulation.

Matt’s letter to Barry was very clear about one thing – they will be focusing on new signals in upcoming phases of Penguin, and they will have noticeable impacts on the SERPs. How healthy is your link profile? Have you done anything that even smells of gray hat? Can you undo it?

I recommend you clean it up now, because the worst time to fix your SEO is AFTER Google slaps your website. For many, that is too late to recover. I’ve seen many a site meet its demise since Panda, and Penguin promises to be as impactful over time.

After all, Matt promised that the next update would be “jarring and jolting” to SEOs. That screams loudly and clearly to all of us – White Hat SEO is the only option.

Did You Get Hit By Penguin?

I’m curious if any of my readers were negatively impacted by Penguin back in April. Return On Now fared very well through Penguin and the past few tweaks to Panda. My hobby blog, the Fretless Bass Guitar Hub, had a rough go of it for a couple of months but has started to right the ship. We’ll see if it gets back to the traffic volumes I enjoyed pre-Penguin.
Were you a victim of Penguin? Has it rebounded? If not, let’s talk. I can help determine exactly what happened and help you look to remediate the problem.