Is The Penguin Scratching Under Its Feathers?

Google keeps putting out posts and guidelines and talk about “quality” (however that is defined – quality in this case is subjective and how one ever create a logarithm that can precisely define it is beyond me), but I know quality, at least to me, when I see it.

I also know junk when I see it. And from continuing to use Google for search, I can see that for me, and I’m sure for an awful lot of other humans, the machines at Google are producing low quality, junky search results in many instances.

The sad part right now is that there are so many so-called “experts” who are claiming they know the answer to getting your site ranked again if it tanked with Google’s latest update called “Penguin.” If you want, you can read a bunch of different opinions, and what is funny, you’ll often find the exact opposite opinions as to why or what caused your site to drop, or what you should be doing to help revive the rankings.

Almost everyone that has an interest in SEO knows that when Penguin hit, the search results for the term:

[viagra]

were totally bizarre, as were some other competitive search terms. The corporate website for Viagra, viagra.com, appeared to have been penalized! This has since been fixed, but this evening, I did a search on the term, and again see totally irrelevant results on Page 1. Page 1, #10 is a link to this page: http://pinto.scripts.mit.edu/Research/Monster16GPU

It’s a page about a 16-GPU Monster computer and there is no mention of viagra anywhere on it, including in the HTML source code.

This is junk. This is not quality. Mat Cutts might be a really nice guy, but he also comes across as this guy that is kind of like Forrest Gump, but with a side that he’s out “to get over SEO’d” sites – which is fine – and he’s also admitted that Google makes mistakes – which is great.

But come on! There is a huge mistake that is still going on with the Penguin! It’s getting close to offering up an apology and instead of smugly suggesting they’ve caught bad SEO practices, they need to fix their mistakes which are so glaringly obvious. They have ruined some great sites that I used to find in search results – sites that I never bookmarked, assuming I’d find them again when I searched on Google.  And they seem pretty smug about it, and confident – I wonder if any of the spam team search engineers have done a search on commonly searched on words and phrases?

Something, or some things, in this latest update has introduced some pretty big fleas under the Penguin’s feathers. Now the question is, are the engineers just scratching the Penguin’s feathers to relieve the itch, or are they going to get rid of the fleas that have been introduced?

With such crappy results for so many searches, one wonders why Google did not revert back to its algorithm pre Penguin. Most companies, upon seeing such a lousy result, would do so. But perhaps Google as a corporate entity has now grown so smug about itself, it has forgotten what made it a great search engine in the first place. While it tries to rule the world with all it’s “services” and get everyone hooked in, perhaps they think they are now “King” and so crappy doesn’t matter anymore.

In all seriousness, and I never thought I’d see the day when I would say this, but Bing provides far better and more relevant results for many searches than Google does. So does http://duckduckgo.com which also guarantees privacy.

Here’s another interesting thing I’m seeing – after the Penguin update, on those sites I have Analytics installed on, those who found those sites via Bing or Yahoo have a much lower bounce rate than those who arrived via a Google search.

What does that tell you? Bing and Yahoo are providing results that are actually more relevant to the searcher’s intent than Google is.

Quit scratching, Google. Penguins are cute, but I’m sure a penguin with fleas is not a sorry sight, and it’s time to take this Penguin to the veterinarian.

 

It’s A Penguin – Google’s Latest Update

Are “Panda” updates over this latest one Google has released being named “Penguin?” I mean, the next update, will it be a Panda 2.9, or a Penguin 1.1? A penguin it might be, and sometimes penguins can be cute, but they are slow, clumsy, and they can’t fly. Penguins can swim, but the Google Penguin update has sunk a lot of people and websites.

If it weren’t for that, and the fact that this is not 1998, and it’s not Altavista we’re using in 1998, some of the search engine results are kind of “cute” but clumsy in a Penguin sort of way. In that regard, it’s an appropriate name.

Websites that have zero content ranking #1 for some search queries. Websites that have absolutely zero relevance ranking for some search queries. It’s cute.. and clumsy. And it sure doesn’t fly with a lot of webmasters out there. I’ve even read reports along the lines of, “I abandoned a website two years ago after not ranking it after some effort, it looks terrible, and now suddenly it’s on the first page of Google.”

It makes you wonder if the engineers at Google do any indepth studies themselves after such an update; why are they not seeing what others are seeing and can obviously see that there is a problem here?  But, Google has offered an olive branch – two of them in fact. The first one is to let them know if you were hit by this update in a negative way that you should not have been. The other thing you can also do is snitch on someone that Google didn’t apparently catch.

Obviously Google staff know that this algo update might not have really done it’s job in a graceful and completely meaningful way. But give them credit: for the first time ever, they have provided a form where you can let them know if you’ve been unfairly victimized by The Penguin.

And if you’re in a snitching mood, you can snitch to the Penguin here.

The majority of our web properties and our clients’ sites have sailed through this fine. There has been some slight movement – in some cases a couple of spots upward, in others a couple of spots downward (more due to Google giving more credit in their alogrithm to other sites than anything else, most likely), but one site in particular which I’ve discussed before just makes no sense at all. There are only two things I can think of, and if either of them are what has affected the site to this degree, something is definitely wrong and absolutely Negative SEO is now possible if Google does not fix it.

1. Two and half years ago, about 40 articles were submitted to EzineArticles. Those articles contained links to different pages as well as the front page of the site.  Shortly after, Google came out with an update that devalued Article Directories – and the site did drop a couple of spots at that time.

2. About six weeks ago, somehow Google discovered the server name and the IP address of the server the site resides on. It is shared hosting, and I have no clue how Google ever started to index http://xxx.xx.xxx.xxx/somedirectory/ and end up with a copy of my site – and then do the same with the server name – thereby not only triplicating content, but also showing in my GWMT account, an exponential increase in backlinks to the site in one week. But this confuses me as this site (and one of our properties did) did not receive any “unnatural back link building detection” messages.

The result? For a major search term for which the site used to rank on Page 1, about #7 on Google.COM and on Page 2 of Google.CA, you now have to go all the way to Page 55 (that’s Page – not the 55th result) of the Google SERP’s. That’s insane. This is a website that has existed for over 10 years, has always done well, has tons of great quality content, and I receive daily emails from visitors congratulating me on the quality of the website.

It has lots of links from other fly fishing, fishing, outdoor related, etc. types of websites that were put there by other webmasters who found the site and liked it, and linked to it.

For searches on individual fly patterns, that I published long before other people ever did, the site ranks nowhere. It makes no sense to me. And I’ll tell you what – this site is not well monetized, it’s not something I make a ton of cash off of, (yes, there is an E-bay store, yes, there are some other Amazon affiliate links to products, where appropriate, and yes, there is some Adsense but it’s certainly not a “money” site for me – none of these things are “in your face”).

It’s not about the money, it’s more of a “pride” thing. But not only that, it’s pretty obvious to me that genuine, quality sites can be taken out – whether it’s a Panda or a Penguin – and sometimes it doesn’t make sense.

So what do you think? Will you be filling out either of the forms Google has provided that I linked to above?