The Big G strikes again: the “Google Penguin Update” rolled out on April 24th, and if you listen closely, you can practically hear the screams of marketing forum members all over the ‘net. Many legit sites lost their rankings overnight along with the spam sites that were targeted, and – believe it or not – Google has acknowledged the screw-up and is taking steps to fix it. How about that?!
So, What Exactly Happened?
Shortly after Google hit the button to launch their Penguin update, they announced that it only impacted roughly 3.1% of search queries. The queries they targeted were laser-focused on keywords of a commercial nature – think keywords that make many people a lot of money. Naturally, these keywords were the ones abused in the greatest numbers by spammy marketers – and eradicating sites that were spamming Google was precisely the point.
In a nutshell, a slew of innocent sites found themselves mistakenly caught in the Penguin’s net. That’s when webmasters went wild. In response to the misstep, Google admitted fault (gasp!) and released a feedback form for all legit sites that were hit by the Google Penguin Update to file claims. The Big G also set up a method for reporting spam sites that weren’t caught by the update but should have been penalized.
The Penguin Update’s Fully Live
Penguin’s rolled out and as of this time of writing, it’s fully live. Each and every time Google rolls out a new update, it takes a little time for the search rankings to settle down after the update is complete. This is known as the “Google dance”, and it’s normal. Webmasters and marketers are freaking out a little prematurely – some are bragging about their newfound top slots in the results pages for their chosen keywords, and others are commiserating with one another over their loss of substantial income.
We May be in for Possible Penguin Refreshes
None of the victims should be feeling anything at this point, however. No one will know exactly what the effects of the change will be until things settle down. It’s being widely speculated that Google got a little algorithm-happy with this particular update, and the dramatic changes resulted in scores of high-quality sites losing their rankings overnight. This has led many SEO gurus to believe that Google is already hard at work on refreshes for parts of Penguin that didn’t work as planned.
What to Do if Your Site Was Hit
First, you need to think long and hard about why the Penguin update knocked your site from its previous position in the SERPs. Do you have a spammy “Made for AdSense” site aimed at doing nothing but trying to make money online? Did you buy articles, spin them, and bulk up your page count with less-than-stellar content? Is your site optimized to the gills? Come on. You know who you are.
On the other hand, do you have a long-standing, quality site with great architecture, loads of rich content, and heaps of user interaction, yet you still got slapped? Well, if’s that’s the case, Google has a form for you to use. You may just find your site reinstated after you send it in, and the Google Penguin Update will become nothing more than a bad memory for you.