My Blog has been hit by a big evil Google Penguin

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evil-google-penguin

As you properly know Google released their Penguin 2.0 algorithm this Wednesday (May 22, 2013). A lot have been said about this update and the full impact is still to be known, but one thing is for sure. This blog (Techwork.dk) was hit, and it has been hit pretty badly. Just overnight I have lost about half my traffic 🙁

How I noticed that I was hit by the Penguin Update

At some point on May 23rd I was logging in on Google Analytics and noticed that my traffic for that day was a lot lower than it normally is. My traffic is always lower in the weekends, but this was a Wednesday so it was a bit unusual. My first thought was that my Blog must have been down for a couple of hours. I usually receive mails from Pingdom, whenever my blog has been unavailable for just a few minutes. In this case that was not the issue. I then started to dig deeper to find a cause of the drop in traffic for this day. Pretty fast it was clear for me that the big drop was in organic traffic and in other words, it was my traffic from Google that was dropped big times. First at this point I remember I had read a post about an upcoming update from Google. Could it really be the explanation to my traffic drop? 🙁

After having looked a bit deeper in to my traffic this weekend it is pretty obvious that I have been hit by the update:

Penguin-Analytics1

Thursday, 23 May 2013 was the lowest number of visits in more than a year and the 24rd was even worse.

Penguin-Analytics2

24 and 25 of May my organic was dropped more than 52% compared to the same 2 weekdays the week before. An obvious sign of the Penguin making an impact on my SEO.

Why was my Blog hit so hard when other bloggers have not been affected at all?

That is the really good question I wish I could answer for you and for myself, but I have no idea. Maybe it is because of the niche I am in (Technology) is getting more competitive or maybe Google believed I have too many broken links on my blog. Maybe my posts are to short or maybe it is something completely different. One thing is for sure, Google are not going to tell me what I am doing wrong. Maybe the will give me a little clue, but not more than that. That is the name of the game and I guess it has to be that way. Google want to present the best search result to their users and for some reason my posts are not that interesting any more 🙁

How I will try to recover from the Penguin Update

What do I do next? I could shut down my blog and start using Bing as my preferred Search Engine, but I like blogging and it is after all not the end of the world. Instead I will try to focus on this for the weeks to come in an attempt to get my lost traffic back:

  • Clean up broken links from CommentLuv using CommentLuv Link Cleaner
  • Clean up broken links on my Blog in general
  • Focusing on writing better blog post
  • Write posts more often
  • Continue to be more active on Social Media networks
  • Continue to build quality backlinks to my blog

What have I learned from the above experience

This experience has taught me how much we all rely on search result from Google. If you like me have been used to get almost 70% of all traffic from Google we can be hit very bad if Google decides to change the rules of their Search Engines. It is not like they are going to ask us all what we think first. They are Google and they can do what they want. Maybe it would be a good idea to focus more on other traffic sources in addition to Google.
I am just glad that I am not working as a blogger for a living. Imagine that your income would have dropped 50% over night because Google are changing their algorithm…!!

That was all from me for this time. I would love to hear what experiences you have had with the new Google Penguin update? Please drop me a comment below.

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Thomas
About the author:
I am an IT Professional that has this blog as a hobby project in my spare time. I have been in the IT business since 1996 and want to share some of the thing I have picked up over the years with people who visit this blog...

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55 Responses to My Blog has been hit by a big evil Google Penguin

  1. VISHAL VERMA says:

    Oh no…

    I guess you should avoid using commentluv.

    • Thomas says:

      I have no reason to believe that it has anything to do with CommentLuv. I know many other users of CommentLuv that not have been affected with the new Google update.

      • VISHAL VERMA says:

        you can also try to decrease the website loading time…it should be betwwen 85-100 as google page speed

      • Ron says:

        I agree with you Thomas, I think CommentLuv has little to do with it as I too have seen a dramatic drop in traffic since Googles new update and I wasn’t before and don’t much now use CommentLuv, but I have also seen a pattern with the Google updates in that it doesn’t USUALLY last more than a couple of weeks and then traffic picks up again, this time though it has lasted longer…Will have to do some changing and dig into what is going on! Thanks for the post!

        • Thomas says:

          Hi Ron
          I have also been hoping that my traffic would slowly increase within 3-4 weeks, but so far no change 🙁
          I have really done a lot of cleanup on my blog to try and improve the things that I think Google does not like about my blog, but it is hard, when we don’t know that it is they don’t like anymore. I have deleted a lot of broken links and removed some plugins in order to try and improve load time for my blog. I really hope that Google will notice this the next time their little robot visit my blog.

  2. Farrell John Conejos says:

    Hey Thomas,

    I guess your not the only one who is been affected by the new version of Penguin. It’s sad to know that it hit your hard but I guess, it’s still to early to surrender. I can tell that this blog posts of yours is not bad as it looks and I’m pretty sure it’s decent in a sense. I guess, the only thing to do right now is to examine your blog and see if where the problem is. Good Luck with it and hopefully you can fix the problem you are having now.

    • Thomas says:

      Thank you Farrell
      I have been examining my blog for the last couple of days to remove broken links and other thinks that could have any impact. I have also been checking up on Google Webmaster tools, but everything is looking good there. Hopefully things will be better the next time Google’s bots are paying my blog their next visit.

  3. QuynhLan says:

    Thomas, I totally agree with you about commentluv. It has no effect with the Google update. I wish You’ll earn your traffic back quickly. Good luck!

  4. Jacob says:

    Well, if you’ve been hit by Penguin, then your first step is to get rid of any spammy pages on your site.

    In fact, log in to your Google Webmaster account to see if you have messages from Google about spam on your site. If you’ve never done anything about those warnings…now would be the time to do it.

    Use the list of violations Google has given you as a starting point and correct all those mistakes.

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Jacob
      I have been checking up on Google Webmaster tools, but other than a couple of duplicate title tags there is not much to work with there. I have however done some cleaning up in old broken links.

  5. Hi Thomas, Penguin certainly seems to have hit you hard, if you want to remove broken links, I recommend “Broken Link Checker” that’s the plugin I use.

    Also to an earlier comment, CommentLuv has never been an issue as it can be set to “NoFollow” which has always helped with Google.

    Good point from Jacob, Google Webmaster is always the first place to check for any issues 😉

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Karen
      Thank you for the tips. I do already have Broken Link Checker installed, but had not paid much attention to it lately. I think it had about 35 broken links marked. I have cleaned up there for a start.

      Google Webmaster Tools does not show many warnings for my blog, but I will monitor it closely for the weeks to come.

      • You might not have been hit by Penguin, with a lot of sites closing down since Penguin, you may have lost traffic down to those sites not showing your links anymore, I know I lost hits after Google updated their Image search system!

  6. merlin says:

    same case is with my blog, exectally from 23 may my website traffic is low.

  7. Carolyn says:

    Hi Thomas, You and I are in the same boat. I’ve been hit hard too with no apparent reason. I will try CommentLuv broken link checker but I have no idea why Google hit me so hard.

    You’re right, it’s tough when a majority of your traffic comes from one source and then the source penalizes you for no apparent reason.

    I’m not giving up though. We just have to try to build back up and see if perhaps Google changes its mind. This is very discouraging though!

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Carolyn
      I am sorry to hear that. Maybe the game of tech blogs has just changed. I have heard a lot of other bloggers saying that they have not seen any changes after the update.
      I have been doing a lot of cleaning up on my blog the last couple of days to try and fix my errors. I just hope that Google will appreciate the changes soon.
      You might also want to check out this little broken links tool: http://home.snafu.de/tilman/xenulink.html

      • Carolyn says:

        Hi Thomas, Thanks. I just chatted with another blogger whose traffic dropped by half over the weekend (not a tech blog).

        I am running CommentLuv Broken Link checker which is very helpful but takes a while. I’ve been running it for about 16 hours now and it’s about 2/3 of the way done. It’s finding a bunch of broken CL links. One very helpful blogger who used to comment on every post, closed her blog late last year so I now have a ton of broken links just from her.

        I’m hoping that works to prop us up for the next update!

        • Thomas says:

          I had a similar experience. One of my loyal bloggers blog is showing “Authorization required” errors on all the comments she has left over the last 2 years. I am pretty sure that Google are not happy about that error…! After cleaning up almost all her comments on my blog posts I found that I could just search for her blog name under comments in Dashboard and find all the comment she has left 🙂

          Let’s hope that are going to reward us for all our hard work to make our blogs better.

  8. Riz says:

    Just like a lot of people here, since May 23, my site’s been hit too and I dont see any warnings or messages from Google in my Google Webmaster Tools console, however after doing a lot of analytics from various online tools, I realised that it may be the limited anchor text usage that angered the penguin in my case, so i’ll now be focusing on anchor text diversity to see if it helps. Will share here if I get positive results.

  9. Mark says:

    Never rely on search engines for traffic, big mistake. Focus on other sources and think about organic traffic as a “bonus” traffic, not main traffic. There are a lot of other ways to get consistent traffic to your blog without having to worry about overnight shutdown. When i realized that 2 years ago, i started to build alternative traffic sources and now my organic search is only 15% of my total traffic. Think about this, don’t waste your time in SEO (just follow the basic SEO guidelines that’s enough), that no longer works like in the past.

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Mark
      I will for sure try to focus on other traffic sources in the future, but on the other hand Google is a very powerful tool and there is no way that I can get that kind of free traffic from other sources. I guess I will have to adapt to the new rules and try to increase other traffic sources as well.

  10. Steve C says:

    the tricky thing is always to try and work out what google are up to and then stay one step alongside their game. Good luck in trying to keep up with their updates.

  11. Liudas says:

    Try looking at websites linking to you, maybe you have some bad sites pointing to you, try contacting them to remove those links, or use the google disavow tool.

    • Thomas says:

      Thank you for the tip. I will take a look at Google disavow tool and ingoing links.

    • Clint Butler says:

      I agree with Liudas. Many people are confusing Panda (on site factors) with Penguin (off site factors). If the traffic and rankings drop you have seen comes from Penguin you definatly have a links issue. Use Google Webmaster Tools and Majestic SEO to figure out where the garbage links are coming from. Then add them to the disavow tool and contact Google with a reconsideration request. Doing that will give you a better idea on what caused the drop.

      • Thomas says:

        Hi Clint

        I was actually working with the Google disavow tool yesterday. I found 3 suspect domains linking to my blog. I hope that Google will react positive to my request. I think the hard part is to decide what a garbage link is. I found Russian and Polish websites that looked really messy. I don’t understand a word of the languages, but they don’t look very informative and no pictures at all, just a lot of links.

  12. Frank Cern says:

    Thomas, sorry to hear about your situation. Sites full of pages with just links are a definite no go when it comes to Google. In terms of your post quality though, I don’t think that is the issue. Anyway, good luck on bouncing back.

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Frank
      I sure hope I will be able to fight my way back to the traffic I used to have. I have for sure done a lot of cleaning on my blog. I hope that will help me in the future.

  13. Jong says:

    I have the same problem 1 years ago and I am not sure the current one have been hitting me or not or soon…

    But I can only agree on two thing; Google is evil and we should not rely on Google for traffic. They can definitely can take away from you and me.

    I think I left a comment on your other post before, I am still not sure how to rank well on Yahoo! and Bing. I know people would argue that this two service was not use by many, I think thats a wrong perception.

    We need Yahoo! and Bing traffic and imagine if we have 50% from Yahoo! and Bing. We really don’t need to depend on Google.

    Well I hope your traffic have returned to normal 🙂

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Jong
      I do have a little traffic from Yahoo and Bing to, but only about 3% and 4% of my overall organic traffic. It would for sure be great if Yahoo and Bing had a bigger share of the traffic making us less depending on Google.

  14. Peter Lipon says:

    I didn’t have analytics tracking on some of my other sites since recently, how do I know if I got hit by penguin?

    • Thomas says:

      You can’t know for sure, but for me it was easy because a lost 50% of all my traffic from the day it was launched. Many other blogs has not been hit at all.

  15. shalin says:

    Lot of people claimed that they saw a remarkable drop of traffic for some of the keyword through Google analytics. Some even claimed that authorship was responsible for this drop. But I think Matt cleared the air by explaining how spam content can go down in this update. It always amazes me how it happens (the drop) in a day or in few hours

  16. Nick says:

    I love Google but at the same time I hate it. As you said, blogs and websites rely on them so much, that a change in their algorithms can be devastating, and there is nothing we can do about it. Good luck getting your traffic back.

  17. Robert Tuttle says:

    It’s unfortunate that google has the monopoly over search these days. It seems so hard just to get other search engines to regularly index content, this includes Bing.

    I wish you the best with recovering from the hit!

    • Thomas says:

      Thank you Robert.
      Bing does index my blog pretty well, but as long that no one use Bing it is not much help. Are you using Bing webmaster tools to improve your index at Bing?

      • Robert Tuttle says:

        I do have an account for Bing webmaster tools, but I probably haven’t given it as much attention as I should.

        It’s showing pages crawled are up 5% and indexed are up 18% so I guess it’s moving along, just not very fast.

        Do you think it’s important to submit your new urls each time you add new content, or just let it happen naturally?

        • Thomas says:

          I do submit most of my links when I remember to do it. I would have been a lot easier if Bing could just use a sitemap.xml like Google.

  18. Pramod says:

    My website not yet affected by Google penguin Update. I will try to follow the Rules of penguin.
    Thanks for Sharing this Informative Article.

    • Thomas says:

      Good for you Pramod. I do also try to follow the rules of SEO, but I guess that Google does not agree with me all the way this time.

  19. merlin says:

    Yes my blog was also hit by Google Penguin, My traffic and visitors are badly effected on 23 may released Google update any suggestion? article is also good but i need more suggestions.

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Merlin
      I wish that I could help you, but no one except Google seems to have the answer and I don’t think they are going to tell us much. I have been working hard to cleanup this blog for broken links and stuff like that but I have not succeeded to get any traffic back that I lost. It is very frustrating.

  20. graphic design girl says:

    i know same ahppen to me..and im tryin gto find out what to do to get my website up again…its scary…but i iwll definitelly cleanup broken links…

  21. Jeff says:

    Yes, I could imagine that, because 90% of my traffic went down, as well as 90% of my income. But that didn’t happen in one day. It started somewhere in February and it continued to decline. May was the biggest. Now I don’t know what to do anymore. Income went down really really bad. And I really on blogging for a living. 🙁

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Jeff
      I am sorry to hear that. 90% that is really bad. I am glad that I am not blogging for a living, it must be very frustrating. I guess you will have to work more on building referral traffic so you will not be that depending on Google. I wish I could tell you how to get your Google traffic back, but I have not figured it out myself yet 🙁

      • Jeff says:

        Currently I have no idea how to get back those lost traffic. But I started to build other web sites. Surprisingly I get more or less the same amount of traffic from a month old blog with only less than 20 post, compared to my 3 year old blog with thousands of articles already.
        It’s not just frustrating Thomas, it’s a nightmare! Anyway, if ever you discovered a way that worked for you, please do share it here in your blog. Thanks!

  22. pavan says:

    writing for reader is easy but writing for search engine is hard and need to be expert

    • Thomas says:

      It is difficult to write for Search Engines because they change all the time, but if you write for readers they might come back by themselves 😉

  23. Jason Kelley says:

    I honestly believe that quality content and links from quality websites will help with any Google ranking. Of course, this does not mean you have to be a rocket scientist to have quality content. Just stay on subject and write often.

  24. Lubano says:

    Hi Thomas,

    I look around your blog and cannot find any opt in form.

    My suggestion is that you start building a list of subscribers. Also, start exploring other sources of traffic.

    Personally, my sites have been hit as well. So I am definitely not going to depend solely on SEO alone anymore.

  25. ISeen says:

    I tried all possible combination for the ranking. but still I not able to rank on first page. then I realize that the keyword has very high competition level. so now I am targeting long tail keywords. your article explain almost everything that required for ranking. Quality backlink are very important factor and I stopped creating spammy links. instead of that started building quality and relevant backlinks.
    Thanks.

  26. Aryan says:

    I didn’t have analytics tracking on some of my other sites since recently, how do I know if I got hit by penguin?

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Aryan
      If you are new with Google Analytics it does not affect you. The Google Penguin is the name of an update, Google made for their Search Engine algoritme long time ago. It really made a big impact on many bloggers traffic.

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