Was it Google Penguin?

We can use Google Analytics to do a little detective work on our site to discover possible suspects when we see our traffic plummet. Sometimes just one page/keyword will account for the majority of your site’s traffic, and it’s easy to identify that if you’re not longer ranking well for that keyword that that’s likely the cause of your drop. When you see a drop in rankings, was it Google Penguin?Was it Google Penguin

Was it Google Penguin

When Google rolls out major updates to their algorithm, updates like the Panda or Penguin update or more recently the Exact Match Domain update (also known as EMD to acronym lovers), we know that they typically take effect over the course of just a day or two to see the major effects and fallout.

For example, if you see that your traffic took a hit in February of 2011, you can guess it was Panda related. This update hit and affected an estimated 12% of SERPs results

Odds are you were receiving link juice and traffic primarily from “content farm” type sites or your site itself was too thin in terms of content; these sites took serious hits in the SERPs following the biggest Panda roll out and likely what is the biggest Google update in history in terms of the number of sites affected.

If you saw your traffic took a hit in April of 2012, it could be the effects of the biggest Penguin related roll out to date which specifically targeted “web spam” which really means over optimization and attempts to game and affect Google’s results specifically. This was a reminder to all webmasters to make their link building natural and vary their anchor text.

If you took a hit more recently at the end of September 2012 in your exact match domains, then it’s very likely that you were targeted by the exact match domain update which diminished the influence which exact match domains had over the SERPs for the keywords they were targeting and associated with. This primarily targeted thin sites specifically which were ranking well only by virtue of their domain names, so if your site had more to it and was more of a content site then you should have been unaffected.was it penguin

The upside to paying attention to when your traffic died off is that once we know that our traffic dropped off in sync with a newly rolled out update (which you should keep track of by following Matt Cutts of Google himself), we can better refine our damage control process when we have a much better idea of the specific reasoning we were penalized or lost our ranks or link juice and can work to address and correct that issue specifically.

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