Ranking in Google search was easy in the past. All you had to do was to fire backlinks at your website and you were easily ranking on the first page, easily in the first three positions. By doing that, you could earn a lot of money. But times has changed. Bloggers and website owners who just started with their website or a blog get easily frustrated by the small traffic they get. Few know that Google has animals running inside the search engine. In order to rank high, authors have to be cautious about the content quality among other things. Let me tell you my friends story. Luca is a pretty cool guy, I have known him since the high school and we have been hanging out a lot. We both share similar passions. We both work in IT. Luca is working as a IT Consultant and he always had a wish to start his own blog. He knows a lot, so I think that he has a lot of good and quality information to share.
Luca, on the other hand thought differently. After I set up his blog, he posted couple of articles which were lacking any usable content. They only featured a link to the PDF. Link to the website where the news originated. And sometimes if he had time, he copied and pasted news from the vendors website. I was paying much attention to his writing, but after a while I start to notice that quality of his articles improved greatly. Sometimes he posted a very detailed information with 5000k words and even more. Traffic to his website increased as well. So much, that he started earning some pretty serious money. His Adsense account was generating money, he was contacted for advertising directly by the vendors. You see, when this happens, you know that you are doing it right. It took him about 3 years to reach that level.
Panda affected his website and his life
I still remember when he called me, almost crying that his traffic fell for 40% and was still falling. I asked him what happened. He didn’t know. He admitted that this was not the first time that he lost traffic. He told me that he can’t sleep well and that he his life became bitter. I understood him. Too much I think.
Because I know that in order to reach a high traffic, you have to work really hard. If blogging is a side project, in addition to your job, you have to work at weekends at nights and holidays, to produce a high quality content.
As soon you do that, the content you produce is like a child to you. Not to mention that additional financial benefits, well, you can get used to it rather quickly.
After investigation, he told me that bought backlinks to fix the traffic, but it didn’t help. It even made it worst.
What do when you are hit by a Panda or Penguin?
First thing to do is – don’t panic. If you panic, you can make a matter even worst. For example, buying backlinks in order to compensate for the lost traffic is wrong. It can backfire. Once your website is penalized, it’s important, to understand which algorithm affected your site. Second step is to understand, that lifting the penalty can’t be done overnight. You have to fix the problem first. Usually, this is pretty easy, as long as you know what hit you. For example, fixing website for Panda is completely different than fixing a Penguin.
How to easily find if your website was hit by a Panda, Penguin or another Google algorithm?
I found about a great service called Fruition Google Penalty checker. First you have to log in and grant access to your Google Analytics data. Process is safe. You need to do that so that Fruition can compare your traffic to Google algo changes. When it pairs your data with the data they accumulated, then the magic happens.
You can see a complete overview what was happening with his website. He was hit by a Panda several times. He lost a lot of traffic. But looking at the results, you can see that while he was hit by the Panda, he was also investing in backlinks in order to compensate for the lost traffic. Unfortunately, he was hit by the Penguin algo as well. What’s interesting to note is that he regain some traffic when Google removed authorship from the SERP. I think this was because there were many established sites which had a snippet in search plus the pictures were pretty good. He, while tried, never showed in the snippet. So that is good.
What I really like about Fruition is that it can be understood by the complete novice user. On the left side, you have a date, then you have a column with the color and percentage (showing you probability of a hit – Red is a severe damage, orange it’s a damage, yellow neutral and green improvement. Then you see a percentage of a lost traffic and finally, algorithm that affect you. Once you know that information, it’s really easy to fix the website.
Downside if you are hit is that you have to wait for algo refresh. If you fixed your issues, your rankings will improve. If you did not, they may fail even further.
Fruition does a super job letting you know what is the problem. It’s up to you if you ‘ll fix the problem or not.
My friend did, and now is having about the same traffic he did before the penalty.