Google launched its much-anticipated Penguin 2.0 update on Wednesday night, May 22, 2013. This new update was supposed to really go after black hat linking techniques and clean out a good bit of the riff-raff on the web. I can’t say if this actually occurred, but I can tell you what has happened to SoCalInternetLawyer.com.
This site is a blog built on a WordPress platform. Nearly all the traffic comes from rankings on Google, Yahoo, and Bing with a small amount coming from social media. Individual posts bring in the most traffic to the site, not the home page.
I do my own optimization work. Links originally were built a bit haphazardly, but now come primarily from guest posting and people linking to my site because they enjoy or dislike a post. The site has relatively few links [under 1,000]; so small changes tend to have a significant impact on my rankings.
I woke up on May 23, 2013, to find my home page had dropped between 4 and 12 positions on Google. I was top 10 for my four main keywords and now have two in the lower half of the top 10 while the other two have fallen into the teens. Not great, but not devastating.
My posts are seeing much more movement. I’m up into the top 10 on a few but have dropped 30 to 60 positions on others. The posts are still moving around a good bit so my hope is the rankings will start to recover over the next few days.
It looks like my total traffic will be down 40 percent or so today. This number is a bit misleading as I don’t get a ton of traffic because, hey, who follows a lawyer online? As a result, a small positive or negative change can have a large impact.
Penguin hasn’t finished rolling out. Once it does, I’m hopeful some of my posts will start coming back. Even if they don’t, I’m confident I can build higher quality links to the site and push it back up in the rankings. Small drops are not the end of the world for me.
If your site has been devastated, you need to take an objective look at the links. A tool like Link Detox can help you identify the links to your site that are good, a bit iffy and terrible. If you can get rid of the terrible links at least, you could see significant improvement.
You may or may not be experiencing similar results. My personal frustration with Google algorithm updates is people tend to speak in generalities regarding ranking changes, which isn’t particularly helpful. My goal with this post is to give you detailed information regarding SoCalInternetLawyer.com so you can compare it to the rankings of your site. If anything radically changes over the next few days, I’ll post another update.
Richard A. Chapo, Esq.