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Who is officially broken by Google? I am.

 11:53 pm on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm putting this out there to say this has been the most horrible few months of my webmaster life. When I mean horrible, I mean bleak. I mean out of my control. I mean having to evaluate where I'm at now, where I was, and where I'm going in the future. I'm talking about life.

I've found this Panda situation to be life altering to me. Don't take my words lightly. I mean it. I'm sure some of you feel the same.

What I truly feel is that the vast majority of people who have escaped this have either been in very small niches or they have amazing and solidly build (and I mean solid) websites.

So I say this that I'm broken. I'm literally contemplating what to bother with and what not to waste time on. I do not have any confidence that my well written or interesting articles will be found or considered "good" when I look at where the "quality lines" have been drawn. Nope, sorry, I'm not able to build Wikipedia level sites.

So I'm left with finding some hold to exist in or stop checking stats. When it's bad, nope, it expands. Sure I've had a penalty and I know the feeling of bleak. This is much different.

I simply do not feel as of today's date, that my best article or website stands a chance in Google. Sure maybe for a few more months it might, but I've seen the new game. I exist with decent organic traffic because I've yet to be thumbed over.

It's the first time ever I can say I'm not enjoying this one bit. It's a crushing feeling and people here who haven't experienced a crash in traffic can't relate. I don't consider those people smarter than me for the most part, I feel they have simply chosen more wisely from the start.

So I'm more interested in hearing if people are shutting sites, selling off domains, getting real jobs, etc.

I was heading in the opposite direction of having to do work or the manual kind. You know, 9-5 work. Thanks to this stock market crash, it's now a real possibility. How can I possibly put myself through this. It's the worst kind of stock market. One company ultimately. Invest in it or don't play at all. Yeah, there is Adwords. Sure we could give up on organic traffic, pay for ad programs, and feel better. I guess that's the decision where I'm heading. I'm not ready for that just yet. Are you?

So where is your life heading currently based on what you're learning about Google ranking and Panda? Are you just starting over? Waiting for Bing? Selling 50% of assets? Getting rid of your Android phone?



 12:47 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Most folks who operate independently have had some serious crashes. Heck, a substantial part of my online business has been basically offline for the last 2 weeks as the result of hacks followed with incompetent consultants, so no pay for me in October. And I'm still not back online.

When times get tough, the solution is not to get despondent. The solution is to learn, get the eye of the tiger and get back in the ring.

I generally decide if it's a temporary slump or not. If it is, I try and destress a bit, kick back, work a bit less hard temporarily.

If it's not a temporary slump - and sounds like yours isn't - then I don't give up and go work for the man. I develop a business shift. Leverage and transition. Put some time into determining how you can move forward with what you have, then get re-energized and get back at it. You may have to tighten up your budget in the meantime. And as well in the meantime, see if you can monetize or cannibalize what you have right now to provide revenue in the interim. Sell links from your sites or something. Do paid blog posts.

If you're straight adsense, I think you need a new business model. If you're selling a product or service, panda's not the end of the world. There are other ways to boost your site back, to get exposure and traffic and sales.

And if you have a business mentor, nows the time to lean on them. Take them out to lunch, lay out everything including your choices going forward.

And I feel your pain. If you're self employed, then you've been there.


 12:57 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

You submitted this at almost the same time as a similar thread So Long Google And Thanks For All The Fish [webmasterworld.com]. I'd like to encourage readers here to read the other thread as well.


 2:03 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I started building websites in 1995-ish... went the fortune 500 route with a tech company from 1998-2003, all the while still building my web business part time.

In 2004, I took the web business full time and still sit here today. Not without many face-plants along the way.

In 2007, I got a bit adventurous, I guess that's a good way to put it, and took a few chances on aggressive SEO. Google was not happy and delisted 12-15 info/affiliate websites of our own, as well as several of our client sites that were in our Webmaster Tools account.

To say the least... I was in the same shoes you are in today. Devastated, not only for ourselves, but the people who trusted us also.

I was able to get our client sites cleared and turned back around after quite a bit of work and quite a bit a bit of shame, but I did. I personally feel that Google still has a file on us... and thus I simply do not use GWT or many other services that they offer.

We closed our original, and started a new business JUST to clear the Google file we feel is out there on us. Today, we have the same client accounts that were delisted in 2007.

It took until 2010 that we actually started seeing any positive results on our own sites again. We only have a small handful now... they are under an LLC umbrella, and they are what I would consider top-quality.

I just want to say... At this point you know MORE about Google than many others, you know what DOESN'T work. There is a LOT to be said for that... and its a good place to start for your next project.


 2:05 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Getting rid of your Android phone?

If that is your criterion for being broken or considering yourself poor..you are fortunate not to have felt what actually being broken or poor is really like..


 2:10 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Getting rid of your Android phone?

If that is your criterion for being broken or considering yourself poor..you are fortunate not to have felt what actually being broken or poor is really like..

I don't think he meant that as a criteria of being broke, I think he said that as a sign of boycotting Google.


 2:34 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

You aren't thinking /talking of boycotting Google if you are talking about / thinking of using adwords..

And it"Getting rid of your Android phone?" came right after ""Selling 50% of assets? ..and in a post about "Broken"..


 2:40 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I would wager that google has played a role in the loss of many many jobs in the last few years.

"don't be evil -we hate competition"


 2:53 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Most folks who operate independently have had some serious crashes.

Is this coming from you Wheel? I have heard you saying something on the lines of "people who try to game game google were hit and they never deserve to come back". But now I read you acknowledging a fact that "Most folks who operate independently have had some serious crashes". Any reasons for taking this view now?


 3:00 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

There are other crashes besides Google crashes or Internet crashes.


 3:17 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I would wager that google has played a role in the loss of many many jobs in the last few years

And the banks and the credit companies and the loan companies and all their affiliates many of whom are on here.. have caused far far more job losses and economic chaos and their CEOs have taken far far more money out and ruined far far more people worldwide ..

And those same ruined and in many cases now homeless people are now being told that they and not the bankers must pay for the scams ..and that there is no money for anything because it had to go to the banks who just awarded themselves bonuses ..again..and gave money to their affiliates ..again... for bringing them yet more marks for loans and credit deals..

And those same scammers on wall street now direct the bile and call for break up of search engines ..but never break up of themselves..never take the risky parts of the banks, separate the traders and speculators away from the savings and loans parts of the banks..cut back the bonuses and the affiliate commissions that mean that the true cost of a loan is less than half of what you'll be charged ..but all those commissions have to be added in ..

Directing all your ire at one search engine, blinds you to the real corruption and the real problem..there are too many middlemen and too many people who get paid ( or pay themselves commissions or get paid commissions ) merely for moving other people money and who bring nothing at all of value to the table or to any transaction.

Google are far from spotless..but they are far from being the worst and most guilty of the actors in the present worldwide crisis..ad the massively guilty have been allowed in the vast majority to not only walk ..but to come back to the trough of the fruit of the work of others for another banquet.

precisely netmeg..

I was typing ..slowly and with many errors as usual whilst you posted..and this "internet crisis" ..isn't a "crisis"..for many of us ..in fact isn't a crisis for the vast majority of webmasters..just a few hundred very vocal ones in a few fora away from the real crisis out there.

edit.. speeling

[edited by: Leosghost at 3:31 am (utc) on Oct 21, 2011]


 3:26 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I would wager that google has played a role in the loss of many many jobs in the last few years

We've been featuring a thread from 2010 for the past year - highlighted in red bold type in the Hot Topics area [webmasterworld.com], which is always pinned to the top of this forum's index page.

Depending on Google has hurt businesses since at least 2002 [webmasterworld.com]

This Panda chapter brings home the message even stronger. And yes, I do know how hard it is not to be dependent on Google while the tap of free search traffic is flowing openly.


 3:35 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

How much is google paying you?

I never came close to saying they caused all the job losses.

Once again:

"I would wager that google has played a role in the loss of many many jobs in the last few years. "

You might read the quote that you are responding to before rushing off to discuss completely off topic non tech related issues.

The fact is, many companies and individuals have experienced this and the result is often a loss of employment.


 3:39 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I would urge you MrSavage to drive to a large park somewhere in your area, get out into the fresh air, get onto a hiking path, and walk until you can hardly walk any more. Sit down and realize that if Google can ruin your life, then it's time to re-prioritize, because they aren't worth it. People in Libya are being bombed into the stone age by a man who, incredibly, won the Noble Peace Prize. THAT is being broken.

To paraphrase netmeg, the Panda crash will look like a Chucky Cheese party after the coming crashes hit us in the coming year. It's all a matter of perspective.

Again I say, don't let Google define your life. They are not worth it. They are nothing more than a search company with brilliant PR (public relations, not page rank!), and were rewarded handsomely for it. Listen to mhansen, take what you learned and re-build outside of Google's glutches, and never again be put into the position where you rise or fall because of one company. That may work until the tightrope breaks, then it's a long way down.



 3:57 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I never came close to saying they caused all the job losses.

Nor did I ever claim that you did..

You might read the quote that you are responding to

Applies far more to your not reading my post

How much is google paying you?

I've probably been consistently one of the loudest voices against Google in the last 6 years on this forum and elsewhere..and still am..which you'd know if you read even some of the threads that we have both posted in in the last 48 hours properly ..before making your ludicrous insinuation..

I just don't agree with you that Google is the worst culprit vis a vis job losses ..even in the tech sector ..worldwide or in the US..The banks and finance houses have laid off many tens of thousands in tech jobs , many times , in the last two years alone..none of it Google's fault ..all of it the banks and finance houses fault..But they never lay off or fire the guys at the top ..who made the wrong decisions ..from pure greed..

Are you a bank or a loan or credit card affiliate perchance :)


 4:44 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Not sure where I have ever stated that google is the worse culprit in regard to job losses. While I am not against discussing politics-economics-and banking with you, I doubt this is the best forum or thread for this discussion.

Google controls the flow of commerce in many many different verticals in a dramatic way that has never been seen before. It's not even comparable to yellow pages/radio/tv and other media.

This power and money has led to extreme greed and rather evil activities, but of course they are immune to any anti-trust violations here in the States, so we know this will continue for the foreseeable future. A few large companies have the cash and resources to fight back, we've seen this in the travel industry and with Android. For the majority of small businesses though, their only option is layoffs and liquidation of inventories and assets.

The "don't use google" idea is just plain silly. The fact is, they have the monopoly. Your customers, when they are in 'buy mode' are using google. No matter how much we would like to, there is no ignoring the big evil elephant in the room. Once they decide your particular vertical or niche is generating enough money, they will destroy it.

One day, they will go too far and even the government will not be able to ignore it. This is why they make such an effort to push slowly and surely so people get used to it in steps. The google serps from 10 years ago, are no where close to what they are now. But they knew full well that they couldn't throw all the bs at people in one go. They are indeed masters at social engineering and pr.


 5:15 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the replies. Appreciate very much.

I will say that "broken" is referring to spirit and will. Having the enthusiasm sucked out of you.

With that said, it's not exactly productive to say well, things are worse elsewhere. People died today, think of how bad they had it in the great depression, think you have it bad compared to homeless, etc. I mean should anyone complain about making $5/hr when people work for .25/hour in third world countries? In that respect we should say anything about anything because we have it so good.

I'm sure, and I know there is the sediment of "geez what did you expect. You thought organic traffic was owed to you?".

The point here is really to ask of those in this traffic spin cycle, whether it's taking a toll to the point of doing something else. Changing the game plan, etc.

Thanks. You've offered some real solid experiences. I'm grateful to hear them.


 5:50 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've had a plan for rebranding and improvements since last year, when I had a banner year. Panda confirmed my suspicions about the need to go to the next level and am now spending this year and next to develop and execute the plan. I've had my ducks in a row for sometime now, so that helps. I did have to shift gears a little due to Panda but I have some confidence about what it is they are looking for and am using that knowledge and incorporating what I understand of Panda into the new site.

I am also pretty convinced that if I spent all day simply rewriting content, it won't be enough. So I'm going beyond traditional content now. Once the new site is built, I will market it like crazy. At least, I would be sufficiently proud of my work to feel comfortable about going all out on marketing.


 6:25 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

MrSavage, mine was one of the sites that was really hit hard on 2/24. My share of Google traffic has not come back. I don't think that there's anything I can do with the site that will bring it back, as it doesn't fit neatly into a category that Google seems to want. I think I'd be wasting my time.

I know very well how you feel, as this isn't the first time I've taken a hit in business. I'd invested a lot of money and 13 years of my life in a photo studio. Things were going swimmingly, and then the industry changed. I didn't change quickly enough with it, and my thirteen years went down the drain

So, I started over. Four years later I started the site that was hit in February. I still have some revenue, but not like I had last year. I can make it, but it will be tough (although not as tough as when I lost my studio and 80% of my income).

I spend time feeling sorry for myself, and I still sometimes get angry, but it's hard to figure out where to focus the anger.

In each situation, I was at the mercy of others, whether it was fickle art directors or Google. That's a bad situation to be in. Right now I'm looking at starting a new site. I'l be investing a lot of money--six figures--into it, which is all I have. I won't depend upon search engines. I'll buy my advertising. If it works, that will be great. If not, I'll do something else.

It's hard to pick yourself up after being kicked so hard, but do it. Don't stay lying down.


 6:48 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have recovered from Panda few months ago, but i am asking me what will happen next month.

Look at Daniweb, they have recovered, Google representant tell Daniweb is good, they have escape from Panda and they are hit again :) Now they are recovered.

I do not like they are making tweakings live on webmasters, they are targeting individuals, they are ruin businesses over night; i see good sites affected.

I've got a real job in the meantime, i am trying to not be sad on Google.


 7:20 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I became a webmaster after I lost a business in 1998. I've been working on my main site since that time, it's dead now, I'm pretty sure. I know what broken feels like, and I have people who depend on me so I'm letting them down on top of that.

But I have my good days, I am starting over, this time I'm developing a product so that I can rely more on advertising instead of search (I hope). My last site was informational and relied only on search. In the meantime, I've cut my expenses to the bone and I'm living off my savings and picking up freelance jobs wherever I can.

And when I get back on my feet I swear I will not be lazy this time! I'll keep pushing and keep developing income streams so that next time I go down it won't be so far and so painful.

If we were successful one time we can be successful again.


 10:27 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

The OP should realize that being despondent is natural but not productive. Look at it analytically, and if you're not able (I have difficulty doing this sometimes) go find a business mentor. Get some outside advice. Develop a new plan, and then get cracking with renewed fervor. It's a change and redirection, not the end.

Is this coming from you Wheel? I have heard you saying something on the lines of "people who try to game game google were hit and they never deserve to come back". But now I read you acknowledging a fact that "Most folks who operate independently have had some serious crashes". Any reasons for taking this view now?

As netmeg notes, not all crashes are the result of Google. Frankly if you haven't crashed and burned, you're not trying hard enough :).

I had a business parter completely screw me, almost bankrupt me. That was a crash - but I learned a lot. I was the tech, the partner was to do sales (I believe he did the sales and kept the cash, meanwhile I paid all the expenses). The result? I picked my self up and learned to do sales. I'm a top salesperson now and depend on no one.

I was making a lot of sales so I expanded my business. Got an office, hired salespeople and admin and floated the costs personally. Two years later, the entire operation made less sales than I did personally (and I wasn't making sales because I was running an office now). Less sales minus 5 people's income and office expenses, over two years, that's a big crash. Everyone went home, we went home and I went back to doing the sales. Lesson learned, our business works best when it's kept small and I do all the sales. It sounds mild now, it wasn't at the time. Not easy to decide you've hit the point where you actually shut down an office.

And one further point of distinction from the quote above. I never said 'people' banned by Google, I said 'websites'. If your website's hammered by Google, you're only the $8 domain cost from restarting all over again. 'You' didn't get banned, a specific group of computer files did. What, you don't make backups?


 11:09 am on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

In April of this year, my business, based on three main websites, collapsed under the weight of the giant panda. I tried all kinds of remedies including 301s to release parts of the sites from it's grip but these suffered from manual inspections and were -50'd.

In the last six months I have worked incredibly hard launching new websites and learning everything I could from forums such as this. I have re-designed sites with manual penalties and got them back into Google's SERPs. I have reinforced sites that did well in Bing. I have gone to bed thinking of algorythms and woken up still thinking of them. My earnings now are not all that far from what I made at this time last year and I am confident that next year will be another record one.

There is no problem yet invented that cannot be overcome by hard work and concentrated thought.


 12:17 pm on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google makes, and breaks, economies.


 12:18 pm on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hey, I wonder if that guy in ohio who let all those exotic animals out their cages made money off adsense. Sorry I could not resist.......


 1:10 pm on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think what many people who say "don't base your business on Google", "Google doesn't have to give you free traffic", etc. miss is that search is the way a great many people find products to buy, businesses to frequent, and information they're interested in or need. That's how it is in 2011. When Google makes a massive change and your site is no longer visible to users, it's exactly the same as if you had a physical store and you wake up one morning and your store is no longer on the street it used to be on. Instead, it's in some housing project or flooded and under water.

I started working online when my former business was wiped out by Hurricane Katrina. When I got hit by Panda on 2/24 it felt as bad as Katrina for my way of life, minus the destroyed city, etc. It really can be that bad.

In 2011, the Google SERPs are like a shopping street for a physical store. No city or politician lightly decides to tear down buildings or remove access to a street and screw all the existing businesses. If you have an online business that you depend on for revenue (and some of those businesses have an offline component as big or bigger than a physical outlet, with employees, a warehouse, insurance, fixed expenses, etc.), you often must be found in the organic results. Is it wrong to expect that to be the case? Of course not. It should be. And if Google was the slightest bit "moral" they wouldn't torch thousands of businesses without giving them PRIOR guidance on what needed to be done to avoid getting your life, your business, and your employee's lives totally F#^%#%.

Google is doing experiments with people's lives in a way that would absolutely not be tolerated in the physical world, and very few people are calling them on that.


 1:13 pm on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

And BTW, it doesn't look like there have been any real recoveries from where I sit. There have been well publicized sites getting white listed, and a few people getting lucky when Google makes changes to Panda (NOT based on webmaster actions). As of yet, sites that got hit by Panda have been screwed for 8 months with no hope of recovery and no half decent advice from Google. They are the definition of evil...or at least entirely careless.


 1:29 pm on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

In 2011, the Google SERPs are like a shopping street for a physical store. No city or politician lightly decides to tear down buildings or remove access to a street and screw all the existing businesses.

And that gives existing businesses a massive, massive advantage over new businesses, even if the new business is better.

Essentially the existing businesses form a lobby and pressure the politicians to keep things as they are - code for shutting out new players. They feel that even if they are providing a poorer service they deserve to be right where they are because they were there first. Founded in 1847 apparently means everyone has to give you special privileges.

Part of the reason the off-line economy is so screwed up is because of this attitude. You see ludicrous examples which ultimately fail (such as the buggy manufacturers successfully getting politicians to legislate that a man must walk in front of a car with a white flag), but there are also countless examples of existing businesses successfully getting new technology stifled at birth to protect their own operations. Because, as you say, existing businesses get to lobby politicians.

The system online is a much fairer one, though more exhausting - you fight it out on merit and you are forced to do this constantly. There isn't anyone to lobby and you can't argue that because you were there at the start of the web, a new site has to take second place to you even if they don't deserve it.


 1:40 pm on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have zero issues with sites coming and going, or new sites coming online and beating old sites. That's not the issue with Panda. With Panda a site doesn't move down a position when a better site takes its place. With Panda, HIGH QUALITY SITES are completely devalued by an artificial intelligence experiment gone bad. There's a huge difference between saying everything needs to stay as it is (which I'm definitely not saying) and that Panda is good or responsible.


 1:57 pm on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I haven't really noticed a deterioration in the SERPs for queries I do - the page 2 results arn't that good, but I never use page 2 (I just look at it out of professional curiosity).

There are some good sites demoted (though this is in the eye of the beholder) but a lot of good sites have been promoted.

There is no shortage of good sites on the interwebs! That is the real problem webmasters face.

There has been an explosion of businesses since the web and Google took off - and that's because the barriers to entry have been removed. A highly competent person in the past may have been shut out because they didn't have a six figure capital investment or because they had no contacts with politicians. Online all you need is $10 for a domain and $9.99 per month for hosting.

BTW - you see this web effect on other professions too. Journalists used to be paid vast amounts and used to preen themselves that only they could write well. Then came the blogging revolution and readers suddenly found that an awful lot of people write really well and entertainingly - it's just that in the past they were locked out as the newspaper business is an old boys club with jobs being given to people who went to school with each other.

The web explosion has meant that their salaries have gone down, and predictably they are trying to lobby govt in order to shut out the new competition - but it can't be done.

Then take the music business - the artist would produce a record, and the industry would take 90% of the takings, nice for all the hangers on having meetings and talking through their hats. Then comes iTunes and Amazon - the prices drop, but the artist gets paid much what they were paid before (remember they never got much out of the old system, and some are making more under the new system). The middle-man got cut out. Cue wailing from the middleman about the "death of the industry" - of course the music industry hasn't died, it's just the gravy-train for the middleman has gone.

Or take the book industry. Authors were famous for not making much money out of their books - all the money went to the publishing house and the retailer. Typically an author made just 10% or less on the retail price of the book - and they were fed a lot of guff about how artists have to "struggle for their art".

Then comes along the ibookstore with their 80% royalty to authors, followed by Amazon giving 70% and new publishers like Smashwords giving 85% - and authors are really really happy, so are the customers as prices have come down. But the gravy-train publishers have been cut out, and predictably they are crying and lobbying govt about it.

This is the web for you - the most democraticising force we've ever seen because it removes barriers, gives the producer a chance and frees them from all the blood-sucking hangers on.

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