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Are Penguin recoveries incremental?

 4:25 pm on Jul 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

After the last Penguin update (at least I think it was after that) my site made a slight recovery and started getting between 30 to 40 percent more traffic. All long tail stuff, but very welcome all the same.

I notice that some terms still seem to penalised in varying degrees/ Some terms are pag 1 so I assume no penalty, some are page 3 or 4 and don't seem to be able to get beyond that. Some are page 5 and some are page 7 for the worst affected terms. I think that given time they too will be released from whatever holds them back and will improve. That's what I'm hoping.

I do believe that there is still a penalty applied and I will attempt to explain why.

The Penguin hit site recently made some national and international newspapers and magazine and subsequently go some direct links from some very authoritative sites and ranks 4th for the term that represents that event.

Another, newer site of mine has a similar unique content and no high powered newspaper / magazine links and it ranks #1.

This seems to suggest to me that no matter what links I get to that site it's still going to be held back until the penalty is lifted or times out.

Has any other Penguin hit sites experienced something like this? Diberry and I discussed this and seems to have a similar incremental release but this sort of proves to me that an actual penalty is in place and not just links / link juice being ignored etc.



 7:44 pm on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think in that case it is more appropriate to describe it as a Penguin "release" rather than a Penguin "recovery".

You should see a rise in rankings of most, if not all, keywords if it is a Penguin "release" as Penguin is an across the board demotion - not keyword specific.


 11:40 pm on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

how would you recognize a full-blown bona fide Penguin recovery? What would it look like?

To be honest Di, I'm not sure but to see money pages allowed back to compete with the opposition would be a good start.

I know I'm carping here but what some folks seem to be calling a recovery is only a slight improvement from their post Penguin wipeout. A recovery is worth striving for, a slight improvement may not justify the expense involved.

In my niche Penguin destroyed a very specific part of the marketplace, namely the small and medium affiliate sites. Not only were whole sites affected, but specific money pages within a site were also surgically removed. A site might still have an unchanged rank for its overall topic, but the money pages were neutered. Same story with the EMD clean-out... money sites were hit, informative sites were not.

I can only believe what my eyes and common sense tell me, and IMO, Penguin seemed to be about clearing affiliates from the playing field. In so doing it has effectively gifted travel and tourism (just one sector) to its own Google Hotels and the big brands (authority sites apparently)

For Google to have created that outcome, and not seen the need to fix anything for 15-16 months, tells me that this is the new reality. Like most other site owners, I am going to try and salvage the years of work invested in my sites but in the pit of my stomach is the feeling that Penguined sites/pages are not coming back.

I'd dearly love to be proved wrong


 1:02 am on Jul 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

"In my niche Penguin destroyed a very specific part of the marketplace, namely the small and medium affiliate sites... A site might still have an unchanged rank for its overall topic, but the money pages were neutered."

All I can say is that maybe that WASN'T the effect of Penguin?

I will try to find the exact video, but I am 99% sure that John Mueller has said that Penguin would affect a site more-or-less equally against all keywords.

Is it possible it was some other update besides Penguin (or in conjunction with Penguin)?

Manual penalties are, as far as I understand, more likely to be keyword specific.

And also there are the cascading affects of Penguin. Did some of the legitimate links get devalued because those sites with legitimate backlinks were hit themselves?


On another note, I have been looking at the backlink profiles of a LOT of sites in a particular backlink checking tool that shows changes in backlinks. Maybe that tool is having problems, but I have seen a lot of competitors lose a lot of backlinks over the last year.


 5:12 am on Jul 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

All my sites are informational, not transactional, but one of them got hit with Penguin. I know other info sites that did, too. I'm not saying you're wrong overall - "wiping out affiliate sites" could easily fit with the "targeting aggressive SEO" agenda Google described for Penguin. But it may be broader than that.

Well, when I talk about my "partial recovery" from Penguin, or maybe "release" is a better word, I'm just offering tidbits of data for analysis, not trying to convince anyone of anything. What Jez123 and I are seeing is interesting, whatever it is/means. It's kind of like being grounded to your room for a year (between Penguins 1 and 2), and then you've been good so you're now allowed to go to the dining room for your meals. And then a month later, you're allowed free run of the upstairs, and then you're allowed outside a little, and then you're allowed to walk to the corner and back...

If I look at a graph from May 1 until today, I see a sharp spike on May 9-10 (Phantom update, possibly an early Penguin 2 test), and then it just gradually keeps going up. I'm mostly gaining traction by getting back SOME of the positions I lost with Penguin 1, and I also have one page that's gotten a lot of social media linkage in the past year and I'm rising substantially for two keyphrases relating to it (which, on a side note, convinces me it is really, really, truly still all about links).

So that's all. I have no point of view I want to prove here, I'm just offering data. In fact I'd love to hear what anyone else thinks this is/means. If it's not Penguin, what might it be? And if you need more data, just ask - I'll share anything I can.


 4:06 pm on Jul 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thank you for the explanation, diberry. Please keep us updated!


 5:00 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

I had another one of those incremental spikes I've been having since Penguin, and thought it would just make more sense to show you all my graph so you can see what you think.

Hope I'm doing this right: [i39.tinypic.com ]

What this shows is my Google traffic trucking along at very sad numbers post Penguin. There's a spike on May 9-10, and after that it just keeps steadily going up. But if you view the dates in 28-day increments, you can see more distinct "spikes" on various dates. It happens about once a month that I get another of these boosts, and it always seems to be related to getting back positions I lost with Penguin. That's why I've been assuming it's Penguin related, but if anyone thinks otherwise, I'm all ears.


 7:10 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

I had another one of those incremental spikes I've been having since Penguin.... That's why I've been assuming it's Penguin related, but if anyone thinks otherwise, I'm all ears.

Seems like a reasonable assumption. The hard part is that the algorithm change on May 9th was a "Phantom" update without any explanation. Many people are assuming it was a pre-production test for the May 22nd rollout of Penguin 2.0.

One thing that might be worth checking is the GWT "Search Queries" chart. Sometimes the spikes are more easily visible there, since it shows spikes for SERP impressions, not just people that clicked through.

Lastly, the one part of what you say that sounds more "Panda" than "Penguin" is that you're experiencing the spikes about once a month. Google seems to imply that Panda is now updating monthly, while Penguin has only updated a few times.


 7:19 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

thanks for the update!

Wish my traffic was doing the same thing :)

Because I am an eternal pessimist, have you:

- Double checked traffic with your server logs or statcounter?

- Looked at your querries in GWT to see if it jibes with analytics?

Judging by the time of the spike, I would have imagined that it would be Panda / Phantom related, but there is an SEO named Gabe (can't remember his last name but know it starts with a G as well) who says that he saw a Penguin release on the same day as a Panda update in Nov. 2012

so, there is some possible connection that allows Penguin releases when there is a major algo update?

either way, happy to see traffic is climbing.


 10:19 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Rish, what keeps happening is that for a week or two, traffic goes up and down, but all trending upward generally... and then suddenly one day it's up 25% or something like that. And then it never comes back down below that (except July 4, of course), as if a new minimum has been established. The dates of these mini-boosts are:

June 10
June 24
July 15
July 29

Since no one's too certain of any "dates" for updates, and with Panda specifically not being on any single date, it's hard to correlate these dates with anything. *shrug*

Planet13, that graph is just of my Google traffic, not my overall traffic. And yes, it does appear to mesh with what I see in WMT. I don't think there's any room for doubt that this is happening, the question is just what it is, LOL.

I've maintained from the get-go that while I wouldn't have been at all surprised if Panda had hurt this site, I was pretty taken aback when Penguin did. To this day, I have theories but no clear sense of what I did that caused me to lose 80% of my Google traffic on April 24, 2012. I do wonder if maybe there were multiple ways for Penguin to affect sites, and multiple ways to experience partial recoveries. But hey, Google wants to make it impossible for us to diagnose this stuff, and they are making great progress on that IMHO.


 5:00 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

I am REALLY glad to hear this!

This 40 message thread spans 2 pages: < < 40 ( 1 [2]
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