Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.82.10.219

Forum Moderators: Robert Charlton & goodroi

Message Too Old, No Replies

Unexpected Penguin 4.0 hit - Share traffic declines only please

     
8:55 pm on Oct 11, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 25, 2004
posts:999
votes: 47


I've been experiencing a gradual but significant traffic decline since around the time of the Penguin 4.0 release.

As I've read through the other Penguin threads there seem to be several members reporting this same phenomenon too. Enough so that I'm hoping this thread can just address that issue.

I get that as sites get released from Penguin that other sites' rankings will be affected, and possibly what I notice is just that. But I'm curious what other webmasters are noticing and what they suspect.

For me, the drop seems to be near 15%.
You could easily explain that just by a number of important keywords dropping from #2 to #3, so I'd be happy enough with that explanation.
But I don't necessarily get the impression that most of my "main" keywords have really experienced a hit. It seems more like it must be the long-tail that has been affected.

Also, I started to experience fluctuations off and on 2 weeks before the official Penguin 4.0 announcement, which doesn't really fit the expected.

Also, this isn't a site that has ever had any Penguin related issues (nor manual actions). I wasn't expecting much of an effect from this algorithm change.

Some other members in some other threads mentioned that possibly other substantial algo changes had occurred during this same time period. I'm wondering what people think at this point.
10:36 pm on Oct 11, 2016 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Jan 7, 2005
posts:97
votes: 1


Hi Broadway - yes, I'm seeing exactly the same. It's very strange. I noticed fluctuations just before Penguin was announced, and they're continuing to present date - seeing a similar volume of traffic drop. I wouldn't expect to see a Penguin hit.

To me, it looks as though Google are rotating / testing multiple search results. If I check keywords multiple times during the day, at some point I rank really well, and later in the day I've been wiped from the search results. This has been going on for several weeks now. Initially I thought I was hitting different datacentres as Penguin rolled out, but it's been going on for too long now. I've never seen an update behave like this.

Someone mentioned machine learning in another thread, and I'm wondering if there's something like that going on - i.e. Google iterate through multiple SERPs, monitor user behaviour, and then use that data for Google to learn and improve the SERPs. That might suggest why we're seeing Google rotating through multiple sets of SERPs, and why it's still ongoing.
12:44 am on Oct 12, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member aristotle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 4, 2008
posts:3485
votes: 310


But I don't necessarily get the impression that most of my "main" keywords have really experienced a hit. It seems more like it must be the long-tail that has been affected.

If I understand it correctly, the primary purpose of Penguin, or at least the "old" Penguin, is to penalize the site's rankings for keywords that the site owner has tried to optimize for, especially by building backlinks that contain these keywords in the anchor text. Normally these would be the "main" keywords, not long tail. So what you're seeing doesn't sound like a direct effect of (old) Penguin
12:59 am on Oct 12, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member aristotle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 4, 2008
posts:3485
votes: 310


P.S. didn't google imply that the new Penguin is more lenient than the old Penguin?

If so, there should be more sites escaping than being newly hit.
1:12 am on Oct 12, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 1, 2016
posts: 2266
votes: 602


I may be seeing something similar. I use "may" because it has only been couple of days since this started, so it is hard to say if this just normal fluctuations (albeit on the high end of what I consider normal) or a statistically significant downward shift. Since Saturday, I have seen a drop in the range of 10 to 15%. Also this weekend was a long one for many so this may have impacted my numbers as well. But the general seems to be ongoing today.

What may be interesting in my case is that I do not target any specific keywords, but rather get my traffic from many long tailed terms.

Also I have few followed links pointing to my site but many no-followed links from sketchy scraper sites and other spammy parasites. There is no way that my site is being targeted by penguin directly.
5:15 am on Oct 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 25, 2004
posts:999
votes: 47


I'm under the impression that Penguin is formally referred to as a "web spam" algorithm.
It's almost always discussed in terms of links, especially purchasing links and such.
But is there some other aspect of it that's associated with other anti-spam techniques that's been dialed up in the 4.0 version?

Black-hat or grey-hat methods were never a part of my website's link development.
However this is a 15 year-old-website that 10 years ago ranked pretty well for some prominent keywords in its niche.
Due to that there have always been a ton of crap sites that do link in, somehow thinking that putting this website as a footer link on their site would help them. I had disavowed a lot of those but never because I had had a Penguin issue crop up.

I probably do too much exact-match internal linking between pages. Is that a part of Penguin and was that dialed up in version 4.0?

I'd appreciate any thoughts.
12:37 pm on Oct 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member aristotle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 4, 2008
posts:3485
votes: 310


I probably do too much exact-match internal linking between pages. Is that a part of Penguin and was that dialed up in version 4.0?

If I remember correctly, Matt Cutts originally called Penguin an over-optimization penalty, before the name "Penguin" was introduced. This could include over-optimization of internal linking, and I do remember some discussions about internal linking possibly being a factor in penguin.

But you said earlier that your traffic losses appear to be mostly from long-tail searches, which, as I mentioned before, isn't likely to be an effect of penguin.
5:32 am on Oct 18, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 25, 2004
posts:999
votes: 47


I'm not saying I had an unexpected Penguin hit, but hypothetically lets say I did.

I read a recent Moz blog post by Dr. Pete.

Regarding Penguin 4.0:

1) He suggested that he thought that Google first released websites from their previous Penguin penalties. (That would explain my drop in traffic, due to a loss in position because previously penalized websites rose back.)
2) Then Penguin 4.0 was implemented, although it's devaluations only started to show slowly over time as the web was recrawled and links were reevaluated.

Starting 9/30 my website started loosing traffic.
By 10/9 it lost 18% of pageviews.
Since then it's slowly started to recover.
As of 10/18 I'm now off less than 4%.
(I'm comparing the last 3 weeks vs. late July into early August)

My scenario seems to match what Dr. Pete suggests, although my dates don't exactly correlate with those announced for Penguin 4.0.
10:12 pm on Oct 20, 2016 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Oct 24, 2003
posts: 635
votes: 13


Seeing something very similar here. I saw massive daily gyrations in traffic starting around mid September. On October 1st my site took a big plunge, down about 24% overall since then and has stayed at exactly that level...no recovery at all. Unfortunately I launched a new totally redesigned site at end of August, but it was holding steady until mid Septemeber and then went off a cliff on October 1st.

If this is an over-optimization penalty I would love to know it. My site was less optimized with exact match internal linking before. After October first I worked on internal linking to add more keywords...perhaps that was a mistake.
 

Join The Conversation

Moderators and Top Contributors

Hot Threads This Week

Featured Threads

Free SEO Tools

Hire Expert Members