Google Panda + Penguin = Skunked….

Thoughts by C7……

What do you get if you cross a Panda & a Penguin?…. a Skunk!

I would say it’s a bad joke, but unfortunately it’s not all that funny.  The truth is that panda and penguin together are leaving many online merchants and site owners feeling unfairly skunked and left for dead; some with extremely legitimate cause for complaining.

Over the past several months I’ve been bombarded with clients seeking Panda recovery help.  Now on top of that, the phone is ringing off the hook for consulting on Penguin damage.  I’ll admit it, I love researching and working alongside good ethical, hardworking webmasters who either didn’t’ know what kind of links were ‘out there’ about them, or if they figured it out by way of a notice, determining what they can do to make a plan and “clean it up”.  But, this Cat is personally frustrated by these latest round of algorithm changes and especially the “explanations” (aka justifications) coming from Google about them.

As an SEO’er who’s been around the block more than a few times now,  it is disheartening when I play by Google’s rules and then get slapped on the wrist for doing exactly what they say to do.  I tell our clients where we look to build credibility for them; I want our clients to be active on social outlets with us; we are about brand building, building customer loyalty and guiding our clients to follow credible practices.  When we all do this (play by Google’s rules) I expect Google to say, “Thanks for doing that the right way! Here are some more good rankings”.  Did you know that Google’s own guidelines used to include instructions to use target terms in your anchor text when building links.

Now Google’s seemingly one 180 and is penalizing good, quality sites for doing exactly what they told them to do.

I’m in touch with some inquiring webmasters that really got hit, and not because they should have.  I’m also aware and on some level thankful that others got what they deserved.  But again, overtly bad practices should be penalized; I’m all for that – but I think things are going too far.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not Anti-Google yet or starting to carry my petition signs, but what I do hope is that these credible webmasters are able to recover and recover quickly.  The Amazon’s of the world will survive, but Google’s destroying all the small to medium mom and pop dot comers too! (its another dot comer crash of 2000)

So yes, as I said, I’m an SEO’er.  I have been ‘doing’ Internet Marketing (online marketing, optimizing website, getting traffic or all the other fun things we used to get website’s noticed online) since the mid 90’s.   Back then S.E.O. wasn’t a familiar term at all, in fact I’d often get ask what it is what I do.  I would reply, “I do SEO” and the familiar reply was, “what?”.   So that’s where the name of my company, SEOwhat came from.  Now days, everybody knows SEO … well everybody thinks they know SEO and as a buzz word, it’s become pretty common place.

For me SEO isn’t buzz, it’s what I do.  It’s what I have a passion for and what I understand.  I also love working with a wide assortment of clients, all with unique interests, and platforms – they make doing what I love even more enjoyable.   My pulse is constantly beating alongside the algorithmic matrix and I’m continuously guiding and helping my clients to build their online presence.  I have no interest in trying to cheat the system, because I can win more for my clients by working hard and within the guidelines.  But I also have to be honest and say Google is making it difficult for even good players to play well.

There are moments right now when even I am scratching my head wondering where all of this is going to land.  I’m constantly testing and monitoring how I can brand my clients to be represented throughout the World Wide Web; how they can get noticed and continue to grow, without replying on Google.   I believe hard work should be rewarded – not over-saturated, spam, bad link building work – but honest content marketing work that’s focused on marketing a brand across a wide assortment of online avenues.    Google should be grown up enough to be able to identify the difference and honor the brands that are legit!

I went to a Google Workshop last week the day after Mr. Penguin made his big arrival.  I haven’t released the tape yet, but I did record the whole thing.  I kept my mouth shut at the time, but I was shocked to hear the particular Google employee spend most of the session trying to convince the audience that “you don’t need and SEO company” followed by pitch after pitch and pitch to instead use Google’s own products (especially AdWords ) and that we’d all be just fine.  Sometimes I wish it was that easy.  I wish it was that easy for my own business.  I wish all you had to do was use a couple google products and you’d have all the traffic, revenue and profit you could handle.  But we all know there’s only ten results on page one and everybody’s vying to have one of those no matter what industry you are in!

You need to know you need more than just the “google universe” to weed through the competition.   You need to know that you don’t have to spend ten’s of thousands of dollars in AdWords every month only to come up with marginal to negative returns.

This Google employee was right about one thing, “achieving a good online presence takes time”.  Depending on your situation 6-9 months just to get into the Google Search results (and that’s not page 1 folks!)  You need to set realistic expectations and you need to work with someone who knows what in the world they are talking about.   I’m honest with my clients – it’s not going happen overnight, but with good counsel, and a good team at your side, you can achieve the results you desire, whether that’s improving from your current location, starting from scratch or recovering from a major loss.

So, to wrap this up, here’s my free advice to anyone that got the “love letter” (unnatural links).  First, find the links.  You have to figure out where the bad links are and get them removed.  Once you have them removed, then and only then, write your “I have done ‘xyz’” to Google showing them you’ve corrected the issue and ask them to return your rankings.  In the mean time, if you want to make sales on Google, Google AdWords is the way to go: paying per click will get you ranked in yellow right away, but again Google’s in business to make money so consult with someone who knows how to refine your terms and make that venture as profitable as it can be.

I will have more advice coming soon…

My heart really goes out the these stores that don’t know what to-do right now, with the unemployement rate so high… I only hope for the best :(


Catherine Seven – C7 or Cat

Founder of
Online Marketing Couch,  eMarketing & Optimization (SEO)  Strategies

Read my unedited version (beware spelling, grammar is not qualified)

Filed Under: Google Panda UpdateGoogle Penguin UpdateInternet MarketingNewsSearch Engine MarketingSearch Engine Optimization

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About the Author

"Catherine has is amazing in developing our website optimization. Our website's organic search and ranking improved once we hired Catherine, After years of spending on paid search (Google & Yahoo), Catherine helped us achieve great organic search results within 6 months from working with her. Great attitude and an amazing person to work with. We hope to continue working with Catherine for many years to come."

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