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Take Precautions Against the Google Penguin

In April of 2012, Google announced an update to its search algorithm in which it attempted to decrease ratings for sites that Google believes to be engaging in "webspam.". The update was know as Google Penguin, and was focused on helping Google clean up its search results by penalizing sites that try to be ranked higher than they really should be. Most people would agree that if a site is nothing but spammy links, they'd rather it not appear in the search results so they don't waste their time sifting through it. The problem is, many honest sites are dinged by Google updates as well. 

Check and see if you may have been affected by the Google Penguin:

  • Log in to your Google Analytics accounts.
  • In the left-hand navigation menu, click on "Traffic Sources", then "Sources", then "Search", then "Organic".
  • This will bring up your organic traffic data from Google. Look to see if there was an increase, decrease or no change around the time of the Penguin releases (2012: April 24, May 25, and October 5 - you can check the schedule through SEOmoz). 

If you think you have been hit by the Penguin update, here are a few steps to help you recover:

  • Evaluate your incoming link profile. You may potentially need to go through the process of trying to remove bad links to your site.
  • Assess whether your content is being duplicated on other websites. If so, you might want to take steps to ensure that your content is authoritative in the eyes of Google.
  • Focus your future efforts on creating relevant, high-quality content.

Use Google's Webmaster Guidelines as a great resource for assessing the quality of your site's content.

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