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Monday, June 18, 2012

When Will I Recover From Google Penguin Penalty?

Over the course of a week, I get many mails from people who were "penalized" by Google Penguin update. All of them are bewildered by what happened to their websites. A few of them have accepted that rules of the game have changed and they have to adapt to survive while others cry foul but that's human nature.
When clients ask me how to recover from Penguin, I first point them out to my article ( After reading it most of them understand that Penguin is not really a penalty. The fact is that Google has updated its algorithms and has discounted (or devalued) many links which earlier got you great results. So, now your site's ranking in Google search results is "correct" as far as Google is concerned!

Clients who contact me for penguin recovery consulting, quite logically ask me when they will recover from the Penguin update?  The answer is not that clear and concise. Google works in mysterious ways. It has to be noted that Google update just affected 3% of search results. So it can be assumed that Penguin is not complete yet. Depending on the feedback Google gets it may choose to roll out even more widespread version of penguin update which covers even more search results with few tweaks to the Penguin.

Google had pushed a minor Penguin algorithm data refresh that affected <0.1% of English searches. There were no reports of any website making any recovery as yet.

As far as Penguin recovery is concerned, only one documented and proven case has been known till now- It got hit by Penguin update. They immediately followed many steps, mainly removing over a half a million links from sites using their WordPress themes. Removing links from the WP themes that they distributed was a simple job for them. This one step according to them made the biggest difference and they got back their traffic and rankings.

Though their recovery was quick and impressive, the fact has to be remembered that WPMU is not exactly a small site and in fact got quite a lot of publicity when they presented their case to Google and SEO community also took up cudgels on their behalf.

Millions of sites hit by Google do not have this kind of luxury. They do not control their backlinks and they are not famous enough to be highlighted by media or search community. Therefore, any hope of quick recovery for smaller sites is distant.

The only way forward for webmasters and site owners is to keep moving ahead. Follow the steps outlines in my article and keep building new "natural" links so that when the next update happens your site stands a better chance of recovery from Penguin. Remember that you benefitted for so many years from high rankings so while right now you may be down you are not out yet. At least not until you have rectified your link profile and de-optimized your pages. If you still do not notice any changes after next round of Penguin refresh then probably it's time to close down the site for good and begin afresh.

Author: Aniruddha Badola is a SEO based in India with specialization in natural link building. He has worked with numerous clients all over the world to help formulate and execute sustainable and scalable SEO strategies. He regularly writes about technology and search industry for various blogs.


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