2 Major Google Updates in April 2012
The latest phase of Google updates have sent shock waves through the SEO community, with many sites and probably more importantly, their clients sites losing massive volumes of traffic due to decreases in ranks, I’ve already heard stories about in house SEO’s losing jobs over it and agencies losing customers.
It seems that most sites have been affected in one way or another, with some serious losers (see the graph below) many losing out on a few keyword terms, but of course this leaves everyone else who would have moved up into their place. I have a couple of clients who’s sites have benefited significantly, in one case a 227% increase in traffic!
So what’s going on?
In terms of what the updates were and when they happened:
- Parked domains Google error on 15/04/12 (not an update but it meant that many innocent sites were de-listed)
- Panda 3.5 on 19/04/12
- Panda 3.6 on 27/04/12
- Penguin on 24/04/12
The internet is already full of blogs about what these updates are, so if you haven’t heard of them yet take a look at this one about the latest Panda update and this one about Penguin, plus this article from The Search Engine Round Table about which of the publicly announced updates were likely part of Penguin.
Penguin is probably the biggest update to Google since they started to include their local listings on the first page of results, although that only knocked people down a few places, Penguin is said to have knocked many sites out of the top 100 for all their targeted terms.
Quite understandably this has upset a LOT of site owners, but the most worrying conversations in the forums are from disgruntled website owners and SEO’s who have been very quick to pick up on the fact that the Penguin update has the potential to make it very easy to target competitors sites (I’m not going to say how to do it here, simply because if you haven’t worked it out, I don’t want to be the one putting ideas in your head) So, instead of working out how to recover, some are now talking about, and probably actively targeting other peoples sites.
Personally I think it’s a bit to early to be able to work out how to recover from it yet, plus typically when a major update like this is launched, Google follow it up with a second update very soon after which fixes some of the incorrect issues caused by the initial one, but only time will tell. Here is a rather scary graph which was up on the Google Webmaster Help site, theres a good discussion going on there too.
Oh and while I’m writing anyway I may as well mention that another toolbar PR update has just been done too. To keep up to date with future updates keep an eye on our SEO blog or if you need help recovering from a penalty or just general SEO, see the main site here.