One of the nice things about owning dozens of affiliate websites is the big picture view of various Google penalties that affect my web empire. In September 2016 I began seeing real Google penguin 4.0 recoveries happening. And now 3 to 4 weeks later, they’re still holding through the rolling, slow rollout of the new algorithm.
Although Google officially announced penguin 4.0 on September 23rd, my traffic graphs at StatCounter shows September 19th was the day Penguin algorithm penalties began being lifted on select websites. Only about one in five of my sites saw a jump in web traffic, but it’s been a godsend to my affiliate marketing revenue stream.
Notably, the ONLY sites to see a Penguin 4 recovery were sites that Google already trusted and liked, or had assigned only minor, page-level penalties to. They were already getting some degree of daily organic search traffic. But with Penguin 4’s rollout, whatever algorithmic pressure holding them back was eased, and across the dozen sites, traffic jumped from 20 to 40%. Traffic graphs show it clearly and simultaneously happened on the same day.
More interesting, my remaining sites saw absolutely no traffic recovery. The common element of these sites were that they had -50 or -100 keyword penalties preventing any money keywords from appearing anywhere in Google search results above the 5th to 10th pages. This is most common when sites have over optimized on-page or anchor text back link profiles. The bad backlink penalties that Penguin imposes may very well have been eased or lifted on some of these sites. But it’s clear that other actions or algorithms particularly Panda or assigned manual penalties are still very much in effect.
This big picture view across over five dozen affiliate websites tells me things that SEO’s who only have a couple of sites aren’t likely to be able to discern. Note that the majority of these sites are 5 to 10 years old and I’ve kept them live ever since Penguin 1.0 rolled out and slammed them in April 2012. So my perspective is also long-term.
First and foremost, Google’s release of the Penguin 4.0 update only helped sites with no or very minor penalties in effect.
Secondly, if you haven’t seen an improvement by the first week in October you’re not likely to see relief at all.
Thirdly, if you’ve held onto sites that Google’s hated for years like I have, this update makes it clear which ones are likely to NEVER recover.
Honestly, if Google already likes your website, go easy on link building. Focus on creating or improving existing content instead. If Google hates it, you’re free to try any SEO methods or backlink building tactics you like since you have little or nothing to lose.
Lastly, SPONTANEOUS site recoveries do occasionally happen. Sometimes it was long after I really tried everything to ‘fix’ a site, or did nothing at all and let them languish. I have several sites I’m glad I never gave up on – and paid $10-20 a year to hang onto in spite of their Google problems. When they did recover, the resumed income flow quickly made the years in hell all worthwhile.