The Recent Google Update

As many of you will be aware, Google rolled out yet another major “update” a few days ago which is referred to as the “Penguin” update. This update has been devastating to many. Even those who say they do not carry out ANY black hat SEO and that stick rigidly within Googles terms of service.

I’ve been popping in and out of forums, reading numerous blog posts to find out just how many people this has affected and to try and identify whether there is a common theme. The answer… “Not really”.

Some web masters are saying that Google must be punishing sites and taking down other websites that share the same Google Webmaster Tools account or Google Analytics account.

So, what things are Google telling you NOT to do?

Here is a list that Google published……

1. Avoid hidden text or hidden links.

2. Don’t use cloaking or sneaky redirects.

3. Don’t send automated queries to Google.

4. Don’t load pages with irrelevant keywords.

5. Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.

6. Don’t create pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware.

7. Avoid “doorway” pages created just for search engines, or other “cookie cutter” approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.

8. If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.

The problem is, there seems to be a large percentage of people claiming that they have stuck within those guidelines and yet they have still been penalized.

Some people are reporting sudden traffic drops of around 90%, whilst others are saying their businesses have near enough collapsed overnight and there seems to be no word of whether this issue will be resolved at all, never mind anytime soon.

So, what lesson can we all take from this? Diversify your traffic sources.  In modern day internet you cannot rely on any one source.  Google is a great source of traffic but there are other ways to get visitors to your websites.

Here are a FEW different sources of traffic…

1. Forums: Find relevant, high traffic forums, sign up and start getting involved.  Help people by answering questions and offering advice.  You will soon stand out as an authoritive member and people will likely want to see what else you offer.  Create a good signature link and test out different ones.  Monitor your analytics and see what traffic you recieve and how long they’re are on your site for.  Also track your conversions.  This could be new subsscribers or even sales.

2. Build your own mailing list: If you’re not doing this already then you should seriously consider doing so.  Having a large number of subscribers is great as you can reach out to them with an email.  You can send them valuable information and even recommend products that you know will help them and offer great benefits.  There are lots of ways to start building a mailing list.  If I get enough people interested in hearing more on building a list then I “may” create a report to help you on your way.

3. Quality blog commenting: I’m not talking about blog spamming.  I’m referring to adding valuable comments on other blogs relevant to your niche.  Read and digest the post and then comment offering your own views, ideas or opinion.  Bloggers love to get readers involved! A couple of tips here.  Look for quality blogs only that do NOT have spammy one line comments.  It doesn’t matter if a blog post has 50 comments as long as ALL of those comments are real, valuable comments by REAL readers.  Look for recent posts.  When bloggers publish a new post they are ‘active’ and more likely to check for new pending comments to approve.  If you comment on an old post they are often ignored.  Again, valuable comments attract interest so it’s a great way to get direct traffic through to your own website, or squeeze page.  These backlinks will also count and elp towards your search engine rankings because the blog you are commenting on is a QUALITY blog.  Don’t worry about your comment links being DOFOLLOW.  These days it is all about your overall link profile and it would look unnatural to have only dofollow links.  Diversify your links and build them consistantly.

4. Video marketing: Youtube is a fantastic source of traffic.  You will notice more and more videos ranking in Googles search results and afterall… Youtube is owned by Google.  The great thing about video marketing is that you can ‘warm’ up the viewer before they click through to your website, squeeze page or product. You can also create a series of videos which is great for attracting Youtube subscribers.  If bandwidth is an issue for you and your own hosting then you can upload your videos to Youtube first and then embed them on your own site essentially using Youtubes bandwidth.

The list goes on and on.  Remember, Google isn’t the be all and end all.  Internet marketing goes on… and until the situation with Google is rectified, or at least made clearer, have comfort that there are other channels and methods in which to obtain traffic.

It would be good to hear your ideas for sourcing FREE traffic, and whether you yourself have felt the wrath of Googles latest update (which is probably still being rolled out!), so please do leave a comment.

To your success!

Andy Black


  1. Marilyn says:

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention, I hadn’t heard.

  2. Andy says:

    Thanks. My site gallery already been hit with less traffic and zero sales now. Thanks to Google who will closing down small business.

  3. Dave says:

    hi andy,

    your absolutely right diversify your traffic, i personally haven;t been hit by “google” but i already have been doing other thing to get free traffic such as you said, starting to build a list,going to forum, yahoo answers(good one) and generally getting more involved with other bloggers(commenting and doing some hand linking)

  4. Steve Mackay says:

    It’s not only Google that devastate your online ‘business’.
    For example after testing I set up a number of websites to drive traffic to a converting offer on Comssission Junction – building income to $100s per day. Only to have it destroyed when the owner transferred the business to an alternative affiliate program.
    The safest way to go is create your own high value products or services and build your own list of email subscribers – preferably of buyers. That way you have more control – like ‘normal’ businesses.

  5. I noticed you missed out social media, specifically Twitter, which still remains to be an exellent source of free traffic, especially when you use the right automation software.

  6. Hi Andy,

    I was one of those that really got hit on two of my blogs. I had posts that were rated #1 and now are #746. So far my other blogs have not suffered and I have not been able to figure out why these two were targeted.

    Most of my blogs are basically run the same way, just in different niches. So go figure.

    Thanks for the information, I will double check to make sure I am following the suggestions here.

    Herschel Lawhorn

  7. Grateful Al says:

    The thing I noticed over the weekend was Google seemed to be presenting only about 20 sites, then repeated them for several pages. That seems to be a little better come Sun PM.
    I use Yoast’s Unpersonalized Google Search and Ad Block Plus on Firefox. That may have been why I saw such results?
    Plus, there were some sites that were so poorly written, or nearly empty showing up. Seriously, one in position #3 was just the basic WP setup with nothing, let alone anything related to the search term!
    Is it possilbe they may have gone too far and find they will lose a large portion of their users? Or is it a devious plot to move people to PPC with them who want to get results?

  8. buzz says:

    No mention of your links coming from within spun content? …which WMT specifically mentioned they were targeting!

    Andy Reply:

    I used the same list that many other bloggers are talking about. Yes, there are many blog networks being de-indexed and the whole SEO game is changing… or at least a part of it.

  9. Jon says:

    I believe I was hit by this one because I was on the second page of Google for “hot sauce” and now dropped to around 170. I did not do anything wrong, or so I thought.