Penguin represents the latest change to Google’s search engine algorithm. While not as significant as last year’s Panda, it came with major implications that impacted quite a few sites. Was your website affected? Are you sure? Here are some ways you can find out and be absolutely positive.
Check Your Data
The first place you check for changes that may be associated with Google Penguin is your analytics software. We know that the update was officially rolled out on April 24, so you specifically want to track activity after this date. If Google Analytics is your tracking tool of choice, the Visitor Overview area is where you will likely find your answer. So for example, if this section tells you that your traffic went from an average of 400 to 500 visits per day before the update and 100 to 300 following, there is probably a good chance that you were a victim.
According to Google, Penguin was all about penalizing websites guilty of “over-optimizing”, and in the process, rewarding those following the company’s recommended SEO practices. One area it focused on was linking, so if some of your backlinks are connected to sites doing bad, you could suffer from their evil deeds. Luckily, there are a number of tools you can use to check up ln your backlinks, including Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. Not to be confused with Yahoo’s tool of the same name, the Ahrefs version of Site Explorer provides in-depth analysis of backlinks so you can really access the quality of your link building strategy. At the basic level, it shows you how many links you have, which of course, is the first step.
Look Into Impressions
In the world of advertising, impressions tell us how many times our ads were viewed by users. But they are not limited to advertising. Impressions also tell us how many times our pages were displayed in the search results. You can find out about search impressions by using a number of applications, but Google Webmaster Tools happens to be a free option that works pretty well. With this one it’s pretty simple. If you notice that your website suffered a huge dip in impressions on or after April 24, you were probably one of the unlucky ones to be penalized by Penguin. Considering how they deal directly with search results, looking into impressions is arguably the most reliable way to tell if you were affected.
When it comes to search engine updates, the last thing you want to do is rush to judgement and start making radical changes under the assumption that your website has been hit. Before making any moves, you should gather the necessary data, and thoroughly analyze the information at hand. Acting too fast could cause you to make changes that are unwarranted and do more harm than good.
Francis Santos is a writer for Benchmark Email, an email marketing software company.