So a Penguin stole your rankings. What now?
First of all, you aren’t alone. The Internet has been full of posts from individuals who have seen their rankings drop as a result of Google’s latest algorithm update, inauspiciously dubbed “Penguin. While its name sounds gentle enough, Penguin has been getting pretty heavily mixed reviews. Some have lauded Google’s rededication to fighting all things webspam, but just as many other webmasters have lamented about drops in rankings and overall organic traffic.
Take heart, if you feel like Google unfairly impacted your rankings with its latest update, you have several courses of action available.
The most important thing to do is to first confirm that you were indeed negatively affected by the Penguin update. Check your rankings over the last two weeks. If you see a sudden drop off in traffic, there’s a pretty good chance that your site was affected. If your rankings and traffic went up then congrats, you may be one of the sites that received some positive benefit from the update. Once you’ve determined that you were actually victimized by Penguin (insert Batman-related joke here), you have several options to look into.
The first step on the roadmap to recovery is to delete anything on your site that could be misconstrued as spam. If you have duplicate or highly similar content on multiple site pages, change it up. Not only will you be removing what Google views as spam fro your site, you’re also adding new and fresh relevant content to your site, something which Google has made abundantly clear that it takes heavily into account when crawling sites.
The second thing that you can do is to access the Google Webmaster forum and let them know what happened with your site. Be advised however, that Google will probably not be inclined to care too much about your request if you rant and rave about how their animal-themed updates are destroying your site traffic, so try to be polite. Explain to them why you feel you were targeted unfairly (reference factors such as site and content quality to plead your case).
Be sure to keep an eye on your rankings and traffic over the next week or two to ensure that no sudden drops occur, as Google’s update rollouts can sometimes take a while to fully complete.
For more information on what you can do if your site was negatively affected by the most recent Panda or Penguin updates, read what Search Engine Land had to say on the matter.