Your SBI site & Google Penguin - What happened?
I decided to start this thread to ask any SBIers (or Ex-SBIers) what happened to their SBI site during and after 24 April 2012.
... If my memory serves my right, this is the day that Google rolled out it's Penguin algo update, for the first time.
My site (along with some Non-SBI sites) took a beating, and never really recovered. I remember at the time, SBIers who were hit were pulling their hair out in the SBI forum. Ken was trying to analyze sites that were effected, presumably to create some type of Penguin Self-audit.
... There was also going to be some type of Tool called "Link Blast-It!". I remember the thread asking people to suggest a name for the proposed tool. There were lots of suggestions... Link destroy-it, Link bust-it, etc. Tho I think my subscription ran out before I saw this turn into a tool, so I never knew what happened.
On the 24 Apr '12, in G.WMTools I could see that the "Web only" traffic of my SBI site, had dropped from about 1,500 to 500. It should be noted that I've never had a warning message in my G.WMTools.
... Also, later on the 28 Sep '12, the "Web only" traffic dropped from about 400 to just barely above 0.
I understand that Penguin was meant to punish sites with an un-natural backlink profile (or at least I assume that's what it was for). When building my links, I tried to follow the SBI linking checklist, and also read the SBI ebook MYLW (make your links work). As for the other SBI teachings, I followed them very carefully - and was never hit by a (Pre-Penguin) Google Panda update.
... Tho somewhere along the road, I must have done something that Google just didn't like.
I recall the SBI teachings of encouraging it's users to try to get accepted in a large directory "dmoz.org", and some other directory recommendations, like getting into the Yahoo Directory (which wasn't Free). As my attempts to get into these big old free directories weren't successful, I turned to a directory auto-submit service "Directory Maximizer", that was recommended by a different internet marketing service. I don't recall any of the SBI info warning against it, and when I asked in the SBI forum - my questions seemed to fall on deaf ears... so I went for it, to get into lots of directories.
Most of the backlinks I built myself were posting blog comments on sites with the same or very similar niche.
... I don't know what it was for sure, but something must have gone wrong.
I don't want to just blame SBI... certainly not without knowing what caused my site's G. ranking to die off.
I am happy to accept if my site's ranking drop was my own fault, and learn from my mistakes... but the real trouble is... I just don't know for sure...
... Because of this, as it has been well over a year since the Penguin hit, I would be grateful if you could share your opinions about why you think my site might have failed... and I would also be very grateful if you could please share you SBI Penguin story (or perhaps just your Penguin story).
• Did your site make it thru without a scratch, and if so, why do you think this happened?
• Or did your site get hit by the Penguin, and if so...
... why do you think this happened?
... and were you ever able to recover?
I remember the "Link Disavow" tool that Google launched, so that webmasters could disavow any links they didn't like pointing to their sites. Tho I don't know whether this was no more than a self incrimination tool. I only used on 1 site, and not my SBI site. I never saw any change thereafter.
I know that a Post-mortem involves looking back, and not reminiscing life's glorious sunsets, but I'd like to understand this a little better, to ensure major mistakes aren't repeated.
Thank you for your patient reading... and I'd welcome any feedback, from SBIers or Non-SBIers.
Note: I've searched this part of the forum for a similar thread, but can't seem to find what I'm looking for, so decided to post this. If a thread like this already exists, apologies for going over well trodden ground.
Thanks for posting, and for your offer. I didn't really keep up to date with the algo changes after Penguin. I think because people (along with myself) were seeking guidance in the SBI forums and waiting for some type of solution.
... Also, after my sites got hit, I'm afraid there wasn't much traffic to analyze. And as for the domain I used for my SBI site, it is currently dead, so has no traffic or web-page content to look at... tho I do have some old G.WMTools data which might shed some light on things.
I will send you a message thru your profile CP.
Thanks for your email Toby, I only work in getting existing sites back into Google, so the ship has sailed so it seems All the best
No probs, thanks anyway Steve.
... Just out of interest, do you find that mass directory submission services where the cause (or one of the causes) of sites getting hit by the Penguin? ... and if so, where you able to help these sites shed their links, and recover their traffic?
It's usually a number of problems. When I first started my site I had 3 levels of Question and answer, each a different price and a different response speed. I offered a 28 day response for free and I got absolutely bombarded, I mean like too many enquiries to handle, so I quickly put a cap on that and had 2 levels of a paid only service. Everyone then always went for the higher cost faster reply service, so I dropped the lower cost service and stuck with a single price.
The thing with that was that even when people were contacting me they didn't know the problem and often the problem was not as staight forward as you have done this wrong, fix it and all your Google traffic will return. So then I began doing site audits and have been doing those ever since. For some customers these may be beyond their budget, but my main customer base is small businesses who will happily pay for my services because they know I can help them.
So why have I written all the above? Well I hope in not answering your question you can see I have answered it - there are hundreds of reasons why these problems happen and often it takes someone to go over everything and eliminate the obvious. There was one site where I got them back on the front page of Google and they came back to me a couple of months later as they had been dropped again - turns out they had purchased loads of cheap links after all the problems had been fixed!!
I guess it can get complicated, comparing affected sites... from what you're saying it seems like no 2 are the same (or rarely the same).
Just out of interest were mass directory submission services like Directory Maximizer ever the cause of Penguin-hit sites you came across?
No, they aren't the same, which I think is why people get so frustrated trying to get back into Google as if you haven't followed and read every single little thing Google have done it can be hard to guess.
I had someone last week that had paid for a thousand links for a keyword and when I asked where they were from he didn't know - no one has ever mentioned Directory Maximizer to me though.
Still trying to figure out the impacts of Google's Penguin-My take on things
Originally Posted by Toby
Hum....your experiences with SBI / Google's Penguin and Panda all sound too familiar. Like you, my site took a huge hit and I have yet to recover. It went from around 4000 visits per month to now about 780 or so. And my earning from Adsense have tanked as well.....not that they were anything to brag about.
I thought I followed SBI's Action Guide to the letter when building the site, but still things just went south and I was lost about the reasons. However, since then I've put together some thoughts of my own based on what I have experienced and what a friend of mine who works for Google told me.
Google doesn't like some of the coding SBI templates have; particularly code the user has no control over and works behind the scenes. It's things like meta tags, etc that should be placed before the headline of the home page. Consequently, I think those who use software like Dreamweaver seem fair a little better since meta tags can be entered without any difficulty. I'm sure some folks will disagree with this part of this post.
SBI encouraged link building throughout all it's materials and so have some of the experts SBI has in its forum. Apparently, Google dislikes the methodology encouraged by SBI. I have a links page and anchor text for reciprocal links throughout my site and I'm pretty sure this is one of the reasons why my site has tanked in traffic. Google apparently wants naturally developed links going to a site. So I wonder if I should eliminate the links page that will probably create some ill will with folks who have been willing to exchange links?
In a nutshell, to correct the reasons for the decreased traffic will be an arduous task since I have over 100 pages of content. And to be quite honest, I just don't feel like doing all of that work because I've become discouraged because of the impacts of Penguin. My guess is there are probably hundreds of others in a similar situation with their SBI Sites.
And finally, I don't think SBI quite has a handle one what really hit member sites. Even though it's been a year since the Penguin hit, I feel the folks at SBI are still pretty lost on what to really do. There are tweaks almost daily to the Penguin algo and it's almost impossible for anyone outside of Google to know what they are and how they'll impact web sites. Since Penguin came out, over 532 tweaks have been made to the algo. In short, as web site owners, we are constantly aiming at a moving target. And if we hit the bulls eye, we did it out of luck that will be short lived.
Just my $0.00000000000000000000000002 worth of opinion.
Thanks for posting. Your $0.00000000000000000000000002 is worthy in my currency.
Interesting to hear that there's still so much head-scratching still going on. Are you still a user of the SBI forum? I haven't been able to access that for a while now.
I get the impression that the days of... building unique content around nice juicy keywords, and expecting Google to rank you... are kind of over. Tho please do correct me if I'm wrong.
I guess sites that still do that might have some success, but my feeling is the new era is a bit like this:
... You need to stimulate human activity around your site (without the aid of the Search Engines), and then Mother Google arrives late at the table - and sees what lovely work you've done, with all that traffic from human activity you've generated (past tense), and then she starts to reward you by placing your site in her SERPs somewhere.
When in the old days, it could be a bit more like this:
... You do your keyword research and build unique content incorporating the keywords. Your content is free and is designed to pre-sell to your visitors. Google finds your site and sees that the content is unique, takes note of the keywords, and the link situation, and ranks you accordingly... so that then folks can find you, and then your pre-selling content can start to impress your visitors.
However, there are SEO people who claim to be able to help sites recover from Penguin, and as SEO guys - they are focusing on the Science (technical stuff) rather than the Art (how you speak to your visitors). So, there still may be technical solutions - tho at the time of writing, I don't know what they are.
... this is just my feeling based on the algo changes over the last year and a half.
I think Steve (stfore1984) who posted earlier in the thread, might have experienced some success in doing this. He might be able to help you.
Anyway, Good luck to you
Last edited by Toby; 08-29-2013 at 02:42 PM.
Reason: re-write sentence
Have you guys spent any time in the TNT section inside of Site Central? There are so many wonderful articles on using Facebook and Pinterest. I think there should be much more emphasis placed on that in the forums than trying to get Google to love you again.
I featured an SBI! owner on my site earlier this year and he is driving a ton of traffic to his site by engaging his FB fans. His page is very active and he does a good job with it. https://www.facebook.com/DadsGuidetoWDW Follow his page and watch how he uses it.
The people who are doing well today whether they use SBI! or WordPress are the ones who are forgetting about Google and learning how to use other things like social media. And what's funny as a result of getting "social proof" they are earning the rankings.
Last week I got an email from an SBIer who has a site on teaching and is doing very well. I wish she had left her site address but she is driving 80% of her traffic from Pinterest and Facebook. The Google traffic she does have came as a result of some of her articles getting "likes" and social proof. So instead of building her site for Google, she built her site for people and as a result, the social proof helped her rank. She said this page really helped her with FB engagement... http://sbitips.sitesell.com/#FACEBOOK (must be a member to see)
I think the best strategy today is to NOT really focus on Google and learn to build relationships with people.
But definitely check out that TNT section inside Site Central and read the "Social Media" sub category. There are a lot of great articles on social media tips and strategies.
Without any doubt, social media is the way to build traffic. I have learned that in the past few weeks, though a hard lesson to learn. Google+ seems to be another way to build credibility and traffic. Both Facebook and Google+ will require lots of daily postings to build traffic over a period of several months.
From my perspective, Facebook seems to be the best option to use. Whereas, twitter seems to be a more gossipy forum and I just haven't seen any good use for it at this time. I'm not saying it's no good, I just haven't seen what advantage it can provide at this time and just haven't seen much that I like.
Thanks for posting the SBI links about Facebook and Pinterest marketing. I have to admit that I still don't really know how to fully utilize these two services for marketing purposes. I will have to delve inside and have a read.
Q: Regarding Facebook and Google+, do you recommend setting up 2 different accounts, one for personal and one for biz?
... I recall something that an internet marketer said about FB, tho the recording was a few years ago now, his problem with FB (at the time) was that you couldn't keep personal stuff away from biz stuff (split the account into 2 profiles).
As for Twitter, I have heard it described as a useful place to contact someone, rather than promoting your services.
As for Google+, how many people are using this service, compared to FB and Pinterest?
Thanks for reading
I'm probably the last person you want to ask about Facebook and Google+ since I am relatively new to both. It would be the blind leading the blind in this instance.
But, I can provide you a little direction on where to find materials that will answer your question(s). First, go to the HOME page of Websitebabble and then go to the "Creating Forums & Social Networking/Media Sites" topic. Look at the 2nd post titled "How to use facebook properly in internet marketing!!" The fellow who wrote the first posting under this topic provides some good information on how to setup Facebook.
As for Google+, I would suggest doing a search of the Websitebabble site using the term "google+". There are numerous postings on the topic and I'm pretty sure you will find your answer there.
As a followup- I suggest subscribing to "Copyblogger" to get more great information on social media marketing, content writing, etc. Subscribing is free and you can get several free ebooks that provide very helpful information. Since I am a newbie to this forum, I am not allowed to provide the URL to the site. So type "Copyblogger" + .com in your browser to go there or just do a Google search for Copyblogger.
Once you subscribe, you'll get daily tips via email on how to market your business, write content, use social media, etc. It's worthwhile to subscribe if you're really serious about your online presence.