On October 4 of 2013, Google released the updated version of their algorithm which included their fifth confirmed release of the “Penguin” update. Google called it “Penguin 2.1”. This update was far more punitive than the previous updates and decimated businesses. Some lost everything. They went from having lots of traffic to none overnight within a few hours on a Friday afternoon.
Businesses everywhere live or die by their listing in Google including lawyers, dentists, home renovation companies and even one person house cleaners. Their listing means more leads and more customers. But what happens when Google takes this away from them? Google can control whether a business lives or dies with an algorithm change. Not only does this effect the owners or management of a small business, but the employees as well.
No Way Out For Over a Year
After the “Penguin” update in October of 2013, Google didn’t run the update for over a year. Those businesses that were affected by the update were left wondering what they had to do to recover without any answer from Google. Essentially, they were punished for a year without Google giving them any chance to fix what they did wrong. Some didn’t recover after the update in 2014 because they had no idea what they had to do in order to get out of the penalty. They didn’t take the steps necessary likely because they had no idea what the steps were. It wasn’t like Google gave step-by-step instructions on how to fix it or even some sort of assurance that this would help. We came up with a solution for businesses that came to us after being penalized that helped them recover in as little as 10 days (ask us how if you disappeared – click here). But imagine the thousands of businesses that didn’t have that solution.
Some businesses were forced to buy Google Adwords (pay-per-click) ads in order to be found in search results again so that they could acquire new leads. This can be incredibly expensive if you consider that keywords like “dui lawyer phoenix” cost as much as $190 per click. No wonder Google’s ad revenue in 2013 was over 50 billion US dollars. They hypocrisy is that Google tells us that businesses shouldn’t buy links to get on the first page of their search results yet Google sells those links each day.
Negative SEO – Thanks Google
This punitive strategy has also spawned negative SEO. Now your listing on the first page of Google’s search results can disappear because of strategies that someone else is doing to you. That means that someone can partake in activities that will have your site’s rankings drop or have your site vanish from search results. Don’t be fooled to think that it’s only somebody in a dark room at their computer creating links from bad sites to link at your site. There are companies partaking in negative SEO to hurt their competitors. I can confirm that it’s a fact as we have and are being attacked by negative SEO. (I’ll have more about this in a future post.)
Taking a Stand
Google has been making changes to their algorithm and search results pages for the past three years in order to aggressively attack websites that don’t conform to their standards. Now there is somebody trying to do something about this. Josh Bachynski, a well known SEO expert who writes about ethics and SEO is making a documentary to show Google’s treatment of these small businesses and how they have affected people’s lives. He’s created a teaser video (below) and also wrote an outstanding long post questioning Google’s ethics (or lack there of) at The Moral Concept. As Josh states in his teaser video:
“There is a war between websites and search engines. Between democracy and monopoly. Between Google and you.”
Josh is looking for businesses affected by the Google algorithm updates and would like to hear from them in order to make his documentary. We can stop Google and hold them to their motto of “don’t be evil.”
For more information about Josh’s documentary and contributing, visit “Don’t Be Evil, the Documentary.”