I think this is of a good place as any to begin my running commentary of Google Penguin. Since it is, well, the beginning.
I read a great post this morning on how to decipher whether your rankings were affected by Google Penguin, Google Panda, both or neither. In general, when I read posts like these, I read and discard. I rarely read and try what someone suggests. Interesting that this morning I gave things a go.
Search Engine Journal (the author of the post) suggested that I find out what affliction of Google affected a few of my website’s rankings. They said that it’s important to know exactly what I’m dealing with here, and once I know, I can treat accordingly. Now mind you, I’ve been treating since April 24 and nothing has happened. If anything, I’ve lost a bit of hair, but regarding website rankings, nothing’s returned. Which is probably annoying me more than anything.
And a disclaimer here might be in order because I’ll tell you that I already knew that I was struck by Penguin. Panda occurred a few days before and a few days after, and I have already given the stats in my Google Webmaster Tools account a daily working. I saw a drop between April 23 and April 25 for certain keywords in certain key phrases. The interesting thing is though, I didn’t have a clear picture of what I was looking at until this morning when I tried the approach suggested by Search Engine Journal.
For a few weeks now, I have been boggled by what seemed like strange statistics in Google Webmaster Tools. I’ve seen my money making keywords tank and then kind of return, but stay low all the while. When there’s a ranking drop, I know it. I’ve been through this before. So this was kind of confusing to me. Let me show you:
Take a look at those images. You’ll notice that the first one doesn’t look too terrible. Something may have gone awry, such as a title or keyword change that needee to get caught up or something. Again, nothing terrible.
Now, take a look at the second image. BAM. when I filter the search query results by “Web,” things become much more clear, which explains why Google Webmaster Tools is telling me that certain keywords are performing successfully, but when I do a Google search for them, they don’t appear. It’s because I’m not searching through Google Image Search, which appears to be affecting me to a lesser extent.
I think it’s clear that I’ve done something to annoy Google though and that’s why I was affected by it’s Penguin update. But it’s also clear that although quite a few people arrive at my websites through Google Image search, they are searching for something other than my money making keywords.
So, what are the takeaways from this article? Well, it’s that I’ve been much less affected by Google Image Search than Google Web Search. Either that, or people who search Google Images, aren’t searching for something to purchase, but simply a picture of the product they’re interested in. They are much less likely to visit a website and make a conversion than a traditional web surfer would.