Every second request for help I see from business owners wondering why Google has dropped their site from the search results (and killing their Web traffic) is how to fix the damage done by the "SEO company" they hired.
It's not uncommon for genuine businesses to have to lay off staff or even shut their doors entirely as a result of a Google penalty cutting off a significant portion of their income (derived from organic search traffic).
Google's attitude is that they were caught using Web spam to artificially increase their rankings, and they are within their rights to penalize them indefinitely.
Now, I hate spam as much as the next person, and normally I would be cheering Google on - except that I don't think it is constructive for small businesses to be going under because they hired bad SEO experts.
The penguin algorithm, launched in April 2012, is designed to penalize websites engaged in link spam. It's backfired though, and here's why...
Google's famous PageRank algorithm takes into account over 200 factors when ranking webpages for their search results. But, at heart, it works by equating the number and authority of inbound links with overall quality.
So effective is PageRank, that the vast majority of Internet users who make use of Google search are very happy with it - and this has helped propel Google to state of absolute dominance virtually planet wide.
Think of the Internet economy as a farmer’s field full of little green plants. Each plant represents a business, and the stuff that makes them grow is traffic (just like rain makes real plants grow).
Now, imagine that in between the rain clouds and our fledgling plants, there is a huge funnel that collects the rain and pours it over the field. Let’s call this funnel Google.
Google’s job is to make sure that all the sprouts get a fair share of water (provided they are of good quality), and that any weeds that are harmful to the ecosystem aren’t watered. All day long Google funnels rain onto various different plants in order to help them grow.
Almost everyone with a blog or website, at some stage, is going to want to learn how to increase website traffic from search results.
So how do you go about it?
Well, the likely thing is to search on Google using the phrase (or something very similar) "increase website traffic".
But oddly enough, this very SEO phrase highlights the failure of Google to determine which results are of high quality (and should therefore appear at the top of search results), and which are of poor quality (and should not appear high up in the page rankings).
Webmasters, bloggers and anyone else trying to make a living off the Internet, and in particular, Web traffic generated Google search, will understand how enraging it can be.
From time to time, Google release algorithmic updates, data refreshes, or completely new search engine algorithms to combat various blackhat SEO and webspam techniques.
On occasion, hard working, genuine bloggers and entrepreneurs get caught in the cross-fire, and having the source of your livelihood pulled from under you, like the proverbial rug, can lead to some explosive tirades in the forums.