May 072012

“Penguin”, Google’s new search algorithm was launched on April 24, but it didn’t seem to have any effect on this site before the 28th. At first I was worried because the number of my visitors abruptly fell almost 28% on April 28 2012, however, after watching it for over a week I can say it slowly stabilized at about 20-25% daily visitors less than before Penguin. Once again, I wanted to quit blogging and I haven’t written a single post since, but that must have been my “Nancy” side, so here I am, back for now.

I always thought Google would miraculously use The Force to reward good people on the internet and punish evil content spammers, so I expected only improvements on my site. Naive, isn’t it? But although my results were discouraging at first, this doesn’t seem that bad after all. My daily AdSense earnings returned to normal and they don’t seem to have been affected by this move, so the money is still here, big bucks. Dream on, Zarko – this site barely makes enough to buy me a cup of coffee per day. Nevertheless, I’m getting about 1/4 less hits but it seems like they are more relevant (comfort yourself, Zarko). I sincerely hope that someday Google will indeed deliver the final blow to the incredible amount of clutter and search spam we often encounter in our quest for relevant information, but unfortunately that day hasn’t arrived with Penguin. Judging by the rants on the internet, it seems that the algorithm didn’t really harm content spammers.

During the last few years, searching and researching products on the internet has been turning into a growing challenge due to the increasing number of “review” sites of questionable quality and origin where the best review is often given to the product that provides affiliate revenue to the website owner. I’ve done the same with Hostgator web hosting, but only after I’ve been using it for quite some time to find it the best hosting option for me, so my promotion article is actually based on my own case study and my affiliation is not hidden. I’m getting tired of the ever increasing struggle to find good personal case studies with reasonably impartial end user reviews. When I used to attend conferences about technology solutions I used to favor case study sessions done by customer presenters who implemented the solution. I loved asking questions and getting realistic answers and contact information from the birds of the feather, people I can reach out to get some real world answers without a sales pitch.

Even the good old trick I recommend in some of my scam evasion articles, searching for the company or website name followed by the word “scam” doesn’t work well any more because some of the best scammers and money-milkers-get-rich-quickers out there are using this trick to lead visitors away from any scam info. They are often part of a huge network of affiliates who in return build seemingly objective review sites, so I don’t know whom to trust any more.

I’m sure Google had enough from guys who only care about their search engine rankings and neglect content, but in the process they are also punishing the little guys like us who don’t try to cheat the system with fancy SEO techniques on their pages and sites. So it seems that we little guys need a trust, ranking system of the little guys, by the little guys and for the little guys because Google is ranking big guys way much better. Someone coming up with a solution could make some good income on that.

And now, for my fellow internet bloggers and all the new internet tycoons wannabee, let me warn you about the scary pyramid with growing number of internet “gurus” selling recipes how to get rich quick (see my own get-rich-quick article) by selling their money-making schemas and stories, but only if you can find more people to buy their stories and sell them to others. You get the picture – nothing really productive comes out of that.

There are very few exceptions. One of few relevant blogs about blogging that helped me almost every time I ran into it on my Google searches and that I can wholeheartedly recommend to new website and blog owner wannabes is Lisa Irby’s blog and her YouTube video sessions. I’m not her affiliate and I’m far from being your blogging example guru (as I said, I’m only making few bucks a day with my site), but out of all I’ve seen, she has what most others lack, integrity, and a good collection of sound tips and tricks.

In the end, everybody’s dream is to have many tens of thousands of daily visitors, so I too do care about my search engine ranking and visitors, but I’m aware my site has split personality. One side is the player, call it a one minute-stand, serving plethora of one-time visitors with howto articles which seem to be most popular. The other I prefer most is more dedicated to technically savvy audience, with posts too geeky and too long for internet marketing and thus it doesn’t seem to make much money. Everybody recommends writing 400 word articles to build traffic, but I keep slipping far above in my love for techno-babble and preserving my own style. Well this one is approaching 1,000 words and you’re still reading it? My friend, you have impressive focus. You don’t watch much TV programs with commercials, do you? Well, thank you. Someday some search engine will favor me too. Till then, a big thank you to all my visitors, guests and all you unknown friends and most of all, the $1-2 donors who sometimes give me a sense that some things I write are not fruitless mental exercises. We who love the internet and Humanity care more about people, information and things done right, than about our daily visitors and revenue.

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