Groupon.com saw an 82% ranking drop in the wake of Google rolling out its Penguin 3 update according to LinkResearchTools. It sits in the company of findaproperty.com, which also fell prey to the search giant’s results pages reshuffle with a -90% change.
Internet marketing consultant, Christoph Cemper, points to Groupon’s link building activities as the main culprit. “They increased their link growth from 350k to more than 9,5 Million,” he said. “That’s really unnatural and might be the main reason for the punishment.”
The findings are part of LinkResearchTools’ research into the effects of Google Penguin, which you can read more about in A4u's Performance Marketing Guide 2013. The UK-specific report lists the top 50 winners and losers from the search update. It also provides advice on how to negotiate a drop penalty.
findaproperty.com drops in SERPs
As for findaproperty.com, Google could be punishing the site for cloaking since its merger with Zoopla earlier this year. The commercial sales and lettings listings website now redirects to Zoopla’s domain and may have tumbled by as much as 77% because of it.
Penguin is the codename Google has given to its series of algorithm updates that target websites in violation of the company’s Webmaster Guidelines. Some of the more well-known methods sites use include black-hat SEO, keyword stuffing, link schemes and duplicate content.
The algorithm updates Google rolls out aren’t completely perfect and the company knows this. Website owners have the option to contest any drop imposed by Google that they deem to be unfair by using its feedback form.
.net discovers content isn't necessarily king
Duplicate content always incurs Penguin’s wrath, but it’s unclear if this was the cause for Groupon’s pummeling. If it was, then online internet news site, .net’s, drop is a peculiarity. It bore the brunt of a 65% slump in Google’s SERPs.
Cemper disagrees, though, and instead feels it’s because of a decrease in link building activity. “The punishment might result from drastic reductions in link building,” he explained. “In addition also the link volume in general is heavily reduced.”
LinkResearchTools’ report noted that especially old domains were targeted by Penguin 3. It also found domain strength to be decisive and those who came out unscathed have a high quality link profile. The company underlined the importance of quality over quantity when building links.