Who knew a Penguin could be so deadly?
Losing your traffic and search positioning on Google is bad, real bad. Showing up on Bing or Yahoo near the top of search is just sort of cool, but it doesn’t really make much difference to your business. Sure it might make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside seeing you up at the top there, but even competitive terms, year over year, don’t seem to yield much traffic.
Google, on the other hand, makes or breaks your business, regardless of what type of business or service you provide. With good Google rankings, comes lots of traffic, and when you have lots of traffic, you have a business, so you don’t want to see what’s below, but chances are, that is, if you’ve found this post in search, you have already been cursed by the Google Penguin. The following messages are received from Webmaster Tools just before you are about to go out of business from reduced rankings on Google.com – They both indicate that Death is right around the corner, but there are different levels of death and disaster which strike.
Here is the first type of Google Penguin message you’ll receive:
Subject: Google Webmaster Tools notice of detected unnatural links to http://www.yoursiteaddress.com
Dear site owner or webmaster of www.yoursiteaddress.com,We’ve detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes. We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results. If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request. If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support. Sincerely, Google Search Quality Team
Translation: You’re finished; you’ve probably already begun to suffer in search, it’s just going to take a few days to a week before we (Google) completely kill you. We’re going to tank your sites rankings because we’re pretty darn confident you’re buying links. Now, we’re not absolutely certain, but it’s looking really bad, so we’ll first convict you as judge, jury and executioner, and if you’ve got anything to say about it, we’ll allow you to plead your case. It will be a slow but consistent decline until you have little to no traffic left and die. Thanks, Google.
Here is the second type of Google Penguin message you’ll receive:
Subject: http://www.yoursiteaddress.com: Unnatural inbound links
We’ve detected that some of the links pointing to your site are using techniques outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. We don’t want to put any trust in links that are artificial or unnatural. We recommend removing any unnatural links to your site. However, we do realize that some links are outside of your control. As a result, for this specific incident we are taking very targeted action on the unnatural links instead of your site as a whole. If you are able to remove any of the links, please submit a reconsideration request, including the actions that you took. If you have any questions, please visit our Webmaster Help Forum.
Translation: We’re (Google) not too sure at all what is going on here, but there are some links pointing at your site that we just do not like to see. I mean, we don’t know if you know about these links or not, but we’re going to penalize these links that are pointing to you and penalize the single page that these links point to, but we have no idea who’s behind these link efforts and even we feel sort of guilty (believe it or not) in taking action based on our findings, so what we’re going to do here is, we’re just going to tank the rankings that these particular links are giving to the specific target page it points to; but do take notice: We are watching you – very carefully – and if you’re buying links, we’re going to find out and catch you, then, it will be a slow but consistent decline until you have little to no traffic left and die. Thanks, Google.
To Googlers: This is kind of, sort of, a joke; so don’t kill me for it, just chuckle. I like Google Penguin, I do. It will clean up the Internet by getting everyone to clean it up collectively. A necessary evil so to speak.
I agree with Michelle MacPhearson below from www.fromideatoempire.com. She does an excellent job at explaining Penguin in a honest, simple to understand and informative way.
UPDATE 8/7/2012: There has been an update related to this topic. See what Matt Cutts has to say about the differences in these particular messages.