Is It Better to Give up and Admit Penguin Won?

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January 23, 2013 by Brian Rock

For the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about reviving my digital photography blog. I’ve mentioned it a few times here. It just kills me that it was on the verge of success, and it was literally killed by Google’s Penguin update.

But after I’ve made a few feeble attempts, it hasn’t gotten any better. As I dug into my Analytics, I actually realized it had gotten worse. And I’m wondering if it’s time to call it quits and maybe just start over completely.

Screenshot of Penguin affected traffic.First, let’s look at the data. These are visits from Google for Digital Photography How To over roughy the past year.

You’ll notice a huge drop around the end of May 2012. That was when Penguin 2 was rolled out. And I don’t see any other explanation but that I was hammered by that. Visits from Google dropped about 80% overnight.

I still got some visits, though, mostly for a few long tail keywords. At the end of September, though, it dropped even further. I didn’t notice this, because by that point I’d really given up. Google traffic dropped about another 80%, and now I get less than 20 visits a day from Google… usually 5 to 10. That’s down from a peak of 700-800 daily.

And now I’ve realized there may be no moving forward. I was reading some stuff this evening, and most webmasters haven’t recovered. And things aren’t looking good for me.

The entire site definitely seems to be penalized still. I published something last month, and it’s ranking 100+. I published something last week, and it’s not even ranking in the top 500. This makes me wonder – what’s the point of editing, revising, and hoping… if in the end nothing is going to work?

I think I might be better off making a brand new site. Not redirecting the domain (and any potentially bad links). Rewriting some of the content, and maybe collecting a few into an eBook. But that’s it.

Just two small problems to consider. One, the site is still bringing in $20 to $25 a month in AdSense revenue. This is based on referral traffic and a little bit of Bing / Yahoo traffic. Do I leave the site up and collect that?

Also, that money is coming from the few remaining visitors I get, 50 to 75 a day. Is it worth redirecting a couple articles, and hoping that those articles individually won’t pass enough bad link juice to jeopardize the site? I mean it would be awesome if I could put up a brand new site and get 25 or 50 visits a day to start with. I can’t edit the sources of that traffic (mostly Yahoo! Voices articles), so if I don’t do a 301 redirect I’ll lose them forever to broken links. /frown

Hmm. Choices, choices. What to do…



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