Google Panda Tragedy Case Does Not Blame Google

Oct 24, 2011 • 8:59 am | comments (11) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google MoneyI've exhaustively covered the Google Panda changes since February through the eyes of the webmaster.

99% of the time, I echo the feelings demonstrated in the forums and as you can imagine, the fault always is on Google and not the webmaster. They blame Google for their site being downgraded in Google. They blame Google for their money issues. They blame Google for their family issues.

The truth is, Google is that dominant where it can make or break businesses and people.

But is Google to blame for striving to make their search results better?

A WebmasterWorld thread tells a sad but strong story of one 10+ year old webmaster who made his living off of free Google results and then all of a sudden, lost most of it because of the Panda update.

Who does he blame? Himself.

He ends his story saying:

I watch people complaining that they have families to feed and a mortgage to pay so how could this happen to me? Well, ya know what? You have nobody to blame but yourself. It was FREE money and it ended. You allowed it to begin and to end just as I did.

I apologize if this seems harsh, but sometimes a smack in the face is more helpful then a sympathetic pat on the back.

Our next business will not depend on any search engines to be successful. It'll be our hard work that either makes or breaks the business, not some damn algorithm. So goodbye Google and like Douglas Adams, said - So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish, or in this case, money.

You may disagree with him but it is important for me to not just rant at Google for the "issues" Panda has caused them. I need and should highlight threads, no matter how rare they are, of the opposing view.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Image from Zelfit/Shutterstock.

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Ian Williams

10/24/2011 01:19 pm

Google is a stakeholder and it makes perfect business sense to not be overly dependant on any single stakeholder - much less a stakeholder that is not at all dependant on yourself. To be dependant so much on one source - and to not diversify! - is poor business. I feel for the individuals but we cannot control Google. We can only control ourselves and our actions and as such its far more beneficial to take responsibility than it is to cast blame.

Erik Dafforn

10/24/2011 01:28 pm

The funny thing here is that I read your post and thought the webmaster himself was 10 years old. When I realized he was an adult it was still interesting, but he no longer got points for being a such a wise child :)


10/24/2011 03:49 pm

I lost around $250,000-$300,000 per year because of the Google Florida update, which was 2003. Had it continued, we're looking at well over two million dollars since, before taxes.  It sucked, but that December (Florida hit mid November) was still my best month ever up till that point. Because I had diversified. My affiliate marketing revenue took a nose dive, but my ecommerce revenue took a rocket to the moon.  Panda hasn't affected me at all, or if anything it helped because it took away some competition, but I still remember that Florida update. The lesson is to diversify. Diversify your traffic as much as possible, add community features if possible to keep people coming back once you have them. So you still have something even if Google banned you. Diversify your revenue across different sites in the same vein. Have more than one content site, more than one affiliate marketing driven site, more than one ecommerce site. And yes, diversify across business types.  Do not put all your eggs in one basket. Do all of that, and save, and invest. I live significantly below my means, but I invest and save a ton of money, doing so over the years allowed me to reinvest in the business at strategic times, allowing myself to diversify further into manufacturing. Manufacturing a unique (IP protected) product is the ultimate insulator. Even ecommerce is vulnerable to price competition from cut throat competitors on ebay or whatnot. Especially when the "me-too" crowd catches on to your niche. But if you manufacture unique products, you're insulated from all that.  Still, I always worry that I'll wake up one day and find out that Google has penalized one of my content sites (though, as the years pass, I grow less worried, I have some sites that have been in the top of the SERPs for a decade, through all the changes, I really doubt those sites are going anywhere unless they get hacked or something). Or I worry they come out with something that makes one of my sites irrelevant. So I diversify, and I save, and I invest, and I am very wealthy because of it.  If you're standing on a one legged stool, you shouldn't be living month to month, don't assume the money or traffic will be there forever. 


10/24/2011 05:51 pm

Barry travelin-cat had a spam site bargaintravel/com, that's why he feels lucky to have have scammed Google. Read comments by the end of the long thread where I posted, it's not free traffic. Google gets paid tens of billions for the 'free traffic' it sends to us.


10/24/2011 05:56 pm

"They blame Google for their site being downgraded in Google. They blame Google for their money issues. They blame Google for their family issues." I blame Google if the changed results to make more money on ads.


10/24/2011 07:48 pm

While I agree that Google shouldn't be held responsible just because someone lost their business which was mostly dependent on search traffic, what I truly find hard to digest is the advocators of "free traffic". Google is what they are because of the sites in their index.  To say that webmasters are like leeches because they are sent "free traffic" and then they complain when their rankings tank implies it is only a one way road, but that is so not the case, without websites Google would be nothing more than a glorified advertising engine.  It is a symbiotic relationship.  


10/24/2011 08:20 pm

Of course it makes sense to diversify, and there should always be a plan "B" for customer acquisition that makes sense for your business.  That said, imagine impact on a retail store that relies on traffic from a freeway and all of a sudden the freeway exit is not simply shut down, but also re-routed to your competitions location.  Is Google accountable for bringing traffic to your site? No. Is Google benefiting from online business that prospers thanks for the traffic they bring? Of course. Happier consumers, bigger ad budgets.  War against spam makes sense and is necessary, but I think that communication with actual companies and corporations that are being penalized, caught up in these updates has been non-existent. I know for a fact that companies would pay good money simply for intelligence on why the site is penalized. Most scammers would simply not bother to get a manual review for the fear of being figured out. 


10/24/2011 09:11 pm

Travelin' Cat used to post spam articles with Last Minute Travel links all over the internet, buy links, spam forums without doing real work. That is why real site operators are mad at his stupid boast, he had a spam site so money was free to him. Others work every day.

Justin Howley

10/24/2011 09:37 pm

You have to rely on yourself, word of mouth, building solid business relationships. Google should be a secondary resource of leads, not converted sales. 


10/24/2011 10:11 pm

1o Year old baby says goodbye to google. Well, baby, farewell to you too. If you are not on Google you are a loser, period.


10/24/2011 11:33 pm

Very well said Chris :) thx

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