Seriously. No recovery. Ever. There has been some discussion lately inside and outside the WebmasterWorld of the eventual possibility that no one will recover from Penguin. There will be no mass recovery and you will never get your rankings back from a year ago. Not to sound like the bearer of bad SEO news but after such a long demotion the reality of the situation is starting to set in for many people. There will be no recovery.
It's been one-year since the original Penguin update. To date there have only been a few questionable Penguin recoveries and most of those have been pointed to as brand favoritism by Google. Of the many webmasters affected many have gone to extreme lengths to fix the mountains of "possible" issues in an effort to recover. However most if not all of the fixes haven't done anything at all.
As many report in WebmasterWorld, the fixes have actually done more harm than good. An observable trend has taken place with those affected by Penguin. It has been the gradual decline of traffic that resembles a "flat-line" appearance in the analytics. You could throw 1000 of the best authoritative .edu links to your website and it might not even move the traffic needle a fraction.
So what does this mean if no one recovers? Has Google even created a way to recover from this algorithm? If not, then why? If there is not a way to recover and it's a sure-fire death sentence then what's next? Are their any factors creating movement in the SERP's even if you have been impacted by Penguin?
According to tedster in the WebmasterWorld he believes those sites that have invested in conversion optimization have fared the best post-Penguin.
However, there are a few hit sites that have recovered - definitely not many, and especially not e-commerce. The successful approaches I know about always seem to include a focus on conversion optimization rather than traditional SEO methods. Focusing on the user experience with a strong value-add for the visitor seems to make a big difference.
I would agree with him to a point. If you have no traffic to begin with how is improving conversion going to make much of a difference. As another user in the WebmasterWorld thread points out he has been improving conversion for a whole year and nothing has made much of a difference. So does conversion optimization make any difference? Is it possible to recover?
Note from Barry: Obviously, the only way to recover from any algorithmic update is to make changes that satisfy the algorithm and then wait for Google to re-run the algorithm. The issue here is it is hard to know exactly what changes to make since there have been so few algorithm updates with Penguin. The last one we had was on October 5th - so over a half a year ago. We are expecting a new update this year, a big one, but who knows when.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld