Analytics, Blogging, Blogging Podcast, Traffic Generation

085 Five Ways To Prepare For The Google Penguin Update and Not Get Pimp Slapped

By Leslie Samuel

I don't care what you are doing online, you want Google to be your friend. No, seriously – you do.

Listen to This Episode

Why? Simple – because they can send you A LOT of traffic. Trust me – I know. Google is the #1 source of traffic for my Biology Website, and I'm not complaining. Just look at this graph:

Yes, that's almost 20,000 visits from the search engines in 1 month, and yes my search engine traffic is probably around 95% Google (didn't do the exact calculations, but that's close to accurate).

And yet, for many “internet marketers” out there, this can be a scary thing. Why? They try all kinds of “clever tricks” for ranking well in Google, and from one day to the next, Google can make an algorithm change that takes their blog/website/online presence from 60 to 0 in 2.5 seconds.

In fact, in a recent talk at SES San Francisco, Matt Cutts, head of Google's Web Spam team warns SEO experts about the next update by saying: “You don’t want the next Penguin update, the engineers have been working hard” and that, “The updates are going the be jarring and julting for a while”.

According to 1 report, over 250 Million websites have been affected by the penguin update.

In a poll done by Search Engine Roundtable with 1000 responses, 65% of them responded that they were hurt by the Penguin update.

What does that mean for the blogosphere?

No – Forget that. What does it mean for YOU? Yes, YOU who are just getting started with your blog, and YOU who have been working on your blog for a while? That's exactly what this episode is about.

So don't get PIMP slapped by Google 😉


  1. Hi Leslie, it’s very sad to hear that many poeples businesses are affected by the penguin udates. Have you red market samurai’s review on this topic yet? They propose even more steps to take to be safe from the penguin updates. It looks like our penguin, as cute as it looks, is going to play a major role in our internet business. But I think you right with the 5 points you mention, as long as everything, or almost everything, is done in a natural way, we’ll be alright. Maybe you should ask Yaro and Gideon to consider putting it in your become a blogger premium course as module no.10. Speak to you later, Hans

    1. Hi Hans,

      Yes – I have seen what Market Samurai had to say. However, they come at it from a more technical standpoint, with the idea that people have been using Market Samurai to almost “game the system”. So they have to account for many more details.

      Since I’ve never taught people to game the system, I don’t think I need to go through all those details 😉

      In terms of it being in the premium course, it’s actually almost all there, except for the social part. I will be working on a Social Media module pretty soon, so stay tuned. Besides that, that’s why I do this podcast – to provide additional tips 🙂

  2. Hi Leslie,
    First, I have a question about the Penguin update. Pat Flynn pushes the the concept of article spinning pretty hard. Is that the sort of thing you mean by “gaming the system”? I’m not really excited about doing it the way Pat describes because it just seems so contrived but I felt like you kinda hafta do it because everyone else does. Also, if I can watch a video about article spinning for SEO so can the guys at Google; it makes for an easy target. So a crack down on that might be inevitable and a good thing.

    Second, Homework for Professor Leslie 🙂 I haven’t got your exact instructions written down here so I apologize in advance if I missed the point . . . Anyway, The kind of content I want to include for subscribers is a set of templates and examples for grant applications for various types of foundations and agencies. When I did my original keyword phrase research in Market Samurai a few days ago I found that some of the best, low competition keywords for grant writing are for templates, samples and examples. I don’t think you could seriously charge people for this kind of content but it could add something to encourage people to subscribe.

    Geoff Craig

    1. Before I answer your question, let me say this. Of all the marketers I’ve met online, Pat Flynn is at the top of the list of marketers I respect. He’s a great, honest guy and I like how he does business. However, I have intentionally stayed away from the article spinning strategies he suggests for the exact reasons I mentioned in this podcast. I don’t believe that it’s dishonest at all. It’s knowing what works (at least what has worked) and then using strategies for ranking quickly. Although there’s nothing “Wrong” with it, I did foresee these changes happening.

      I’d be interested to see how it affects his sites long term. I know for sure that one thing that sets his sites apart from many other “niche sites” is that he has spent a lot of energy focusing on providing value.

      Now, for your homework – great job man! Glad to see you taking action. It sounds like a great idea, especially if it’s something that low competition and high # of searches. Sounds like a winner. In terms of charging – you’d be surprised at what you can charge people for. If you can provide enough value, you can charge, especially if you’ve built an authority site.

      All the best!

  3. Hey Leslie – this is a fantastic episode. To answer the question, the main way that I hope to provide value is by basically baring my soul and sharing my own life experience. Several years ago, I decided to stop dieting and was able to rediscover my true appetite and also lose some weight along the way. I want to reach out to others out there who struggle with body image obsession and the guilt and shame that yo-yo dieting causes.

    I’m really glad you asked this question because it helped put things in perspective for me. It made me realize that the biggest obstacle for me in getting started has been the personal, sensitive nature of this subject, but that that can also ultimately be what provides the most value to readers.

    1. Wow Jennie,

      That’s just awesome. You are so right – sharing the personal and sensitive stuff can really provide value to your readers. It’s all about being real. That’s exactly what people want!

      I love the name of your blog – “Hand Picks Up Fork”. That’s so cool 🙂

    2. Thanks Leslie – I’m really glad you like the name! That was a tough decision, but I finally decided to go with it, and I’m happy with it. 🙂

  4. Hey Leslie,
    I’ve been enjoying listening to your podcasts thanks to my beautiful wife.

    As for my blog, I’ve been trying to use my own passion and love of soccer and be able to spread this other people. I’d like to bring more people in to a great sport that is very exciting and try to build a community around my blog. Soccer is such an international sport that I’m hoping to be able to build from American fans into the global community.

    I’m hoping that my own enthusiasm and insight into the sport will be able to encourage others to get involved and find their own team to support as well. I do like to think that my own opinions and insight are valuable to those reading my blog.

    1. That’s awesome Todd,

      There are so many passionate soccer fans out there and I think that you can definitely do well with it as you get your blog going. Awesome stuff. Keep your enthusiasm for the sport and let that shine through in your blog and you’d be surprised at what can happen.

  5. Pat will the making a niche site tutorial you have still apply with the penguin update? Will you do things differently now when creating a niche site?

  6. I was driving when I listened to this podcast and I was not able to take notes. As soon as I got home I listened to the podcast again with pen and paper. I followed your advice about the XML sitemap. I still do not know much about SEO, but for the moment, I am happy to follow your advice. Thanks again.

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