Google Admits Ranking Will Get Easier for Small Businesses But Here’s a Warning

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Google Launches a Friendlier Panda

A couple of weeks ago Google rolled out the softer side of Panda (widely known as Panda 4.0) and many sites that had been impacted in the past saw complete or partial traffic recoveries.

Panda 4.0 was one of the biggest algorithm updates in a long time and, according to Matt Cutts, will lay the groundwork for future releases and make it easier for smaller businesses to rank.

My site saw a 20% increase in organic traffic, and I’ve read more recovery stories than I have in a long time.

So, did Google realize they had gone too far with the updates or was this part of the plan all along?  I guess we’ll never know, huh?

The Dark Side of The Update

Here’s one thing you have to watch out for.

Some SEO companies are now claiming that their services will help you recover or get more traffic.

They are being deceptive by sending screenshots showing the traffic spike after the Panda 4.0 release. I’ve received a few of these emails.  Here’s one that I want to share…

Dear Lisa,

I was wondering if you could give my company a quick shout out and share our SEO services on your blog and other properties.

After months of hard work for our clients, including on-page optimization and removing countless low quality inbound links, Google has rewarded 10 of our clients with a complete or partial organic traffic recovery during the last Panda update.  (Screenshots included.)

We’d love it if you’d give us a shout on your blog. Our prices are very competitive.  


Notice anything strange about that email?  Well, there’s a big problem in this sentence…

After months of hard work for our clients, including on-page optimization and removing countless low quality inbound links

Anyone who wants to be seen as a credible SEO service should know that Panda is not about penalizing for links. Panda looks more at on-page criteria like site freshness, keyword over-optimization, etc.

The Penguin updates are more about links.

So not only did removing links probably have minimal or no impact at all, but there is no way this company can prove that their work was fruitful given all the recovery stories with this update.

Their clients may have had an increase without any changes at all.  That’s what happened with my site.

So they’re taking advantage of people who know very little about what’s going on in the industry to drum up business.

Be careful!

While there are some reputable SEO services out there, many of them prey on people’s lack of search engine optimization knowledge to make more money.

That’s why I’m always a fan of learning the basics of search engine optimization on your own because knowledge is your best weapon against getting scammed.

So how did you fare with the Panda 4.0 update?

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  1. says

    Hi Lisa,

    Well, I don`t really have a question or a comment, I guess. Just more of a defeated whine! I got nailed by something, and lost 40% of my google traffic, but also my yahoo, aol, ask, etc. I have not recovered, and unfortunately, I only have a 2-3 month window for business, each year, and I think this year is going to be a bust.

    Obviously there is much of your advice I need to heed…diversifying for one, and adding additional income streams. Also, I have been building my email list for 4 years now and still haven`t used it. I think I better get an email out asap!

    I love your down to earth, frank, direct way of speaking. I don`t always understand everything you are speaking about, but I feel like there is hope, if I can just put some of your great advice into practice.

    And if you have any bright ideas on me actually making the money I was counting on this Christmas, I would love to hear it! Just so darn tired from trying to read and learn and try to fix this! And still get my 9-5 job done!

  2. says

    Nice share and really good point raised. Lisa, you are absolutely right about such companies. I am a professional optimizer and right now also offering online training on the same. Recently I got such an email where the person is claiming the same. I used to get similar vague emails every now and then.
    I always suggest people to be ethical (as much as possible), consistent and maintain basics of SEO properly. SEO is not search engine optimization for search engines rather it is more like search experience optimization for the users. Concentrate on your user/audience/customer’s pain points, needs and accordingly strategize your overall marketing and SEO.

  3. says

    thnx for this warning an complete info according to me I pay attention to SEO (keywords, links, etc) My main focus is great content to my community and for me still about providing value and sticking to our main purpose.

  4. says

    Hi Lisa,
    Actually, over the past few few years, I reference your tutorials for SEO education, and this is my first comment. That is nice to know “Ranking Will Get Easier for Small Businesses”, as you have referenced in the past its all about good content. Cliche, If you build it they will come that is if you do a good job with quality content they should come.

    • says

      What’s up Jason! I’m glad you added that last part about quality! I am actually prepping my post for Monday and mentioned something very similar. :)

  5. says

    Hi Lisa,
    Really appreciate for efforts you put in for presenting such informative article.
    I want to say that now Google also become intelligent enough to restrict those people who are looking for shortcuts and wrong track for web marketing. So I guess promotion through organic works better and will produce better and long lasting results.

  6. says

    Hi Liza
    I also observed almost 40% rise in traffic after Panda’s latest update. You are right I do take care of on-page SEO and always stay away from keyword stuffing. That is why I am getting its benefit. But does it mean its next update will also be that much kind enough because we have observed in the past all the Google updates have always been quite unpredictable and never followed a consistent trend. Please do guide me here or in any of your next post.

  7. says

    Since Penguin 1 (April, 2012), I was closely observing and working for many websites to recover. Being honest, with all efforts, I have never seen a website that has fully recovered. Maximum recover is up to 50%. If anyone have better example, I love to see it.

  8. says

    SEO is one thing I have learnt to do on my own, the truth is that you can’t trust those companies out there that promise to get you to the promise land over night, probably within a short time. You never can tell what procedure they use…….

    So I would advice one to come clean and do everything by yourself so you would know where you have done wrong and right

    This is actually the first time landing on this blog. Thank you Lisa for sharing this information….

  9. says

    SEO is the thing we should learn and do ourselves because SEO services tend to be black hat seo tactics, they say is all white hat but I doubt. Better learn SEO, keep up with trend and you’ll be doing great.

  10. says

    This is how most of the new SEO service providers react and introduce themselves to the small business clients by showing fake stats.

    This story is helpful for those small business owners who are getting fooled by fake SEO firms. People should adhere to Google’s SEO team’s updates and the practices advised by them for better SEO of their site or blog.

    If small business firms can’t do their SEO tasks by themselves, they should hire the company or individual who have real knowledge of SEO and the working practices as of current trends in SEO industry.

    Thanks for sharing the email text too with the post.

  11. YourFriend says

    I have heard a lot about those Animal Updates but I did not really experience them. I was not Blogging at that time.

  12. says

    Thanks for sharing the post. You are right Changes in the Google algorithms are nowadays very often and its unpredictable what Google does next. Thanks for sharing this helpful post for learning some information about this update.

  13. says

    Thanks for the tip! I have to admit that I have been blogging for some time now but I have never given SEO much thought. It is only now that I am hoping to get my blog rank on Google. It looks like a lot of hard work especially for is lost in all these words that I do not understand but I guess it’s better late than never!

  14. says

    Yep, I haven’t really done anything to my site and after the Panda 4.0 update my site traffic more than doubled. Maybe it’s time to start offering SEO services :) Thanks for the warning!

  15. says

    That was expected from some companies, it happens all the time. Lack of knowledge is often used to scam people. It was smart of you to notice about the fishy part in the emails.

    There have been many legit sites that were effected by Panda, so it was a necessity to have them restore to give the best to the readers.

    I was never penalized, but my pages are ranking higher now, I know the reason now. Thanks, anyway I found this on kingged.

  16. says

    I think It lies more with knowing what these updates are about, it is more about ignorance..

    If blogger/small businesses know about these then they will excercise caution in employing the services of these SEO companies..

    Google have sounded the warning enough so one should be careful and do things the proper way because it will not hesitate to punish any defaulter.. Thanks for sharing on

  17. says

    Greate article one more time, thanks Lisa.

    I’m some reserved for this new panda, I don’t know if that has to do with the update, but my sites look like penalized! Traffic is half as usually and getting also worst! even if I’m adding content as usually! I don’t know on my last article a few days ago I add a link to another of my one sites, hosted in the same server, I don’t know if this is the point. Maybe my hosting company was penalized or something like that, I host 6 sites in that server, I work daily in two of those sites, but traffic went down for all of them!

  18. says

    Personally I haven’t seen any changes in my SEO traffic levels – either up or down – just holding steady. And that’s across quite a number of sites. Personally I’m happy with that – I like to take things slowly and white hat with Google, trying to be as ethical and “natural” as possible.

  19. says

    I am hardly surprised that there are persons that feed on the misinformed and would do something like this. Its people like these that Panda was created for in the first place.

    Again if you want something done right…do it yourself. All bloggers should do their own optimization and never depend on a company that promises dreams of grandeur.

    As always great article Lisa.

  20. says

    Another awesome post lisa, thanks! Even though I pay attention to SEO (keywords, links, etc) My main focus is great content to my community and for me still about providing value and sticking to our main purpose.

  21. says

    Frankly speaking, one need to be very careful when it come to SEO services. Most of this SEO companies are no going through white hat.

    Google search algorithm is unpredictable, so why relying on SEO Companies, we all know that google is now damn aggressive towards it’s updates.

    What i will just advice both bloggers & SME is to be patience and implement SEO the proper way to their blog/website. Go for natural backlinks and write quality article that can easily go viral.

    Thanks for sharing this article with us and have a nice day

    I found the link to this post on Kingged and i have also kingged it on

  22. says

    When the Payday loan update (Penguin 3.0, as everyone decided to call it) started to roll out, I lost some traffic (30%) and started working hard to clean up and improve both the on and off-site SEO of these properties.

    I enjoyed partial recovery in the days leading up to Panda 4, but the Panda update really helped push me along.

    Still have some work to get the site where Google and I are both happy, but optimistic we’ll be there at the end of the month.

  23. says

    This actually happens a lot! I get a lot of out reach emails from companies like this that just swap the theme logo on their wordpress theme website and call themselves experts. If they only knew.

  24. says

    I agree with Kharim as far as SEO changing so dramatically in a short period of time and nobody knowing when it will change again. Its all over the place. This is a very good post Lisa. I love how you broke down the email. I’m sure that you will help countless people out because I get these emails all the time.

  25. says

    Hey Lisa,

    I am not sure where this Panda thing is going, but sometimes it feels like a roller coaster ride to me. SEO has changed dramatically in a short period of time and nobody knows when it will change again.

    Optimizing a site for organic traffic can be done without help from SEO companies or services. We just have to know what Google requires from our blog and also stick to their rules.

    • says

      Exactly what I thought too. I once made the mistake of allowing SEO bloggers on my blog and once I heard about the risk it brings to our blog from a friend who’s previously had a bad experience with this so called SEO blogger I decided not to accept their guest posts on my blog again.

      Thanks for the extra insight their matey! :)

  26. says

    Thanks Lisa for the heads-up – I think sticking to doing the right things – the right way -is the only failure proof approach for sustainable long term visibility.

    thanks for sharing

    • says

      I strongly agree with you Gugu..
      Sometimes people think there is a short cut to having a great success online.. on the contrary, there is none,… Do the right thing and you would have the right results !! ..
      Lisa, thank you for sharing this article !!

  27. says

    Hey Lisa,

    Another great post and this one with a really cool warning mode. :)

    I actually don’t do SEO and I focus on the quality of my contents, market my articles via guest blogging, social networking sites, blog communities, blog commenting and a host of other credible means and so I don’t worry myself about SEO.

    Hence, I have no issues with the panda, penguine or those other stuffs but I’m guessing this post will help someone and I have just shared it with my kingged family.

    Thanks for sharing it with me anyways. 😀


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