The old schoolers know who Tennessee Tuxedo is. For you young folks, Tennessee Tuxedo is the penguin in the old cartoon of the same name who had the sidekick Chumley. Google’s latest Penguin algorithm change brought the old character to mind. This penguin algorithm change is supposed to weed out web spam.
How Penguin Affected Me
According to Google, the algorithm went into affect on April 24th. Well, I’ve got to say that I noticed a change in my earnings on the last day of March and my earnings have been steadily declining since then.
My decline didn’t have much to do with the Penguin, my issues had to do with tons and tons of error messages generated by the Google AdSense code. For some reason, my sites suddenly started to generate errors and the odd thing about it was I hadn’t touched those sites in months.
Culprit of the Error Messages
The first wave of messages occurred because the code suddenly wanted to find a file located in a folder called doubleclick in my blogs’ root directory. In an attempt to correct the problem, I created a folder called doubleclick and searched Google to download the missing file the code needed.
Whew! All was good for about 24 to 48 hours until the same error messages started appearing again. The error messages weren’t so bad but they had an affect on my income. You see, the 404 “File not Found” errors were generated after someone clicked on an AdSense ad and the subsequent page wouldn’t load.
The subsequent page was the advertiser’s page, but somehow the AdSense code looked for the page on my sites. Of course they wouldn’t find the pages on my site because I don’t have the advertiser’s pages physically located on my blogs.
After further investigation, it seems these errors were generated by image ads. So, to put an end to the nonsense, I modified my code so AdSense would only display text ads. Problem solved (or work around implemented).
Back to the Penguin
It took me a few weeks to figure out my error problem, so by then Penguin waddled into my life. After doing a little reading up on Penguin I made one change to my websites. I moved the 300 x 250 ad from within the top of my posts to the right sidebar.
Somewhere on the Google AdSense Webmaster blog, there was information about the ratio of ads to text above the fold. By moving the ad to the sidebar, more of my content appeared above the fold and the ad still had a prominent place.
When penguin was first implemented I noticed a momentary drop in traffic and search engine ranking, but things seem to be balancing out and the traffic and page rank have normalized (whatever normal is).
Penguin and My Online Strategy
My online strategy is still the same now as it was when I first started 5 years ago. Write quality content. I’m sure social networking and good backlinks help, but as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a social networker and I don’t actively seek backlinks.
Maybe my time as an active online writer is drawing to an end. I’ve found what makes me happy as an online writer and my “style” may be obsolete. I like to write about certain subjects and I like to write in a fashion to help people. That’s it.
I don’t like to worry about hats (whether black or white), popularity, gaming the system, backlinking strategies and the like. I’m quite selfish in that I want to write about what excites me and hopefully it will help someone else. Sometimes its lucrative and sometimes not.
So, when Google rolls out the Otter, the Hyena, the Cheetah or the Petunia, my writing style and strategy will remain the same. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.