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Tennessee Tuxedo Strikes!

Tennessee TuxedoThe 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.System Error

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.

My Online Writing StrategyMaybe 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.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Laura @ Cornerstones for Parents April 28, 2012, 7:09 pm

    Thank you. I always find your posts so refreshing and re-orienting.

    I have decided that if I try to jump through every new hoop that Google throws my way, I will just end up very tired. Like you, my plan is to keep writing and helping the people that come my way. Thanks again.

    • Reena May 2, 2012, 7:31 am

      Hi Felicia,

      It’s so good to see you always.

      After your post, I checked my Adsense reports, only to notice that there were a couple of “Page Not Found” errors. There is no date – so I really don’t know when the errors came up!

      I looked at the “how to fix” section and all they say is, “Our AdSense crawler is attempting to crawl a page that no longer exists. We’re receiving a 404 error specifically for this page. Please make sure this URL is serving correctly.”

      The URL works fine. Do you think I should just leave it or do I need to make any changes?

      I wish I could just write and leave the technicalities for someone else – just don’t get it! I wish you wrote a Handling Adsense ebook for us 🙂

      • Felicia May 3, 2012, 6:44 am

        Reena, I wouldn’t worry over a couple of errors. Sometimes the errors occur because someone else improperly linked to a page on your site. I get those all the time.

        It wasn’t until I saw hundreds of the same errors that made me investigate. I still have a few errors, but those I’m not worried about.

        As far as an AdSense book, I’m soooo ill equipped to write it. I’m still bumping around trying to figure things out. 🙂

  • Loretta April 29, 2012, 6:24 am

    Way to go, Felicia. You are an adept problem solver and as always you continue to educate us with the lessons that you learn on your own. I always look forward to reading and learning from NJFM and your other sites as well. Continue to maintain your style, be true to yourself and provide us, your readers, with inspiration. (By the way, I definitely need to reread and draw some inspiration from your post “Say Goodbye to Writer’s Block.”)

    • Felicia April 30, 2012, 3:13 am

      Loretta, I find your posts to be thought provoking and inspiring too.

  • Wendel April 29, 2012, 10:26 am

    I haven’t seen this Tennessee Tuxedo before. When did this cartoon character become a hype? Glad to know you’re sticking with your online strategy despite Google’s algorithm changes.


    • Felicia April 30, 2012, 3:13 am

      No hype with Tennessee Tuxedo. Just a trip down memory lane. 🙂

  • tinafreysd April 30, 2012, 2:50 am

    Thanks for a cute kind of tuxedo..Love your post..

  • Ken Muise May 1, 2012, 7:16 pm

    Hey Felicia,

    Long time. For some reason…Penguin and I are getting along on my mobile app site. I did purchase a paid PR that showed good results and then when Penguin hit. It kind of took off. When I say “took off” I mean…it’s has done better than any site that I ever had.

    Not brushing my own back here, just putting it out there. Now, I don’t Adsense (as everyone knows) so I haven’t been able to gauge “profit” from clicks…however, the app affiliate that I do have on my site has picked up and more and more developers are wanting their apps reviewed there-based solely on the traffic spike.

    As far as the rest of the sites? Gaaaaahbage!

    Hope you’re well!


    • Felicia May 3, 2012, 11:50 am

      Don’t know why your comment went to spam.

      Glad to hear things are picking up for you after penguin. I’ve found that the sites I’ve had for quite some time, way back before I knew anything about SEO have picked up. My other sites have seen a decrease in traffic. Go figure!

  • Glenn Dixon May 3, 2012, 12:40 pm

    Tennessee Tuxedo! Now that’s some old school right there! lol

    From what I can gather about the old penguin, that update seems to have had something to do with keyword anchor text variation and also niche appropriateness. IOW, posting this comment here will give me a CommentLuv backlink. But since both your site and mine are in similar niches Google would see that as appropriate. If my site were about “how to play guitar” – well, maybe not so much.

    P.S. This is my first visit to your site. I look forward to catching up!

    • Felicia May 6, 2012, 11:21 am

      Welcome, Glenn. Sorry for the late response. For some reason your comment went to my spam folder.

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