How to know if you’ve been hit by Google Penguin

If you have problems sleeping at night, and every morning are checking rankings to see if today’s the day that your business gets wiped off the face of the earth then maybe Penguin 3 has caught up with you.

This advice is probably of no value to you, as you’ll no doubt already know the devastating news.

If you’re a business owner that’s in the dark and maybe oblivious to the strategies employed by your SEO team then here’s a couple of quick ways to check.

1. Keyword Research

The obvious way is just do a keyword research on your main terms, make sure you’re not signed into Google and receiving personalised results. (I tend to switch to the Firefox browser for a quick search)

Have your keywords, or some of them, vanished? Are they significantly lower than they were pre Saturday October 18th when Penguin 3 was rolled out.

Bear in mind that Google Penguin targets pages. Not every page and keyword on your site needs to be affected for Penguin 3 to have hit you. Only the over optimised keywords and pages may have taken a hit.

2. Google Analytics

There’s a number of ways to skin a cat in Google Analytics.

Log into your Google Analytics.

a) Overall Stats

To see overall stats for your site then navigate to;

Acquisition > All Traffic, Select ‘Google /Organic’ and start to compare dates pre Oct 18th before and after to see traffic levels.

google analytics source medium google

Now study the line chart for any irregular or sudden dips in traffic. At this early stage there may be only a few days to compare, so you may want to compare this Sunday with last Sunday’s traffic.

b) Page Level Stats

If you want to look at the page level and see if individual pages have been hit then navigate to;

‘Behaviour > Site Content > Landing Pages’

landing pages in Google Analytics

Click on ‘Secondary Dimension’ and select ‘Source / Medium’

source medium

Next click on ‘Advanced’


Then filter to ‘google / organic’ traffic


And then compare dates.


Any noticeable drops in traffic may be a result of a Penguin Penalty.

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Michael Wall

Michael Wall is an experienced SEO based in Belfast N.Ireland currently running his own SEO Agency.

Michael Wall is available for Internet Marketing, Google Adwords PPC and SEO work. Please call Belfast 02890 923383 or use the contact form.

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