The goal of Moneyball is to get the best results out of the least money spent. In other words, Billy Beane viewed his baseball team as a business, looking to get the best value or ROI. Beane’s Oakland teams made the playoffs four straight years in the early 2000s despite being in the bottom five teams in salary.

As a sports fan and a sportswriter, reading Moneyball changed the way I look at baseball like few other things have. Each week, I’ll try to do the same thing with SEO for you in this series, SEO MoneyBall, using some deeper statistics to give you a better look at how to improve your web presence. This week, I go through ways to recover from the Google Panda and Penguin updates.

The latest updates from Google threw a number of websites into upheaval this year. Penguin and Panda penalties were severe, and many companies are still in the recovery process.

Let’s start by addressing what these updates changed, and then get to what you can still do to rank once again.

Google Panda

Panda primarily penalized websites for poor quality content. Google as a product needs to direct its users to the most interesting and informative pages on their search topics. Writing content that provides no new value is a red flag to the company, so this update penalized those sites which add similar, boring, and not useful content to the internet.

The process to recover from this can include many steps, but the most important is to freshen up your content and rewrite your website. Redo the existing pages, and add more pages that support your main topics. Beyond just getting yourself back into the search rankings, you want your website to provide value to whoever is looking at it, so this step can help all aspects of your web presence.

Google Penguin

Penguin was an algorithm update that penalizes sites for bad backlinks. It was intended to combat black-hat techniques, but it hit a number of honest sites too. Links categorized as spam or ones that may have been paid for result in penalties that affect a website’s Google search ranking.

Unfortunately, the only way to clean up your profile is to manually go through your links in Google Webmaster Tools to see which ones are the cause for your penalties. Once you’ve found the bad links, your courses of action are either to contact that webmaster or to use the Google Disavow Tool.


While each of the updates had good intentions, Google was heavy-handed in applying penalties. A number of businesses running clean SEO principles were hurt, and they now have to get back to focusing on the fundamentals just to get back to their original rankings. It may be time consuming, but there are clear steps to take to get your page back to the top results that it needs to be.

Might as well start right now.

Jackson on Google+


For more SEO Moneyball check out these posts!

SEO Moneyball Series

SEO Moneyball: Google Makes AdWords Extensions Even More Important

SEO Moneyball: Why It Pays to Rank on Google