Starting Over After Google Penguin, And Panda, Killed My First Blog!

Last Updated on September 20, 2019 by Fabrizio Van Marciano

I want to share with you a story of how my first blogging venture with "Magnet4Marketing" came to an end after it was hit by the Google Panda update, and then Google Penguin, shortly after and why starting over was the best decision I ever made.

Back in 2012, when Google was making some big changes to its search engine algorithm, in an apparent attempt to make the web a better and less spammier place, many websites and blogs fell victim to what was called Google Panda and Google Penguin updates.

Of course, to some extent, many websites rightly deserved to be affected by this update, but there were also many websites that sadly fell in the line of fire, as in, were penalized for no or minor reasons.

In Google's f**king eyes, this was probably just collateral damage to them. But on a scale, they could have never imagined.

My first blog, Magnet4Marketing (before I launched Magnet4Blogging in 2013), was amongst the many, many hundreds of thousands of blogs affected in 2012's algo updates.

I started Magnet4Marketing in 2009 and finally took it offline in March of 2014.

Google Panda, and eventually Penguin, penalized my blog to beyond the point of recovery, and I did try for several years try and fix some of the problems the site was apparently penalized for.

Magnet4Marketing wasn't the only blog that I had that became affected by Google's algorithm changes.

I also owned a few other micro-niche sites, and a personal blog (, and an eCommerce site, all of which I had to take offline due to a massive loss of traffic and revenue.

Google, single-handedly f**ked my online businesses. Thanks, Google.

I was not alone during Google's onslaught

I wasn't alone and my site wasn't the only one affected.

As I said, thousands of sites and blogs were affected. Threads on forums and blogs popped up like wildfire all talking about the damage these updates were doing.

Meanwhile, the bullsh*t that is, Google, were still taking down names and kicking arse.

I saw many other fellow bloggers and friends forced to either start over or damn well quit blogging altogether. It was one of the saddest times, as a blogger.

I read countless stories of how some bloggers and marketers were actually forced to find alternative jobs, because, for many of them, blogging was their business, it was their livelihood, their breadwinner.

My first blog, Magnet4Marketing, at the height of its "small but now meaningless success" was generating over 15,000 unique visits per month, and around 25,000 monthly page views. Not a big deal, but enough for me to make a decent part-time income from.

The site was generating between $1,500 and $3,000 each month in the form of Google AdSense, private ads sales, and a solid affiliate marketing model.

If you take a look at the screen capture below, you will see over the period of a year and a half, how my organic search engine traffic tanked from almost 700 visitors per day to just 40 visits per day.

Google Penguin Start Over
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What caused Google to penalize my blog?

I really don't know for sure, even to this day. However, I have a pretty strong suspicion that my blog was penalized as a result of negative SEO.

You see, I built Magnet4Marketing with hardly any link building tactics involved.

Asides from a few guest posts, blog commenting on a small handful of authoritative blogs, I never really paid a great deal of attention to building links using any other method.

Oh, yes, I did have a few YouTube videos linked back to my blog posts as well.

When I carried out an SEO audit for Magnet4Marketing to see what could be fixed, to my horror and surprise, I found my blog had backlinks from a ton of spammy and trashy websites.

I mean, sites that were completely unrelated, such as gambling sites, pornography sites, and male potency sites.

This was a sad discovery because I knew I would have never created links to my blog from those sites.

The content quality I could easily improve, but the spammy backlinks, thousands of them, I could not simply just make go away. They were beyond toxic.

What did I do to try and recover?

In a half-hearted effort, like a lot of online business owners and bloggers that were struggling to regain their search rankings back during that time, I made attempts to try and fix my blog the best I could.

I didn't want to see it go to waste, of course not, so I started my plan of attack.

Looking back today, I realize now that I was actually wasting my f**king time, my money, as well as losing my sanity.

Yep, I also put my health at risk.

I remember sitting in front of my laptop for long, long hours, day after day, night after night, analyzing each link, making a list of what to disavow, and how to rebuild a healthy link profile.

I went out of my way to hire reputable blog writers to create more useful content. I spent hours crafting new content myself.

I even completely redesigned my blog from scratch, removing everything and anything that I thought was creating a bad user experience.

But of course, all of the sh*t I was doing was just a massive waste of time, because none of it worked, none of it mattered, at least not for a penalized site.

Finally, in March of 2014, I decided that enough was enough and I took Magnet4Marketing offline.

Starting over, finally.

I had two choices after taking Magnet4Marketing offline - Start over with a brand new blog, or just give up entirely and move onto the next thing. The only problem was, I had no idea what this next thing was going to be.

After taking a few months to cool off and to spend some time with my family, I decided to start over.

I had already purchased the domain name Magnet4Blogging in October of 2013, and in June of 2014 I decided to go all out and build a brand new blogging business from scratch with Magne4Blogging.

Why starting over was the best decision ever?

I can tell you right now, as of updating this post in September of 2019, that starting over was the best decision I ever made.

Since launching the site, Magnet4Blogging has gone from strength to strength, and not just because I decided to start over fresh, but because I started over with a completely new frame of mind.

I remember reading somewhere online that bloggers were rarely ever successful with their first blog. I didn't want to believe that, but I do now.

  • I learned from the mistakes I made with my first blogging venture, so I knew exactly where not to make those mistakes again.
  • I was also starting over a more knowledgeable individual than I was when I started blogging. So, doing things like - finding a new host, installing WordPress, customizing a theme, installing and configuring plugins wasn't so much of a learning curve.
  • I was better at writing content.
  • I had already made a few connections with other bloggers and influencers previously with my old blog, so I knew where to start to build a new audience for my new blog.

If I hadn't started over, all of this would have simply gone to waste, right?

Moreover, I made a promise to myself. That promise was to never rely on a single source for my blog traffic. That source being search engine traffic only, specifically from Google.

Today, my traffic comes from a variety of sources. Yes, most of it naturally comes from Google, but I get plenty of traffic from social media, my YouTube channel (sadly owned by Google), referral traffic from other blogs and sites, my email list, and push notifications.

ga traff m4b april
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My blog traffic growth in 2019

Why should you consider starting over too?

If you have a small or medium-sized blog that was hit by any of Google's algorithm or core updates. And, if you genuinely believe that you have done everything you possibly can to try and recover your lost rankings, diminished traffic, authority, and revenue, then here's my hard advice to you!

Start Over Completely!

There is no shame in admitting defeat. Besides, you haven't really failed. Google failed you.

Heck, I failed with my first blog and I'm quite proud of it. If I fail the second time, I'll just start over again. Of course, I wouldn't want to start over a third time, as it would be a massive pain in the rear end.

But I'm proud because I wouldn't be where I am today with Magnet4Blogging had I not done so.

And, the great thing about starting over is that it's never too late to do it.

By starting over with a brand new blog, you have a brand new opportunity to be even more successful than before. A fresh start if you like.

You are starting over with far more experience and knowledge under your belt.

You are starting over completely aware of the things that you should focus on, and the things that you shouldn't pay attention to.

Sure, it's going to take a long time and a lot of hard/smart work to rebuild a credible blog like you had before from the ground up, but it's never, ever too late to start.

The only time that it's ever too late, in my opinion, is when or if you do nothing about it now.

Helping you start over

As I have experienced starting over in blogging, I'm here to help you do the same and be more successful than ever before.

Feel free to connect with me, or get in touch if you need me to answer any questions, or provide you with some further guidance. I'm here to help YOU.

Links, tools, resources for starting over with blogging

Below you'll see that I've outlined some of the best blog posts I recommend reading on my blog for bloggers looking to start over with a brand new blog, as well as tools and resources to grow your blog.

  1. How to find the best hosting service for your WordPress blog.
  2. Start a WordPress blog guide.
  3. Checklist for starting a WordPress blog.
  4. WordPress blog maintenance checklist.
  5. Best premium WordPress plugins for bloggers.
  6. 30 Ways to make 2020 your best blogging year yet!

Blog creation tools

  1. Hosting and domain from SiteGround
  2. Premium themes from StudioPress
  3. Conversion marketing tools to grow your blogging business from Thrive Themes

Recommended reading

  1. How my blog traffic tanked in June 2019 and why I couldn't give a cr*p

Affiliate Disclaimer: As an affiliate of SiteGround, 123 Reg, StudioPress, and Thrive Themes, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you decide to purchase using any of the affiliate links in this blog post, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks in advance!

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