I’ve had a handful of experiences with sites that have been left penalized by the Google Gods, and I can honestly say that it’s not a very fun experience. One penalty directly from Google can result in significant losses in traffic, whether you were aware of the issue or not. And getting back on track can be equally as frustrating with the reconsideration process remaining fairly vague and semi-subjective.
In some cases, it has significantly impacted sales for businesses that may not have the resources to get back on track. Generally, small businesses are unable to afford a specialist to help with the clean-up process or are completely unaware as to how or why their traffic is being affected.
Luckily, Google recently announced the upcoming release of a “gentler” Panda update that may have positive implications for small businesses advertising on the web. According to Matt Cutts, this update is specifically aimed at helping these smaller shops combat the latest updates. (via Search Engine Land)