Google’s Penguin Update
If you haven’t heard of Google’s Penguin Update, you must have either been stuck in a crevasse for weeks or have no connections with the SEO industry.
Before you waddle back to your igloo, skim what follows to see if anything ruffles your feathers, piques your interest or even pricks your conscience!
The Penguin update has had business owners and the SEO industry in a flap throughout May as waves of businesses have reported their website visitor numbers being decimated by Google’s latest algorithmic update which specifically targets spam in the form of spammy link building tactics. It’s an ongoing clean-up process i.e. not a one-off exercise so if you are thus far unaffected that, in itself, is no guarantee of safety.
This topic has been covered comprehensively by others and I doubt I could improve on some of the fantastic material I’ve read but no SEO blog could be complete without a few Penguin mentions. So this post encapsulates, in the form of tips and a reading list, some of the highlights of the 50 or so articles I’ve read on this subject over the last few weeks.
In short, the update has, at the centre of its target, overly aggressive, manipulative link building practices for example links created by article spinning, spammy blog commenting or automated processes. Specifically businesses that have ended up with unnatural link profiles, for one reason or another, have also been targeted. An example of an unnatural link profile could be where an unnaturally high proportion of links to a website use link text (anchor text) which is an exact match for the business’s main keyword targets (money keywords). So if an extraordinarily high proportion of the links on other websites that link to this website looked like this, say, “SEO Companies” instead of this “www.adjuice.co.uk” or this “AdJuice” then we would be more at risk of a Penguin slap because Google might consider these links as unnatural (i.e. manipulated solely for the purpose of trying to rank higher for the keyword in the link).
Our Tips For Penguin-Proof, Authentic SEO
1. Keep It Real (Or Get Real)!
You can’t outswim a Penguin so get out of the water and back onto dry land. Build your SEO on something solid. Be authentic. That means there should be some justifiable purpose, over and above just improving rankings, for each and every aspect of your SEO activity.
2. Don’t Knee-Jerk
If you got buried by an ice fall, then thrashing around is likely to get you buried deeper. The chances are you didn’t spot the warning signs or understand the risks so it’s better to take some time to reflect and really understand the components of your recovery plan before you try and execute it.
3. Practice Balanced SEO
Diversify. It’s only natural to spend more time on the areas where you feel more comfortable or where you may have developed an expertise but if you spend all your time blogging then maybe it’s time to front up to social media or some other aspects you’ve been neglecting. This approach means you’re not placing all your eggs in one basket and will make your SEO investment less risky by making it more resilient against all future algorithmic updates.
4. Add Value
When surrounded by the ice-floes that are your SEO program, it’s easy to forget why we’re in business in the first place. That’s to add value in some way, shape or form. If you keep that ultimate objective in your sights, in the calm water beyond the bow wave, your SEO is more likely to be sailing in a safer direction as a natural consequence of taking a long-sighted view.
5. Get Real
Be authentic. I’ve already said that but I can say it again. It’s my blog. 🙂
Our Top 10 Favourite Reads Covering The Penguin Update
(Listed in order of date of publication.)
1. Another Step To Rewarding High Quality Sites – Matt Cutts of Google heralds the next attack on spam.
2. Google Launches “Penguin Update”; Targeting Webspam In Search Results – Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land describes the Penguin update.
3. Google Penguin Update: 5 Types of Link Issues Harming Some Affected Websites – Danny Goodwin of Search Engine Watch details some of the kinds of links that can give Penguins indigestion.
4. Google Penguin Update Recovery Tips & Advice – Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land offers some hope.
5. Penguins, Pandas, and Panic at the Zoo – Dr Pete of SEOMoz provides extensive advice on how to do zoo-keeping calmly.
6. Anti-Penguin Link Building Plan – Jason A’Cidre of Kaiser The Sage with an epic post on link profile health checks and healthy link building.
7. Two Weeks In, Google Talks Penguin Update, Ways To Recover & Negative SEO – Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land with some scary advice from Google (like “Start Again”).
8. 3 Hard Lessons to Learn From Penguin: Be Relevant, Be Balanced, Keep it Real – Guillaume Bouchard of NVI on Search Engine Watch.
9. How WPMU.org Recovered From The Penguin Update – Ross Hudgens of Full Beaker Inc on the SEOMoz Blog with an authentic case study of recovering from a Penguin slap.
10. Recovering from an Over Optimization Penalty – A True Story – Nick Eubanks of Factor Media on the SEOmoz blog with another authentic case study of recovering from a Penguin slap.
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