Google Penguin Recovery 101
On April 24, 2012, Google rolled out the latest of a series of algorithm updates, codenamed Penguin, designed to target over-optimization and poor backlink profiles. Google has stated that this new update was created and implemented in order to reward high-quality sites and to penalize the bad practices associated with black-hat internet marketing. In today’s modern world where the web is one of the primary tools used to connect businesses to customers, and where a business website’s Google rank directly affects their bottom line, search engine optimization (SEO) has become a massive industry catered towards improving a site’s ranking. As a small business in this high-stakes game of internet marketing, it is very important to understand exactly what Google considers ‘bad practices,’ and what exactly constitutes a ‘high quality site.’ In this article, you will learn some important tips for beginning your Google Penguin recovery.
The practices that Google is punishing its new Penguin update are known as “black-hat marketing” or “web spamming.” Google has given a few specific examples of exactly what they consider to be spam or spam tactics, all of which can be put into two broad categories: content manipulation and link spamming. Content manipulation spamming includes tactics such as keyword stuffing, meta-tag stuffing, and doorway pages. The second major category of practices is link spamming includes tactics such as utilizing link farms, hidden links, repetitive anchor text and comment spam. All of these practices mentioned are essentially old methods of attempting to outwit the search-engine algorithm in order to gain a higher page rank. Not only are these old methods considered outdated and shady, since the release of Penguin, they can also seriously injure your ranking on Google.
So now that we know which practices are being penalized, it’s interesting to know which practices the Penguin update is actually encourages. One of the most important goals of the update was to encourage companies to make their websites more interactive, as well as to encourage unique and relevant content for their customers. This makes perfect sense when you consider that the primary purpose of Google is to provide its users with the best match for their search query. Therefore, those business owners who provide new and relevant content for their customers, who are active on the various social media platforms, who consistently engage their customers, and who have fully functional and dynamic websites should be (and are) rewarded with a higher ranking over those sites who simply pay and SEO company to build links for their site without putting in any real effort to engage a user.
Finally, here are some tips on where to go from here and how to begin your Google Penguin recovery if your business’s website was hit:
1) Content, Content, Content!
Add a blog to your website and make sure that you are blogging at least once a month. Research done by Hubspot shows that businesses who blog at least 20 times per month five times more traffic to their site and four times more leads. Also, make sure that these blogs are quality over quantity. Your content must be relevant to your site as well as relevant to industry trends. And all of your content must be unique!
2) Engage in Social Media
One of the updates on Penguin is that sites with high page rank compared to their social media activity are being punished. It is important to interact with your customers! Participating in social media is also a great way to get good links to your website that are not considered spam.
3) Remove bad links.
If you have a sports blog and you have been accepting guest posts about business, chances are your site is filled with unrelated links. Make sure that going forward you only post related links on your site. If you obtained backlinks to your site by buying them from link farms, etc, talk with the sites where your links have been posted and ask them to remove them. Most importantly, from here on out make sure that you are working to make links on your site relevant to your content, that your anchor texts are unique, and that you are generating natural links to your website.
4) Invest in a Custom Website
Your business’s website should be a source of information for potential customers, and a solid revenue stream. All too often, the focus is solely to provide information, but the goal should actually be to engage and entice visitors. To this end, investing in a custom website that reinforces your brand, that encourages your visitors into the types of action that you want from them (be it make a purchase, or call on the phone to set an appointment).