Ready or not…here it comes. Google’s Penguin 2.0 recently launched on May 22. Affectionately called the “Webspam” update, the newest Penguin on the prowl is dedicated to extermination of any SEO optimization for ranking that it doesn’t like (the “blackhat” stuff). What does this mean for us on the other side of Google? Some of the biggest pieces of the pie that Google is now geared to affect will include PageRank and website backlinks, among a slew of other things.
How Will My Website Content Be Affected?
If you’ve been putting out organic, 100% original, reader-friendly blogs and content for all your websites, product descriptions, article or blog feeds, you’ve got really nothing to be concerned about (except putting out more of it).
But if you are sitting on the SERPs because of a number of thin quality backlinks (perhaps from non-related sites, dangerous sites, or even adult sites), you will have something to worry about. Matt Cutts says this and more in his recent Google Penguin 2.0 video.
What’s Big for Penguin:
- Social favor and response of your website. The amount of times your website is shared, repeatedly visited, and talked about online—the newest Penguin is smarter than ever at discovering this and ranking you based on these factors. What’s big in social? You’d better get on Google +, if you weren’t before. Pinterest gets crawled, so if you pin, be sure to optimize your descriptions. Tweets use “hashtags” like SEO keywords, so don’t forget those.
- Niche authorities. Websites that have authority in their niche by real users will really gain traction and favor with the new search engine update.
- Content must be natural to rank. If you write a press release, it isn’t going to get any Google love if it’s not newsworthy. Write real news, not just something to get in syndicated and backlinked. If you blog, write for your readers. The same goes for web content, articles, and really anything you write for the web.
- Keywords should be used in variations. Use your primary keyword the most, but don’t overuse it. Variations include derivatives and synonyms. For example: your primary keyword is “sleeping bag:” and a derivative could be “British sleeping bag,” while synonymous keywords include “slumber bag.” Penguin 2.0 is designed to avoid ranking keyword stuffing altogether. Only use your keywords appropriately and within a context. For example: “Chiropractic care NC will help you find better care” is stuffed. But if you break up this keyword (which is obviously Chiropractic care NC) to “In North Carolina, finding chiropractic care that will serve you in the best manner possible” is a much better fit. And Google will pick up that keyword phrase even better, since you used it naturally.
I WAS Affected! How Do I Recover?
Webmasters are already panicking and heading to the nearest legit SEO agency to see how fast they can get back lost rankings. If you’ve experienced a hit from the fluffy Penguin beast, Google’s Link Disavow Tool is your buddy. It’s a tool to cut off all those bad links hanging on to your website that are de-ranking it now. Learn more about the Link Disavow Tool.
On top of the link tool, there’s really no replacement for real social engagement and content writing & marketing. Blogging; social engagement; and staying engaged and on top with a steady flow of good content that will benefit your reader is extremely important now in ranking factors. So if you haven’t started a game plan for blogging and article marketing, start now.
What The Most Important Points to Baby-Proof My Website for Penguin Update?
1. Don’t panic. These fluffy little beasties mean some baby-proofing; but they aren’t going to kill you and yours, by any means. Google launches out an update weekly into the giant world wide interweb. Putting a fancy name on it is a good way to get a lot more attention to their blogs, their name, and their ranking factors. In short, don’t fret too much.
2. Realize you must utilize the power of original content to maintain SEO rankings. You can’t do without. SERPs are now so influenced in Google by the amount of web content you publish and write, that website content is probably one of the most, if not THE most, important ranking factor.
3. Get social. Google +, folks. No other social media engine can deliver you rankings and a way to stalk your friends. Hootsuite recently launched their “Autoschedule” tool; after you sync up all your accounts, you can schedule a tweet to go out at optimal times.
4. Be wary in choosing backlinks. Good backlinks don’t come cheap, and that’s going to have to be a standard now. Paying cheap for backlinks will only mean cheap results that could even devalue your rankings. Publishing a blog or an article with your link in it is one of the highest quality backlinks.
I’m Curious…What & Who Got Affected?
First, let’s answer the what. SEO tactics like blog comment spam (paying for poor quality blog comments); low quality guest blogging, where you replicated a bunch of guest blogs with identical bios; article duplicating; links from dangerous sites; and a wide range of paid backlinks are all going to be heavily discounted from site ranking factors.
As for who was affected: believe it or not, some of the big names included Dish.com and Yelp, who were apparently using some “bad SEO” to gain rankings and traction. The industry websites that got affected the most included retailers and real estate, of whom 33% were affected, according to SEOMoz. SearchMetrics analyzed a top 20 list of who were affected, list found here. Among these were eight porn sites.