Google is the god of search, and most businesses are doing all they can to propitiate the search engine giant. Most of us turn to Google when we want an answer to almost any question, and the great god supplies it. Millions of businesses around the world want their website to show up when potential customers or visitors search for a specific set of keywords. And so we invest lots of time and effort in SEO.
Many business that had spent years trying to come to the top of the search rankings were pushed into oblivion by Panda and Penguin updates. Here, we will talk about the Penguin update and find a way of recovering from penalties imposed by this update.
What is Google Penguin Update?
Google Penguin is the name of an algorithm update that was announced on 24 April, 2012. It was launched by Google to catch websites that were spamming Google’s search results. Penguin update led to:
- Devaluation of back links from shady or low quality sources
- Crash in ranking of several websites
Many businesses were building links through automated networks, buying links, and creating backlinks to websites using dozens of different methods, with the sole intention of boosting search rankings. These were worst-hit by the update.
Penguin update has affected 3.1% of Google queries, and it mainly targets websites that use black-hat SEO techniques like link schemes, keyword stuffing, duplicate content and cloaking. Penguin 2.0 was rolled out on March 2.0, and Matt Cutts said that this version of the update delves deeper into the issue of spam and punishes more black hat techniques while rewarding websites that don’t use such techniques.
What are the advantages of Google Penguin?
For websites that have been hurt by the Google Penguin updates, there aren’t any advantages, really. For most businesses that were using popular SEO techniques, the Penguin update was bad news. But, many businesses saw their ranking shoot up because of Penguin. Most businesses that did not use any black-hat techniques benefited from the Penguin update. Also, as the search results improved, most people searching Google can also be said to have benefited.
Penguin hit my website. What can I do?
There are several factors that can cause the Penguin algorithm to devalue your website. When your rankings plunge, it can be disastrous for your business. Most businesses that are hit by Penguin have reached the top ranking only through black-hat techniques.
To get back to the top of the rankings, you will need to follow a long-term strategy. You need to get rid of bad links, copied content and keyword stuffing. Parallelly, you need to start working on white-hat techniques like proper content marketing and social media marketing.
# 1. Detoxify your Link Profile
Links from link schemes and from shady websites hurt your rankings. There is a good chance that you have built thousands of such links over years – you will need to identify such links and remove them. While they used to help you rank better at one point of time, now they are simply dragging your website down in the search results.
If you cannot remove all the links, add them to a disavow file and upload it into your Google Webmaster account. If you do not see any improvements in your ranking even after a months, submit a reconsideration request to Google highlighting your efforts to clean up your backlink profile.
# 2. Adhere to Google Webmaster Rules
Unnatural link-building of any kind is ripe for existing or upcoming Google penalties. You need to make sure that all the steps you take for improving your ranking comply with the Google Webmaster rules. While there are still certain grey-hat techniques that seem to work, you must avoid them.
# 3. Publish High-Quality Content
Your only chance of getting links that are useful is through top-notch content. For this, you will need to act more like a content marketer and less like an SEO. The goal is not just to get a link – the goal is to create powerful content that is genuinely useful to the readers. Guest blogging is a good idea, but mass guest blogging with the sole aim of getting backlinks could get your into trouble.
# 4. Stick to Best Practices On-site
Remove any keyword stuffing and content duplication issues affecting your website. Also, make sure that your website works well and there aren’t too many bugs or errors. Make sure that the pages load fast, give proper tags to all the files and create effective page titles and descriptions. This will have an overall good impact on your rankings. While this activity has more to do with Panda, you must make it a part of your strategy for better rankings.
# 5. Diversify: Leverage Social Media
Many businesses have depended for too long on SEO. Now that most of the SEO practices are proving to be more harmful that useful, it is time to reduce your dependency on search results. Learn how to use social media to connect with potential customers and find ways of generating leads through social media services.
These are the basic methods for dealing with negative impacts of the Penguin update that have worked for us. Are there some other methods that are working for you? Please do let us know in the comments.