Google Penguin Update and How to Recover
May 24, 2012 - Google Algorithm
Google Penguin UpdateIt’s no secret that Google has released an update called “Penguin”. You’ve probably heard of this update, even if your website has not been affected by the change. The update, also know as the “spam filter”, was launched with the intention of screening lower quality websites and other forms of spam from search results. Unfortunately, many good websites that employed what are now considered “gray-hat” SEO techniques are being punished with penalties and lower search rankings. Some websites have been hurt to such an extent that they’ve chosen to start their optimization from scratch and build a better online presence.
The Key to RecoveryDespite the changes and lowered rankings, it is possible to recover from the recent Penguin update and to continue with your web marketing. The key is to improve your content and links, making them appear more natural and useful to search engines. In other words, Penguin only targets over-optimized websites. This includes websites with high ad-to-content ratios, a high number of irrelevant links, poor content quality and over use of keywords as anchor texts. A Penguin penalty doesn’t have to mean the end of the world, it is possible to recover from it. Several methods have proven effective in obtaining good results, but it is important not to rush into making unnecessary changes.
- Improving on-page content is the first step. The Penguin update was not aimed at websites specifically, rather at their links. Your website’s content is the reason you receive links, making on-page SEO important in any Penguin recovery attempt. Make sure that your content is relevant to your website and does not contain any hidden text or links. Google is getting smarter than ever and is now trying to rank the quality as well as the quantity of content in your website.
- Next, make sure all your internal links are anchored to appropriate texts. The best way to do this is to use the titles of the linked pages title as anchor texts. Having a good site map is also very useful for improving internal link quality and searchability. Over use of keywords or links, i.e. over-optimized keywords, is one of Penguin’s biggest no-no’s.
- After you have rechecked and corrected your on-page content, the next step is to improve your incoming links. Many websites have relied on numerous irrelevant in-coming links in order to generate rank. Before the Penguin update, a link to a skateboard website from a pet-supply website was enough to improve page ranking; now, the content of the linking site is just as important as your own content. If possible, remove as many low quality links you can trace and avoid using link farming schemes in the future.
- Anchor text, anchor text, anchor text – Links from content sites are especially important to a Penguin recovery. Low quality content submissions with high-density, unnatural keyword inclusions cause a negative impact and should be taken down. Anything that can’t be removed can be overcome by creating new content following Google’s Best Content Guidelines.