If you're having déjà vu after Penguin, which is a Google algorithm update that was released near the end of April, you're not alone. The update sent many companies reeling, and a considerable number of small businesses were affected by it. It's easy to feel defeated and hopeless, but the fact of that matter is that there is plenty of rhyme and reason to the latest update. By understanding why the update was implemented and what it targets, you can make the necessary changes to improve your website's ranking. Learn more about Penguin and how to cope with it below.
The Goolge Penguin Update Highlights the Continuing Importance of Good Content
Like the Panda update, which was Google's attempt to do away with low-quality content that was being churned out by content mills like Demand Studios, Penguin largely revolves around content. As before, the quality of the content on your site is critical. The old changes have not been eliminated. They still apply. You can't hope to meet the demands of Penguin without cleaning house and ensuring that your content is well-written, original, engaging and informative. Content also needs to be updated constantly, so you need to make an ongoing investment in updating your site with fresh content.
Remove any Black-Hat SEO Tactics
Google does not take kindly to black-hat SEO tactics. A black-hat tactic is one that attempts to bypass Google's latest algorithms. Any technique that quickly improves your site's ranking without requiring a decent amount of work is likely to be a black-hat one. One very common black-hat tactic that continued to thrive in the wake of Panda involved incoming links, or backlinks. Google assesses the number of links that point back to a site while determining its ranking. Those links are supposed to be "genuine." There are many sneaky ways to get around that, and Google is addressing these issues with the Penguin update.
Ideally, a link that comes into your site should be relevant. It should come from a site that relates to yours in some way. It's easy to get links from random sites, but it takes a lot more work to round up plenty of links from a wide variety of sites. Link building is important, and it takes time. With the latest update, Google is looking more closely at where links are originating. It is also looking more closely at the anchor text that is being used on and off a site.
Anchor text refers to the clickable text that makes up a link. To prove the relevance of a link, people deliberately include specific keywords in its anchor text. In the past, this technique worked well. Google has gotten wise to the fact that people are using seemingly relevant words in their links' anchor text in order to fool the search engine. The Penguin update looks for red flags like an excessive number of links with matching anchor text. This is considered to be a form of keyword stuffing, and it can make your ranking plummet.
For the links that point to your site to matter, they also need to come from authoritative sites. It's not going to do you a lot of good to have a ton of links coming from low-ranking sites. If most of your incoming links come from sites like these, your ranking was probably dramatically affected by Penguin. Quality trumps quantity, so get to work on producing links from sites that relate to yours and have high rankings. It is doable, but it takes time and effort. Once it has been accomplished, your small business website's ranking should improve.
Invest in Quality Content
You're not going to have an easy time getting links from high-quality, relevant, authoritative sites if the content on yours is low in quality. With great content, your site will come across as professional and authoritative, which will prompt better websites to link back to it. There's no way around it: You have to invest in quality content if you want to maintain a great ranking in the world of Penguin. As discouraging as it may be to see your site's ranking tumble, you can bring it back up again. You simply need to tweak your SEO to address Penguin's standards.
For more advice on maximising your sites rankings following the penguin update then contact us for SEO training or consultancy advice