It’s been four weeks since Google released Penguin, its most significant algorithm change since Panda. Penguin has affected around 3.1% of English queries since its release on 24th April. You may be wondering how this affects your business – keep reading to find out!
What’s It All About?
Unlike other Google algorithm updates, Penguin’s primary focus is not improving the quality of search results for users – at least, not directly. Rather, Google is targeting web spam and websites that do not comply with its published guidelines. Many “good” websites have been negatively affected as well, even if the quality of links is only mildly questionable. Even the E-Web website, which has held the #1 spot for the term “SEO” for years, has yo-yoed up and down Google’s rankings – up to seven times in one day.
What Actually Happened?
To make a long story short, Penguin targets over-optimised websites. Penguin has stopped rewarding and has even penalized some websites that have:
- built unnatural links
- built a high proportion of links with the same anchor text
- a higher keyword density
- a lower number of site pages
- keyword matching domains
Ultimately, Google wants to reward and promote reputable websites on their terms, but in the process many high quality websites have been punished for having unnatural links built to them. An extreme case is the search results for “buy Viagra”, historically one of the spammiest online niches. Some of the highest ranking sites are unrelated to the industry or even inactive. Clearly, this change still requires some fine tuning.
What Are We Doing?
Our team of Digital Marketing Specialists has dedicated most of May to counteracting any negative effects of Penguin, as well as future-proofing our systems and approach. This entails:
- Analysing our clients’ link profiles to make sure they are as natural as possible
- Checking anchor text distribution of links we have built
- Greatly improving the social signals generated as part of our strategy
- Ensuring that on-page SEO is optimised in the right balance
- Checking page speed and bounce rates
As time goes on, we will continue to research and respond the effects of Penguin.
What Can You Do?
At the end of the day, you engage in SEO so we can improve your web presence and increase your online business reach. Google wants everyone to comply with their guidelines and is therefore unhappy when they are stretched. While we are constantly keeping up to speed with Google’s algorithm changes to keep you ranking well, here are a few things you can do you on your end to make Google happier:
- Content is king – update content on your blog frequently, and if you don’t have a blog, now is the time to make one!
- Get social – implement social sharing buttons on your website and on your blog posts
- Improve the usability of your website
- If your rankings have been negatively affected by Penguin, you can submit this form to Google.
Penguin has reinforced that SEO is a long term process. Shortcuts are no longer passable and black hat SEO tactics are a thing of the past. Now more than ever it’s important to think of long term content strategies that deliver what your target audience wants.
We can expect that Google will roll out some Penguin updates in the near future. Stay tuned – we’ll be sure to keep you up to date with the latest Penguin news!