Google isn’t too different from Kentucky Fried Chicken: Success was earned through a secret recipe. In Google’s case, the secret is the algorithm it uses to find and rank search results. On April 24, 2012, Google changed the rules to better stay ahead of the scammers and voila! Google’s Penguin arrived.
Google’s update back in April called Penguin is the new sheriff in town. Enough companies had reversed engineered the previous algorithm and learned how to predictably change Google’s results; which is against Google’s policy for how webmasters should behave.
These black hat SEO techniques ranged from keyword stuffing to cloaking and are exactly what Penguin was designed to seek and destroy. Despite the worries the update cause after implementation, Google reported about 3% of web searches were positively influenced by it.
Did Google’s Penguin sink your site to the second screen of results? Were you too aggressive? If Penguin did pull the wrong man out of the line up, you can file an appeal with Google, but first take these simple steps to make sure you’re lily white.
- Was it the Penguin’s fault? Look at your inbound link patterns and see if there’s a huge number of inbound links with a high exact-match keyword anchors? Nothing looks quick as suspicious as a thousand links all anchored to words like “Best jai lai in Tampa.”
- Find the poisoned links. You need to audit your inbound links and look for keywords in the anchor text. The Penguin thinks that any links that are above the 2% threshold for your site smell premeditated.
- Clean up those links! Go peer–to–peer. Contact fellow webmasters who are poisoning your site with links and ask / plead / beg that they remove them. Remember: You’re asking them to do you a favor because there’s nothing in this for them.
- Now, link-up again! After you’ve cleaned up your act, it’s time to get started building those better links. Keep this in mind as you do so:
- Maintain a strong diversity of domains pointing to your site.
- Ensure that the types of links (press releases, blog posts, forums, etc.) are diverse too.
- Make sure the anchor text is as uniform as possible.
So, is it a game of penguins or cat and mouse? Google changes the rules and we find a way to work around it. Google changes the rules and … repeat ad infinitum. This post describes what you need to do this year. Next year, who knows, but be sure to check with us again because we’re bound to have more useful suggestions to keep your website penalty free.
Mercedes Potter is a writer and Online Marketer for one of the leading SEO companies in the industry, Webimax. She details what Google Penguin really is, how it can affect your website and what you can do to counteract it. Follow her @CedesPotter to see stay up to date on the latest SEO news and updates.