Although penguins are one of nature’s most harmless creatures, the penguin is dreaded in the SEO/internet marketing world. For search marketers, Penguin 2.0 signified another major step forward in the direction of helping quality websites rank near the top of Google.
It’s not a perfect solution for accomplishing that, but you can bet many SEOs are terrified of the potential ramifications of this Google algorithm update. Websites that aren’t engaging in SEO best practices might find their rankings severely penalized, which could take months, or longer, to recover from. Speaking of ramifications – what are they, and what do they mean to website owners like you?
Changes Penguin 2.0 Brings and How You can Adapt
1. Link relevancy – It’s been getting tighter over time and it’s getting tighter now. Links to your website must be from sites relevant to yours. If you run a garage door service, you shouldn’t have links from gambling websites. However, you should have links from business directories or do-it-yourself type websites.
2. Limit exact-match anchor text – The words “anchor text” are the anchor text of that link. Google uses this text to determine what your website is about and how to rank it in its search results. Somewhere around 10 – 30% of your anchor text should exactly match your keywords. Anything more than that looks suspicious and unnatural to Google, and overuse can harm your search rankings. The rest of the anchor text pointing to your website should be a variation of one or more of your targeted keywords.
3. The rate at which links are acquired – Most websites acquire links gradually over time. If your website experiences a dramatic spike in links, Google becomes alarmed. There is no exact numbers on this, but think about it this way: it takes time for word to naturally spread about your website, so it only makes sense links will slowly attract to it. If you do build or ask for links, it should be done at a nice, steady pace. Some dishonest SEOs will attempt to manipulate this in order to increase your rank quickly, but it only hurts your internet marketing efforts in the long run.
4. Disavow harmful links – Since it is clear that some links will hurt your website’s rankings, it’s important to get rid of the ones that most likely do. Google has a disavow tool, which allows you to list the links to your website that you would like Google to ignore when determining your search rankings.
There is no perfect method of determining which links are causing trouble, but if you look at a website and ask yourself, “Is this a website I’d bookmark or tell my friends about?” then you also know whether or not the link is a good or harmful one.
5. Create new, quality content and get active on social media – With Penguin 2.0, Google more than ever before places its focus on authority websites. An “authority” website has regularly updated and authoritative content. Get at least 1 blog post on your website per week, and 2-3, or more, if possible. Make sure you share this content on your social media profiles, and ensure you keep your social media profiles active and sharing valuable content (both yours and from third parties) as well.
6. Make sure you have good, quality content – If your website pages have 100 words on them briefly discussing your business, that’s not considered quality. Also, your blog articles should contain your expertise, but they must be written in an intelligent way.
If your content reads like someone in elementary school wrote it, you’re probably hurting your search rankings. Your content doesn’t need to be award-winning in its presentation, but it should appear like someone who has a good grasp of writing, and the subject, composed it.
Does All This Sound Like Too Much?
If so, that’s because it’s a lot to do. Google is very serious about helping the best websites rank the highest in its search rankings, and keeping your site Google-friendly involves extensive amounts of hard work over the long term.