Got Penguin Poop On Your Head? How To Deal With Google’s Latest Update

by mjtaylor on May 8, 2012

Cleaning Up Bird Poop After The Google Penguin Came Home to Roost

Penguin Update by Google

Squeezed By Penguin-Cum-Boa Constrictor

Google has once again raised hell at the SERPs with yet another update to the infamous Panda. The new update is called Penguin. Funny how the big G has a way of associating the most radical and far reaching updates to their algorithm with the most harmless animals. To those whose businesses have been drastically affected by the changes they might as well have called it boa constrictor.

So, is it goodbye to SEO as we know it? Well, truth be told nobody really knows. The only revelation Google is making is that Penguin is intended to weed out SPAM sites — websites that flaunt the rules laid out in Google’s quality guidelines.

The  guidelines are meant to guarantee search users of getting the most relevant and accurate content based on their search terms. This means that any duplicate, spun or spammy content is under attack. Despite the search giant’s noble intentions – to provide quality results — these changes have raised their fair share of controversy. Some quality websites that dominated the search engine have slipped out of the SERPs entirely or well down the slope. And most controversial of all: it appears it’s now possible for your competitors to use negative SEO to bring you down by creating low quality spammy content and links to your site.

Is your website among the casualties? Before you jump off a cliff in frustration, there are a few tactics that’s could just see you survive the Penguin poop.

The Google Penguin Has Come Home to Roost: Recovering From The Penguin Update

A lot has been said about the recent Google Panda update; Penguin. However, short of whining and throwing tantrums in SEO forums and social media, there’s little else that can be done to stop it. In fact, Google updates their search algorithm more often than you actually realize. Your best bet is to simply accept that it is here to stay, adapt and move on. Playing victim won’t help matters. So how do you move on after being knocked off your perch by the big G?

Are You Following The Rules?

If you want to get back into favor with Google, the first step is to understand what exactly they require from a webmaster in terms of SEO. However, going over what they actually want would take forever. Therefore, the best approach would be to go over what constitutes bad SEO.

Spam Under Penguin Attack

Simply put, SPAM is any manipulation of search index pages. A ‘spammy’ website focuses on pleasing search engines as opposed to improving user experience. In a nut shell, you are expected to abide by the rules when it comes to content and links.

  • Content

“Content is king”…. The cliché of the century is back, bigger and better. This time they’re serious. Google is hell bent on making sure content takes back its rightful throne on the internet. This simply means that you should say goodbye to the barely readable one dollar articles that have been the cornerstone of your article marketing. As a matter of fact, you need to change tack completely. Instead of writing one articles and submitting spins to hundreds of directories, write good quality articles for your website first and then post additional, quality articles in respected article directories and 2.0 websites. You must absolutely avoid spammy black hat strategies such as keyword stuffing – you’re best off removing ALL your meta keyword tags entirely since no search engine uses them as a positive factor anymore — , using article spinners, incorporating hidden text in your content and using doorway pages.  Make sure your site is not “overoptimized.”

Power Tip: Easy way to approach deoptimization: keep your keyword density under that of the sites that rank above yours.

  •  Links

Links are still at the core of an effective SEO strategy but they must be quality. In the past lower quality links simply could not hurt your standing in the SERPS.  However, with the Penguin update the game has changed.  Linking to bad neighborhoods has long been risky; now your site can be damaged by getting links from bad neighborhoods.
You will need to analyze all your current incoming links and remove any that are low quality – or paid. Google is clearly getting very efficient at recognizing at paid links. If your site suffered in the recent update, you may have been hit with “Paid Penguin” filter.

If you clean up your site, it should recover naturally. If it doesn’t, Matt Cutts suggests you may have to start a new site! See more of what Google’s Matt Cutts says about The Penguin:

Checklist for Linking With a Site In The Future

Whether you are linking out or obtaining links, you need to consider:

  • Whether the domain is cached on Google;
  • The kind of websites linking to the site. Are they related?
  • The Google rank of the site. Lower ranking sites add little value to your reputation;
  • Google estimation of outbound links;
  • Quality of content on the website. Be wary of low quality content.
  • The domain and page authority (check through a service such as SEOMoz).

A Summary of the Not-To-Do List

  • Do not stuff your site with keywords;
  •  Do not use hidden text and links;
  •  Avoid hidden redirects and cloaking
  • Avoid duplicating content on multiple domains, sub domains and pages.
  • Avoid sending automated requests to Google
  • Do not create malicious websites e.g. phishing sites
  • Do not create door way pages meant for search engines.
  • Any affiliate program should have unique and original content.

Additional Resources To Help You Shovel The … Penguin Poop

You can’t go wrong if you follow the advice of John Britios on quality content and semantic construction. I follow his SEO Workers Facebook Group.

Have you got … um … egg on YOUR face from the Penguin? Share your poop here!

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