The Google Penguin update that was launched on April 24, 2012 rocked the SEO industry. Not only did the update penalize countless websites that used shortcut methods in creating and promoting content, but it also transformed the way mass internet marketing works. In fact, a new manner of looking at things became necessary in order to stay on top of the rankings.
Here is a simple guide that outlines a post-penguin SEO strategy that will prevent your website from getting the Google slap:
Step 1: Understand how Google Penguin works
First of all, you need to understand how the Penguin update works. Much like the Florida update that was launched a few years ago, the Penguin update utilizes a new algorithm that looks at individual webpages and analyzes them for useful content. Google now punishes webpages that are filled with irrelevant material by examining its bounce rate.
Furthermore, webpages that use black hat linking methods, keyword bombing, or unwarranted redirects are also penalized. In short, Penguin lowers the ranking of webpages that are written solely to beat the search engine system. In order for your website to avoid getting delisted, always create webpages with the readers in mind rather than the search engines and you will be rewarded in the long run.
Step 2: Understand what to focus on
Actually, you need to ask yourself “who” to focus on rather than “what”. In order to be effective in a post-Penguin world, set your sights firmly on your readers. Make sure that your website and content are geared towards providing visitors with valuable information and are entertaining enough to make their stay enjoyable. You can accomplish this through the following methods:
1. Reduce focus on keywords
When you write content, don’t think about keywords. Naturally written material that provides relevant data to the readers will always be superior to articles that are bombarded with keywords and fluff.
2. Use natural link building techniques
Link to products and relevant websites, but don’t excessively link to your own website or its pages. Once again, focus on providing links that would actually help your readers. Don’t participate in low-quality link building schemes where you receive links from websites that are obviously spam.
3. Reorganize your website
If necessary, browse through the pages of your website and remove any hidden text or bad links. Look at your sitemap and delete duplicate pages or those which no longer serve any purpose. A visitor to your website should not be presented with any navigation problems, or worse, get assaulted with malicious Trojans or phishing schemes.
4. Provide useful content
To belabor a point already stated previously: always provide useful content. The quality of your content will be the X factor that determines the success or failure of your website. Do you own a website that sells tiles? Impart visitors with information on different styles of tiles and how they can be used in homes. Do you own a website that handles real estate? Offer key insights on real estate trends in your area. Create content that is chock full of value so that your readers will want to bookmark your website for future use.
As your website grows in prestige, you can offer guest-posting opportunities to other experts in your field so that your readers can get even more information. Furthermore, constantly check to see if the information you provide is up-to-date, and that new articles are posted on a regular basis. You can also present videos and other multimedia if your website format allows it.
5. Become a social butterfly
There’s no better way to acquire loyal readers than to interact with them on different social media networks such as Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Create accounts on these platforms and respond to any visitor comments. You can take things further by holding regular contests and giving away prizes for your readers. Also, reach out not only to your visitors but to your peers as well. Provide outgoing links to valuable content on other websites and you will soon see that their webmasters will return the favor. A marked improvement in your traffic will occur as more people share your content with their various social circles.
Step 3: Perform damage control if necessary
Knowing how to move forward after the Penguin update is only one part of the puzzle. Another issue that is just as important is figuring out how to repair the damage done by any black hat SEO techniques and link-building programs you’ve participated in. While the former can be easily dealt with by going through your website and updating content, the latter can be much harder to remedy.
If you bought links from a company, you may have to get in touch with them and ask them to remove the links. This process might take months, but in order to stop being penalized by Google, you will need to make sure that every low-quality link to your website is eliminated. Start by examining all the links that you have, keeping track of the ones you want to delete, and then sending messages asking for their removal to all the webmasters involved. Check on the bad links every week or so until they are all gone.
To summarize your post-Penguin SEO strategy: “Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.” This one line, taken directly from Google’s Penguin update page, should help you decide whether any future SEO strategies you want to employ will pass the Penguin test or not.
It’s not what you sell; it’s how you sell it. Danny Todd, the Cleveland SEO Guy understands that sometimes the best brands get left behind because their web design and SEO has become outdated. The Internet is always changing! Google and the other search engines are always adapting! Keep your brand current and reach Google’s #1 spot.