As you probably know and heard of recently if you are in the search engines optimization field, Google launched recently a bunch of updates. Started by the Panda update that did a lot of harm to micro niche websites, which has been dropped to late positions in the search engines result pages, in favor of big websites with thousand’s of pages. Then, they hit webmasters and SEOs with another major update and it was given the name of Penguin. Even that Google say it was a minor update and affected only 3% of search results, a large number of websites lost their ranking, many firms are complaining and made a petition online asking Google to kill their Penguin update! So what this is all about? Why these people has been hit and what are the major changes to Google guidelines?
First of all, the Google Penguin update is targeting websites that violate its quality guidelines, which would make site owners or SEO specialists aware of the new rules, what should be done and what shouldn’t. A long list of what shouldn’t be done has been introduced by Google. Let’s start by affiliates, if you are working in the affiliate marketing field and you sew your money making websites falling down in SERPs, you should have little to no content on your pages.
Google is encouraging affiliates to create valuable content in order to be able to promote products, the old style of one landing page with too much graphics and little to no content has been penalized. An advise for super affiliates, create value by adding more content, more testimonials and reviews and especially avoid duplicated content, this is nothing new to the guidelines but Google now with the Penguin updates take this very seriously.
If you’re content is 100% unique, you follow the new Google guidelines about duplicated content and you want to run a proper link building campaign you really should:
Avoid doorway pages and Cloaking:
A ‘Doorway’ page is a page with no content created just for search engines, here is what Google’s help center say about these kind of pages
Doorway pages are typically large sets of poor-quality pages where each page is optimized for a specific keyword or phrase. In many cases, doorway pages are written to rank for a particular phrase and then funnel users to a single destination.
Cloaking is very risky way to cheat and manipulate search engines, it’s simply to show search engines a different version of what users see. Here’s a video of Matt Cutts packed with information explaining cloaking in details:
Avoid bad linking and irrelevant links:
Google warns to avoid links on bad neighborhoods and link schemes as it will harm your website ranking, they introduced this to help decrease manipulation of Page Rank which would lead to a better user experience. As an example, take Build My Rank business, Google de-indexed their blog network and causes a loss of all their client rank so that they shut down their business. Also, from now to get more value you don’t need irrelevant links, try to get only high quality links related to your website niche from authority domain. All kinds of poor and irrelevant links will do more harm than good for your business, as it’s stated on Google’s help center here:
Your site’s ranking in Google search results is partly based on analysis of those sites that link to you. The quantity, quality, and relevance of links count towards your rating. The sites that link to you can provide context about the subject matter of your site, and can indicate its quality and popularity.
Avoid keyword stuffing and hidden texts and links:
Keyword stuffing is the fact of loading pages with irrelevant keywords that has no relation with pages content, in a attempt to manipulate search results. This kind of technique stuffing pages with keywords constitute a negative user experience, and will surely harm your website ranking. You need to get better at keywords to overcome to Google Penguin update:
Hidden text and hidden links should be avoided, this include for example the use of black text on a black background, the use of CSS to hide text, text behind images and so on.. It means that you don’t show search engines and users the same version of your website, that way you create 2 version one to be crawled by Google and the other to be seen by visitors. This will cause you a total loss by getting your website or business kicked out from search results.
Let’s sum up, beyond Google’s quality guidelines, if you are hit by the Penguin update and you want to recover from it and for your next link building campaign, here is a list of what to do and what not to do to get remarkable results:
- Try to build natural and relevant links
- Create high quality and fresh content
- Quality over quantity
- Article marketing still work
- Social networking is even better
- Diversify keywords for a natural link building.
- Use spun and duplicated content
- Get links from link farms
- Buy and sell links to pass page rank
- Stuff keywords
- Create doorways pages
- Excessive use of anchor text.
Google consider their Penguin update a success, a golden way to fight web spammers and blackhat SEO, even if there still a mess in serps leading to see low quality websites at the top of Google results! Have you been hit by the Penguin update? What do you think of Google’s new algorithm? A better or worse user search experience? please share your thoughts with us!