Google Penguin Update Forces Webmasters To Adapt
The Google Penguin update has shaken up quite a few people in the last week. Starting last February, Google announced its Panda updates, which aimed at taking low-quality websites out of their index. That update caused quite a bit of confusion because it heralded a new era where old tactics didn’t work they way they used to. Penguin takes things even a step further.
Google stated the update was intended to level the playing field for all webmasters by ‘rewarding’ high-quality websites. Of course these terms are relatively meaningless without context. Most webmasters think of their websites as being ‘high-quality,’ so when they’re demoted, they tend to lash out. Google claimed they aimed this update directly at ‘black hat webspam.’ For people who lost rankings, being labelled a ‘black hat webspammer’ is a tough pill to swallow. Naturally, not too many people have stood up and accepted their penalties happily.
Many webmasters running now-penalized websites say they didn’t participate in the types of schemes that were attacked by Google Penguin. Many said they never concentrated on ‘backlinks,’ let alone ‘black hat backlinks.’ However, over the years, it’s safe to say that numerous companies casually engaged in purchasing ‘backlink services’ offered at low costs in order to increase their rankings. Naturally these campaigns were low-level spam jobs that created numerous links from sources like ‘blog comments’ and ‘forum profiles.’ When checking someone’s backlinks, it became common to discover tens of thousands of these types of links. In fact, as more and more people saw these tactics working, they copied them for their own websites, hoping to stay up with the competition. Soon an ‘everybody’s doing it’ mentality arose. Google’s new update seems intent on stopping the perception that it’s ‘OK’ to spam backlinks, even if your competitors are doing it.
Of course not everyone was penalized. In fact, any time one website falls in ranking, another rises to replace it. Many White Hat SEOs rejoiced at the new update. It seems their tactics have been rewarded at last. The old idea that’s it’s best to ‘do nothing’ and ‘focus on the user’ is back in style again as the damage of ‘over-optimization’ decimated many keyword rankings. In light of this update, let’s take a look at what probably works and probably doesn’t going forward.
Post-Penguin Do Nots
- Don’t ‘build backlinks’ of dubious value with the hopes of influencing search engine rankings.
- Don’t place backlinks on highly unrelated or low-quality websites
- Don’t use ‘spun content’ or gibberish to make content, even to link back to your main website.
- Continue to produce high quality content that’s designed to solve user’s problems.
- Do your job as if Google never existed, focusing instead on what benefit your website can bring visitors
- Build a fast-loading and eye-pleasing website with a clear navigational structure
- Concentrate on social aspects of marketing your website