What Google’s Newest Update, Penguin, Means for Small Business Websites
The ever-expanding (it seems) Google Zoo has struck again. In 2011 it was a Panda who caused all the commotion, with the algorithm change that targeted low quality content. A great many sites were hit but by the time Panda popped up again in the spring of 2012 most people had been through it before, had changed their ways if they were smart and the news was not too upsetting.
Apparently though Google is not a big fan of letting people get too comfortable. Right after Panda appeared again a new creature was unleashed – the Google Penguin – and once again Google’s not so cuddly critters have become the talk of the Internet marketing world.
What is Penguin?
According to Google, and most specifically according to their Head of Webspam Matt Cutts, Penguin has a mission that is more specific than the one that Panda undertook. The Google Penguin was unleashed to hunt down web spam specifically and penalize what it, acting on behalf of its search giant creators, felt were the offenders.
So What Does Upset the Penguin?
Just like all the other algorithm updates that Google has rolled out over the years the real specifics of Google Penguin will probably never be understood by anyone other than Matt Cutts and his team. Several weeks after it was released (and it has actually already “done the rounds” twice) there are some things it has become obvious that the Google Penguin really, truly dislikes.
Bad Backlinks – Webmasters have spent years worrying about gaining a lot of back links and often they were not to careful about where those links came from. If you have ever entered your sites in lots of “free directories” or published blog comments without checking just where they came from you may have bad links pointing to your site that you know nothing about.
To check the links coming into your site you can head to your Google Webmaster Toolbox (if you do not have one you should get one now) where you can easily check. You will also be able to see any warnings Google may have issued about your site if you do not make a habit of using Webmaster tools.
If you do find links from bad places getting rid of them will not be easy. The guidance in the Site Health feature in Google Tools can help you though.
Comment Spam – Blog commenting has been an SEO measure that thousands of webmasters have used to gain back links for years. What the Google Penguin really seems to hate are keyword stuffed signatures and exact match anchor links one that directly links a keyword that a site is trying to rank for. If you have used this technique then it may be time to revisit your plans before your site is penalized.
Irrelevant Guest Posting and Article Spam – A number of people who had relied on their participation in paid blog networks got an early preview of just what Google Penguin could do These people received warnings from Google (although they may not have seen them if they did not use Google Webmaster Tools) that unnatural linking practices had been detected on their site and they faced a penalty if the situation was not addressed.
Penguin does not like article spam either. Those who made a habit of submitting the same articles – or “spun” versions of the article – to general purpose article directories using exact match anchor links have been penalized as well.
What Does Google Penguin Like? – It is not so much what Penguin likes but what Google is looking for. Sites with good, well written (Penguin hates bad writing and sloppy proofreading) original content that is updated regularly and written for humans not search bots will make Google happy. Content that is not heavy on keywords will make Google happy. Real social signals that people are actually reading and enjoying the content are also increasingly important to Google as well.
According to Google the Penguin update affected only about 12% of the English language sites they index, so hopefully most people have noticed nothing at all. It is still a wake up call for everyone though. Stop worrying about writing for search engines and focus on humans and the Penguin should pass you by without causing any harm and hopefully it might even reward you for doing all the right things.
Koehler Home Decor is an established, reputable provider of wholesale home decor accessories and unique gifts. We are committed to your business success. If you’re sourcing exciting new inventory, searching for great business tips or seeking free drop shipping services for your store, you’ll find quality wholesale home decor accessories at Koehler Home Décor and great business tips on our blog.