Google Penguin 2014

Recently Google rolled out its latest iteration of its Penguin algorithm bringing the world of search version 3.

What is Penguin Algorithm?

Google has a bit of an animal theme to its search algorithms, but unlike large versions like Panda (currently on version 4.1) Penguin has since April 2012 been aimed solely at taking the fight to webspam in the search results.  It does this by cracking down on sites that use ‘Black Hat’ SEO techniques or are just plain spammy.  The kind of things it looks at are paid links, keyword stuffing and anything that contravenes the Google Webmaster Guidelines.  In previous updates Google has added any tricks it missed the previous times.

As this update is yearly at present this has meant a site affected in one version has had to wait until the next version to be re-assessed, so a year possibly of being unlisted. Obviously as a business this can be catastrophic if you are affected especially if it’s down to poor SEO rather than any spammy or nefarious intent.

How do I avoid Penguin?

Again like any article talking SEO and Google I should re-enforce Google’s aim that their search engine should provide users with the most accurate and relevant results. If Google ranked and served spam sites to you in the results, you would stop using it and Google loses out on revenue.

Remember great and fresh content will always win the user over so Google also really loves this.  Create quality content that people will love and you are already one step ahead.  Don’t try and game the system, there are no shortcuts – No matter how many adverts you see for quick and cheap SEO help from so called SEO companies. Buying links is not the way to be successful.

The following areas that are penalized by Penguin:

  1. Paid backlinks. I see ads all the time on Social Networks like Twitter for link building. 9 times out of 10 this will involve the buying of paid links. It might sound good to have 100 sites linking to your small business page but this is a fallacy.  Google really does not like paid links and is doing its best via Penguin to punish this practice.
  2. Low-quality backlinks.  This leads on directly from the above, back links to your site need to be quality which paid certainly won’t be. Google gives each page on the web a rank (PageRank) with a score 0-10.   For example to is better to have a handful of links from a PR7 then it is to have 10 where a PR is 1.  Backlinks from sites that are relevant to your site and are of quality is what to aim for.  If poor (or spam) sites are linking to you then it signals to Google that your site might also be poor.  Remember quality content.  Want to remove low quality back links?  Check out Google Webmaster Disavow tool.
  3. Key word stuffing anchors.  Though it has been considered good practice to use keywords and links together over time this has developed into one of the main ‘black hat’ bad practices. Again it comes down to good quality content. Can you imagine how this post would look if every time I mention Google I also turned it into a link?

Need more help with the basics or Search Engine Optimisation? Then check out my articles on simple SEO and SEO mistakes to avoid

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