Some of you may recall hearing or reading something about the latest refresh to Google’s search algorithm called Penguin 3. Google doesn’t let anyone know when they are making these changes and they are usually first noticed by folks who make their living in SEO and then some time later Matt Cutts from Google confirms it.
So what is Penguin 3
As mentioned above, this is the latest update to Google’s search algorithm, which is what Google uses to determine which search results to display for a particular search. Google, in an effort to improve the quality of its search results, has made this move to keep people from “gaming the system”. Historically, one of the factors that Google used to determine the value of a site was the number of sites linking to it. SEO professionals figured this out and out of this a whole “black hat” industry of selling inbound links from external sites was born. Penguin 3 was designed to thwart these questionable practices.
Now that Penguin has been out for a little while we know what it’s doing to search results. Basically, it shakes out as follows:
No more purchased links – Shady companies have built a whole cottage industry on selling inbound links. Now, more than ever, placing a link to your website on a site that is entirely unrelated to what you do is not only not helpful, it will actually get you penalized. Make sure to monitor your site’s inbound traffic and if you’re getting traffic from sketchy, spammy looking sites use Googles inbound link removal to disavow these links.
Don’t get carried away with the anchor text – There was a time when Google looked very heavily at the anchor text that was used on links and attached heavy emphasis to the keywords in that text to determine the value of the content on the destination page. Penguin 3 has made Google a little smarter about how it looks at this text. Stuffing keywords into these links no longer works and can even heart your SEO. Google now looks at the content in context and ranks it much more meaningfully.
Not so fast with the guest blogging – For quite a while, guest blogging was a great way to get quality inbound links to your site. Guest blogging is where you create content such as a blog or article and place it on someone else’s site with links back to your own page. The problem was this led to people paying to get blog content published and questionable sites popped up all over the place offering such opportunities. So what does this mean? Well, guest blogging is still a great way to promote yourself and your business, but you need to do it on a reputable site that relates to your industry. Make sure that it’s quality content that is of genuine interest to readers and that any links back to your site go to content that is related to the subject matter in the guest blog.
Penguin 3 has meaningfully affected less than 4% of all sites on the internet. That doesn’t sound like a big number, but if it hits your site it becomes a very big deal. The way to Penguin-proof your business is to use solid SEO link-building practices:
Create great content like blogs, infographics, videos, podcasts, images and alike
Promote them through legitimate means such as industry-related sites and social media networks
Don’t pay for inbound links. Develop your links organically by reaching out and networking with thought-leaders in your industry.
Optimize your content. Make sure you’ve got content that includes keywords that your buyers might be searching, but do it in a natural, organic way.
Have any questions about Penguin 3? Contact me and I’d be happy to discuss it with you. Have a great day…and keep the Penguins at bay!