Affected by the Google Penguin Update?

Affected by the Google Penguin Update?

Has your website and organic search engine rank been affected by Google’s recent Penguin Update?

The Penguin update was released in late April 2012 and has impacted a significant number of web properties.

Read the official blog post on Google’s Webmaster Central Blog.

Google is continually working to create a relevant and credible search experience for its users and this update continues the tradition. The main goal of this update is to penalize websites that are “spammy” and attempt to “cheat” the search engine by utilizing techniques that are considered to be unacceptable. The focus is on what is being termed “over-optimized” websites: those that are targeted more toward search engines and not human readers.

Dubbed “Penguin“, this is an “algorithmic” update and if your website has been affected, you need to take corrective action immediately. After corrective action is taken, and once the Google bots re-crawls your website, there is a good chance that it will start to rank again – as long as the offending items are corrected as needed and your approach is genuine.

Watch out for the following:

-Website content with excessive number of references to your main keywords
-Website content that appears to be developed for search engines and not for human visitors
-An unnatural link structure where the link distribution is perceived as spammy
-The bulk of your inbound links come from blog comments or forums
-Website content that is duplicated, copied or scraped from other sites or pages
-An excessive number inbound links that originate from your own site
-An unnatural distribution of anchor text tags
-Website content is stale as in old and not regularly updated
-Duplicate content across more than 1 domain(s)
-Not having enough content “above-the-fold” ie before having to scroll down
-Multiple domains with substantially duplicated content
-Doorway pages that were created just for search engines

“Spammy” Techniques – if your website is over-optimized, immediately take steps to remove as much of the over-optimization as you can. Avoid techniques such as cloaking or keyword stuffing like the plague – such techniques are sure to get your site removed from the Google Index. And, if you have an excessive number of keywords (high keyword density) in your content, Google will see this as keyword stuffing. Use synonyms if possible – the Google search algorithms are smart enough to understand synonyms and establish relevance.

Quality – focus on quality – the key is for existing customers to share your content across their properties. So take immediate action to correct spelling mistakes, typos, bad grammar and other readability problems with your content – show Google that you are interested in genuine content and do not want to be mediocre.

Content – Publish genuine & meaningful content – if you don’t have a blog, add one in short order. Establish a regular blogging frequency and no matter what, stick with it. Add a FAQs page and update it often. Add an educational content where you provide meaningful content to help your visitors.

Video – Use video strategically to publish even more relevant and meaningful content – syndicate video via sites like YouTube, Vimeo, Smugmug and others.

Social Media – Give social media the attention it actually deserves: update your social presence regularly and do it such that you really mean it and don’t be perfunctory. At the very least, build a complete Facebook and Google+ profile. And look into Pinterest, currently the 3rd largest social media network, behind Facebook and Twitter.

Google+ – this one is a given – since Google+ is a Google property, it would make sense if it received a bit more interest than Facebook, Twitter and others so create a G+ profile and regularly post content on it

Meta Tags – do not repeat keywords in your title tag, enforce the 65 character limit and enforce the 150 character meta description limit.

Think outside the box – you may not feel that social media is a good fit for your business and for the life of you, you cannot imagine how to leverage social media. Believe it or not, 9 times out of 10, there is a fit; and it generally takes some thinking outside the box. So, take the time to come up with ideas on how to be different with social media, especially within your industry.

And more than anything, if Google-got-you, don’t fret. Take genuine corrective action and before you know it, your website will be back where it was. Don’t take this as a negative update, rather, take this as a challenge and make your organization stand out even more than before by focusing on meaningful, relevant and great content!

So, was your business affected by the Google Penguin Update?