Google Penguin: AKA, “Get Your Act Together”

Posted by Devin Kostrzewski - December 15, 2012 - SEO - 7 Comments
google_penguin

Since Google’s newest and somewhat controversial algorithm update dubbed “Penguin” first hit the web in April 2012, users quickly discovered that Google’s update was anything but small, cute and cuddly.

Hundreds of thousands of websites were slapped with Google “penalties” informing them that until they fixed their website of “manipulating their PageRank” through various shady methods, they would continue to be excluded from SERP’s indefinitely. Even worse? The rest, potentially millions more, weren’t even informed.

Now, don’t get me wrong – Google isn’t “out to get you” or your company (though with these new updates, you might think so). But there is an important lesson here.

For every genuine, hardworking website on the Internet, there are literally thousands of malicious, illegitimate websites vying for the top spots of search engines posing as legitimate sites to get exposure, advertise clients, and make money at the expense of real people and real companies. This is nothing new.

Fortunately, Google has been after these types of websites since they first began, and thank goodness; with so many tactics for manipulating search engines (spamdexing, link building, keyword stuffing , invisible text, and countless others) Google would be a graveyard of spammy, incoherent (albeit clever) jargon websites designed only to increase traffic and exposure for shoddy, shady, and shallow websites, if they were left unchecked.

Still, it’s not fair for the genuine, honest startups and other business sites that have been thrown in with these phonies, through no fault of their own. Though Google Penguin is designed to further isolate and promote only the most relevant and topical websites for users, it’s not perfect; neither was Google Panda, nor will the next Google update (Polar Bear? Puppy? Platypus?). Still, as a smart SEO, it’s your job to go with the flow and adapt to the ever-changing maze that is Search Engine Optimization.

But how?

Almost as frustrating as the realization that your website has all but disappeared from the Google search page is the fact that Google is very keen to keep the secrets of their new Penguin algorithm classified. They offer small pieces of advice (who hasn’t heard “write for people, not for search engines!” Sure, Google), don’t be spammy, create relevant content with lots of followers, etc. Nothing everyone hasn’t heard before.

But I propose a new idea – the trend Google Penguin is advocating can simply be interpreted as this: “get your act together.”  And you can do that with these 3 foundational ideas that everyone has heard before, but no one is really making a top priority:

1.     Creative and Unique Content

2.     Followers

3.     Buzz and Talking

Wait – what? That’s almost too basic. Where’s the epiphany, where’s the secret to Penguin? Obviously a good website has these 3 things.

True, these are not secrets from stolen Google blueprints cracking the code from their complex algorithms; this is common sense. But we can clearly see that Google is pushing common sense to websites, not by creating far-reaching, specific indicators like keywords or links, but genuine user accessibility.

These three qualities are indeed what make a website great, and really, these are some very important things you need to adapt to Google Penguin based on some recent research – good content, and interested people who are talking about you.

Google Penguin is fitting their search engine to match just this. Simple.

So it’s time to get your act together, or more specifically, your website’s. In the past, things like keywords, backlinks and repeated phrases were the undisputed key to staying in-sync with Google’s updates, particularly Google Panda. Now, it seems that Google is moving away from this veritable laundry list of “relevancy” and is now moving toward simple high quality websites, and you can’t fake quality, no matter how hard you try.

Google is coming full circle, and it’s time to go back to basics. Your new priorities include:

·      Maintain a steady stream of relevant, contextual information that caters to and helps your audience,

·      Encourage your audience to follow and subscribe to you, and,

·      Give them reason to talk about you on their own.

SEO is becoming harder and harder to manipulate and influence, and that’s ok. Although it might take an edge away from you or your company, it also means that spam sites will disappear, and genuine sites like yours will have a fair, reasonable chance to battle for the top spots, without any tricks or unfair advantages.

Get your act together. Hire a quality writer who knows how to talk to people (not search engines), create a reason for people to follow you, and reward them for doing so. Go back to basics. Your genuine efforts will pay off, and you might just find yourself coming out on top on Google Penguin.

About the Author

Devin Kostrzewski

Devin Kostrzewski is an SEM Expert and well experienced professional in content marketing. Devin began his career in SEM and IM while in college and now serves as the Director of Accounts at Spread Effect, a leader in the content marketing and publishing industry. Spread Effect is able to make your online brand a thought leader through content creation and effective promotion. Devin often writes about SEM tactics, business development, and SEO. His man goal is to help brands develop a strong online presence as well as online brand creation. You can find Devin on twitter @dmak_11 or connect with him on Linkedin or Google+