Wednesday 26 June 2013

Google Penguin updates – What do they mean for you?

There has been a lot of talk about a new algorithm update from Google. So what is it and what does it mean for you and your website?

Google did in fact roll out a Penguin 2 update last month. This was a major update and according to Google it has affected 2.3% of English & US queries. Does not sound a lot but that is an enormous amount of websites and many have seen their rankings plummet.

Google’s main aim here is anti-spam! Their targets were those websites with unnatural and manipulated inbound links. Back links have long been a major element in SEO but as a result many black hat techniques have been used to manipulate ranking results. Some SEO agencies were therefore creating hundreds of low value, low quality back links that had absolutely no value to the reader. This included directory sites and link farms whose very reason for being was to provide a back links for optimisation purposes.

Many companies have been caught out in this update simply because they employed an SEO agency promising great results for a very low price. The result was wholesale purchase of low quality links that will have flagged the Google spiders.

So what of the future? SEO will continue to evolve but the current key is quality. Take care to publish impeccable content both on your site and others. This content must be unique and informative, the sort of content that will encourage natural back linking and sharing.

When it comes to back links web masters should take the time to identify low value spammy links and have them removed. Be meticulous about this and then submit a re-consideration request to Google via your Google Webmaster Tools.

Then go on to build nothing but high quality back links that do not overuse keyword anchor text. As a general rule only 50% of anchor text links coming back to your site should be keyword specific. Focus the remainder on building your brand. Guest blogging is by far the best vehicle for this.

Maintaining social media activity is essential as keyword and brand mentions are monitored by Google. Aim to get your content discussed, liked and shared on the popular social media channels. This in itself will generate quality back links and hopefully will keep readers coming back for more.

Google will never stand still, so learn, adapt and stay alert for the future.