On the sunny shores of Western South Africa lives the native Jackass Penguin, also known as the black-footed penguin. The latin root of the penguin species, “demersus”, means “plunge”. Why am I speaking like a National Geographic writer? Well this week, Google decided to “plunge” deep into the ocean like a penguin. Well, not really…let’s just say they used their time to plunge the rankings of sites who possibly could have been black-footed or spammy themselves.
It has been interesting week to say the least. From one standpoint I was excited, and from another completely nervous. Knowing that I perform whitehat SEO practices, I knew that the probability of being nailed by Google’s Penguin algorithm update was rather small, however, I still know that often times algorithm updates can take down the clean with the dirty.
That being said, still to this day most of my clients are not seeing anything if at all in terms of the impact of the algorithm update. It may still be too early to notice, however, from most of the articles from industry experts, many of the sites impacted have already noticed significant negative ranking changes. No, not 3-6 positions in the search result pages (SERPs), we are seeing 30-50 position adjustments at times.
For those unaware of this new algorithm update, Google has basically come out against SEO’s or webmasters who employed spammy SEO tactics to acquire links, or search marketers who decide to anchor text spam Google with exact match internal and external links. An over-optimization penalty basically focuses on low quality content with keyword rich optimizations throughout the site with external and internal links following suit. Sites who decided to mirror another site with a different domain name or even different content completely, yet internally linking the two sites throughout their web ring, have seen some authoritative link dilution from the use of these tactics.
Therefore, in order to secure or attain the top positions within the search engines, I recommend the following:
1. Develop user rich optimized content – This is content that is truly going to help the users in one way or another. It will either offer them “how to” information, or “did you know data”, or even paint a picture of a complex topic in an easily digestible manner or simplify the purchase decision process.
2. Share your content – As more and more of these anchor text and link spam algorithm changes occur, the natural and temporal algorithm levers are going to become more and more important. Therefore, make sure you let the industry experts, bloggers, and leading authorities in your niche know about the information or helpful content you have developed for your target audience.
Both strategies will force you to constantly be chasing the user to provide the most relevant information for them in a fresh and timely manner. It will also keep you ahead of the future algorithm penalties, as the search engines are also trying to stay as relevant as possible to the users who leverage their engine to find content in order to grow advertising revenues via this traffic.
I am interested to know if anyone has experienced any specific penalties in the last few days and is brave enough to share their opinions.