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Google Penguin Update

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Listening to the SEO world, Google’s latest Penguin update has caused a lot of tears, seeking to put a stop to Google’s search results web spam by trawling through numerous sites and clamping down on unnatural links. As a result, the past few months have seen thousands of websites being hit with the dreaded penalty message, which for some has resulted in vanished rankings. So, are you one of the unfortunate many whose site has been affected?

Courtesy of Matt Cutts tweeted instagram picture – http://twitter.com/#!/mattcutts

The last few months have seen many link networks, both private and publically owned, clamped down on by Google. Many of these link networks have taken a severe hit and some even de-indexed, which has had a knock-on effect on the rankings of numerous sites. Is your site one of the many to have relied on one of these networks? Or have you even been slapped with the dreaded penalty message? If so, then you have most probably fallen victim to the most recent infamous Panda update.

Google Panda was first launched in 2011, with the intention of Google to eliminate low quality sites and the majority of web spam from the search engines. However, since then more than ten updates have been launched, each more ruthless than the last. So, if you find yourself scratching your head at your vanishing rankings then you can now be sure of the culprit – Google Penguin.

The Importance Of Natural Links

Before we discuss our findings on Google’s latest clamp down on links, it is important that you understand what Google are looking for inbound links and how they work. As you already know, linking is of crucial importance to your website, as Google considers all links to your website as votes of confidence in your site. Therefore, the more votes of confidence, the higher a ranking you deserve. However, the ranking of your website is dependent on a number of things; the number of links to your website, the quality of the sites that they come from, how quickly your site has acquired these links and the anchor text (‘key words’) that are used in your linking sites. Google’s algorithm takes all of these factors into account when analysing your link profile and are programmed to detect any imbalances such as poor quality links or anchor text, which will then flag up your site as a potential problem.

So what are Google looking for in your link building? Good-quality and unique web content will always result in others wanting to link to your site naturally, resulting in much-needed natural links.

Has Google Targeted Your Site As A Result Of Unnatural Links?

One reoccurring theme amongst sites that have taken a recent hit from the Google Penguin update is that they appear to be dramatically lacking in natural links. Here are several noted problems which affected sites seem to have in common:

  • Paid links using anchor text which is an exact match: Buying links from other websites with the exact same search term as you is one way of achieving a higher ranking. However, this is against Google’s guidelines as they do not see it as a site trying to offer visitors any value, but instead as a way of manipulating PageRank.
  • Article marketing websites: These were producing weak content littered with exact match keywords.
  • Comment spam: Sites doing this had two key problems; people using spammy user names which were an exact keyword match and signatures in comments with again, exact match anchor text.
  • Linking from dangerous sites: A number of sites were flagged up as a result of using inbound links which contained numerous pop-ups and malware.
  • Posts on low-quality, irrelevant sites: Sites deemed by Penguin to have links coming from poor-quality websites filled with useless content but numerous keywords were also punished by Google.

As you can see, there isn’t anything new or unusual compared to what Google has previously stated as unacceptable. However, it is the recent changes to Google’s algorithms which have enabled it to get up to speed with those who had found loopholes which gained them higher rankings. Therefore, if you have been utilising any of the above techniques then this may be one of the primary reasons behind your penalisation from Google. As Google has always stated, using link schemes and similar practices will always

“…negatively impact your site’s ranking in search results.”

So, What’s Next For SEO?

If you have been dramatically affected by the Google Penguin update then you are probably anxious to repair any damage that has befallen your site. Fixing all of your spammy link issues may seem like the best way to resolve the situation, but unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way of restoring your ranking position and outsmarting Google.

Google’s algorithm is continually changing and being updated, therefore, seeking out long-winded plans and loopholes with which you can quickly manipulate your way back to the top of the search engines is futile. For long-lasting, continually high rankings the road is long and requires patience. The first thing to ensure is that your site is making the very best of exceptional-quality content – this will help to give your number of natural links a fantastic boost. Once you have done your very best to clean up your site, you may also wish to consider a more efficient form of marketing for your site which doesn’t solely rely upon Google; this will help you to escape the endless worry of having to compete with Google’s ever-changing algorithm. Having said this, the best advice that you can take for now, is to be patient and concentrate on perfecting unique and up-to-date content for you sites. Responding to your penalty with impulsive action is the last thing you should do, as by the time you have put new tactics into motion, Google may have changed again. So take you time, carefully analyse your link profile and for now, focus your energies on bringing in those natural links.

If you would like to talk with one of our SEO experts or request a free, no-obligation quote then please get in touch and let’s talk.

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