Optimizing a Web Site in the Google Penguin Era
Just Say No To Spam!
Google recent changes are really intended to send a strong message that not knowing basic SEO will be extremely disastrous in the future. Google is constantly trying to improve their search quality for its users by constantly tweaking their algorithms to help achieve a more accurate experience.
In April 2012, Google did more than just tweak their search algorithms, it released a major update: Google Penguin. While previous updates have focused solely on improving search, Penguin focuses on removing spam and penalizing attempts to manipulate Google rankings.
What Google Penguin Means for You
The main takeaway from the Google Penguin update is that if your website contains quality content your site should not be penalized. White hat tactics of improving a website for search engine optimization purposes will still produce quality links. However, using poor quality link-networks, overusing anchor text links, duplicated content, and deceptive practices like cloaking will probably see their sites targeted.
Google is clear in their Webmaster Guidelines with the things they don’t want to see when it comes to quality search engine optimization, but it is a little bit more difficult to discover what exactly constitutes what they do want to see. In the end, Google wants their user to have the most pleasant experience possible, and it is the job of the web developer and the search engine optimization expert to help provide that positive user experience.
White Hat Techniques in the Google Penguin Era
Now that Google Penguin is here to stay, it is important that your site conforms to the highest possible search standards. It is not enough that you don’t actively participate in black hat tactics to optimize search, your site can’t have the appearance of using black hat search engine techniques. Even inadvertent violations of Google’s guidelines can result in severe penalties for your site’s rankings.
With this in mind, quality content is extremely important. Your site must provide the user with the information that they are looking for, and it must be easy for them to find. Copy can’t be content for content’s sake, and duplicate content needs to be avoided. Stay away from link spam, as poor quality links are some of the biggest Penguin offenders.
If your traffic dropped on April 24th, then your site experienced some repercussions from the Google Penguin changes. To recover from this, you need to take action to make sure that you aren’t permanently penalized by Google.
- Clean up your site by removing any spam or shoddy links.
- Make sure that your site isn’t a part of any poor-quality link networks.
- Create an easy that Google can easily index
- In general, make sure that your site provides the best experience for a user trying to navigate the website to find the information they need.
While Google Penguin doesn’t necessarily change the algorithms necessary to improve search engine searches, it does target spam and attempts to manipulate searches. As a site owner, it is important to remember that in the end you want users to have a quality experience as well, and these Google Penguin changes are just one more reason this is important.