How to Prepare for Google’s Latest Penguin Update
It’s confirmed. Google’s next Penguin update is officially on its way. In case you wondered, Penguin isn’t the cute and cuddly black and white animal you might think it is, it’s the name of a powerful Google algorithm update that’s being used to really shake things up with the search rankings for those websites who have been spamming the search engine.
If the first Penguin update has anything to go by we certainly need to be holding onto our hats (not black ones either!) to ensure that your website isn’t affected.
It’s been just over a year since the first Penguin update that affected many high-profile brands and saw some sites disappearing off the rankings altogether. Matt Cutts, head of spam at Google, confirmed the speculation that another major algorithm would soon hit our screens “sometime in the next few weeks”. Thankfully, this time Google have given us some prior warning; so now is the time to prepare and make sure your site is fully “Penguin-proof”.
Here are some of the highlights that Google has revealed so far that Penguin 2.0 will be shaking up:
- Advertorials: look at targeting advertorials that violate Google’s quality guidelines. If someone pays for coverage, or pays for an ad, those ads should not pass link equity. Interflora were culprits of this earlier in the year and disappeared from the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) temporarily. Google wants websites to be clear to users when something is paid and when it’s organic. Matt Cutts explains:
“Clear disclosure of sponsorship is critical, and that includes disclosure for search engines. If link in a paid post would affect search engines, that link should not pass PageRank (e.g. by using the nofollow attribute).”
- Payday Loans: it will look to target specific queries relating to “payday loans” where spam is prevalent.
- Link Spam: It will target yet more link spam. Google can sniff a bad link a mile off now, but they’ll be rolling out a new system that gives them more sophisticated link analysis so that anything vaguely link-spammy is immediately devalued.
- Hacked sites: It will try to detect them better and provide more information for webmasters through Webmaster Tools who have had their site hacked. This is something we should all be happy about as the more information and metrics we can gather from Google Webmaster Tools about our site, the better!
- Authority Sites: Google is looking to reward authority sites in niche industries that produce great content. Google Authorship plays a huge part in this as a way to link content with the Author – and it looks as though this is set to get even bigger in the coming year.
- SERPs from one single domain: Google are looking at reducing the number of clustered search results appearing in Google (i.e. one website appearing multiple times in the same SERP for a given keyword).
So is Google’s Penguin 2.0 a cause for concern? If you’ve been dabbling in grey-black hat techniques such as spammy link building – then it could be an interesting few months ahead for you.
Developing a clear content-led strategy is a sure fire way to future-proof your site against any major algorithm changes. You should also think about writing content for industry-related sites that your customers are likely to visit that’s going to provide you with additional traffic. If this is what you’ve been doing, then there’s no need to be concerned, but it’s certainly enough to keep us all on our toes!
If you’re worried about how Penguin 2.0 will affect your business, or you simply don’t have time to create great content that’s going to improve your search engine ranking, contact us.
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