Penguin 2.0 Google Search Update to Impact 2X More Sites
In case you miseed it we are in the midst of another Google Search Algorithm update being referred to as “Penguin 2.0”. This one according to Google Algorithm Chief Matt Cutts, is predicted to impact 2.3% of English search queries as compared to all past updates, none of which impacted more than 1%.
We first noticed it well before the Matt Tweeted that we were in the middle of the new update because the steady traffic increases all of our clients were receiving suddenly went haywire for a few weeks. While things are slowly getting back into place its worth checking out the things that this new update is focussing on.
The update targets websites with spammy backlinks and uses new technology to uncover and punish pages that deviate away from Google’s webmaster guidelines. This is interesting to us as we get emails forwarded to us from clients from these spammy SEO services pomising them top rankings which would be via this sort of backlinks The update is also is degrading the benefit of those whose domain name includes keywords.
So What Can You Do to Make Penguin 2.0 Happy?
1. As always, ensure your homepage has good content.
What is good content? Its got to be enough to clearly describe your products or services but not some much that it becomes unclear what you do because you’ve stuffed so much content there that nothing stands out. I tell clients to think of it as if they have $10 with which to buy Google’s attention. If they spend all $10 on one topic they will get the most attention but it probably won’t be able to cover all their products and services. Similarly spending $0.01 per topic will get you 1,000 topics but Google will hardly pay them any attention. We look for a balance…something like $2-$3 per topic which means you should focus on no more than 3-5 things.
2. Ensure your content is socially relevant.
Because we specialize in business websites as well as eCommerce sites, a fair number of our clients disregaurd Social Media’s importance to their business. They reason their customers don’t send time on Twitter or Facebook for example. Well besides the fact that their future clients spend time there, having your content spreading out to social media sites and including backlinks to your website is important for signaling to Google that you are alive and well. Also, Google takes into account social bookmarks and “likes” for determining your site content importance.
3. Use sitemaps.
There are two kinds of sitemaps. There is the search engine sitemap often referred to as “XML Sitemap” and then there is the kind that is for people and commonly found on the footer section of a website. Both are important but particularly the XML Sitemap. For all of our clients we build these and submit them to Google. They improve site crawlability and ensure Google finds all pages. They also register errors in Google Webmaster tools if a link has an issue that Google doesn’t like. This is a valuable way to avoid problems in Google that you’d otherwise never know about.
The other ind of sitemap is more of a best practice and we’ve seen some evidence to support the fact that Yahoo / Bing does care about them in their own algorithm so we add them in most cases to be safe.
4. Use landing pages.
Sure your navigation links to all your pages and a person can find their way around (hopefully) by using it but can your important content, the stuff that you want people to find in Google and come directly to, stand on its own? Consider making special pages for each product or service type that is optimized to focus on everything one needs to know to make their decision and provide a way to take action without searching around.
5. Use high quality, unique, relevant content and keep it fresh.
This is the oldest one in the book but it gets more and more important with each Google Algorithm update as they seek to remove other variables that fool the system and Penguin 2.0 is not different. Custom articles, blog posts, videos and user generated content that contains natural links to your products and services are all examples of quality content.
6. Use good internal links.
Internal links are links in your content that link to other pages on your website. Good internal links use a mix of the exact keyword you want your content to be found with and diverse versions of that keyword.
7. Keep Track of Google Algorithm Changes
Here is a handy link to a page that you can use to alert you to new changes that could be impacting your website traffic.
Infographic Summary of all Google Penguin / Penguin 2.0 Algorithm Changes
This graphic is courtesy of the Brafton Content Marketing Group.