SEO.com’s Google Panda Update infographic was as thought-provoking as it was anxiety-inducing – with the updates producing uncertainty for many marketers and SEO gurus over the past few months.
More than 80% of penalised websites are still struggling to recover from the Google Panda updates (and improve their SEO accordingly).
It’s evident that Google is focusing on unique content as a priority, and if you get this right, your organic traffic will surely improve, right? I wish it was that simple!
Google Penguin update gets tough on content
Panda updates began on the 24th of February 2011 and had the final update on the 19th of April 2012, with the Google Penguin update rolling out on the 24th of April 2012.
‘The Penguin’ is often referred to as the ‘WebSpam’ update and the results include eliminating bad websites who have reached the top of Google search results by performing great search engine optimisation (SEO), but not necessarily having the best content.
The apparent addition in Google’s algorithm from Panda to Penguin updates is this evaluation of incoming links. Google analyses if your site uses link schemes to force rank improvement. If so, your domain will be penalised.
The aim is to reduce the ‘mass spamming websites’ from ranking higher than those websites that have original content and deserve to be first in line.
Those most affected by the Penguin update are those who have primarily used a link building scheme at one time or another. This video by The SEO System highlights some issues and ‘red flags’ to avoid a term I call ‘PPU’ or Post-Penguin-Update!
I’ve summarised a section of this in-depth video below…
Off-Page SEO red flags to avoid after ‘the Penguin hit’
1. All inbound links use the same anchor text
For example, if you are trying to optimise for the term ‘digital marketing’, and every link to your website includes ‘digital marketing’.
This happens when people start contracting to companies (to generate inbound links), and the company has generated thousands of those links with the term ‘digital marketing’. Google sees this as spam and a poor attempt that deserves penalisation.
2. Links all come from the same source
If your strategy was to write articles and generate inbound links, your website appears unnatural, because all your links come from article directories. You have no links from any other sources aside from article directories and Google doesn’t smile at that thought!
3. Links come from ‘shady’ sources
This occurs if you perhaps contacted a company and they put your links for ‘digital marketing’ on a site that has to do with diets – completely unrelated and this irrelevance will cost you.
On-Page SEO red flags
1. Keyword density
Using your keywords too much on your webpages. This used to work, but not anymore! Our advice is to keep keyword density per word at around 2-4%. You may need to edit your site by using synonyms of your high density words.
2. Exact match domain penalty
Google is targeting websites with exact keywords in their domain name. Try eliminating this if possible.
So what’s the strategy moving forward?
A good question to ask is ‘Is my website the best out there?’ If your site is unique and has great content, then it’s worth putting in the effort – but ONLY for quality sites. You can’t simply ‘do SEO’ to tick that box anymore. It has become a process and one that requires refining. If you have a quality site and it’s worth putting in the effort, you should follow these steps:
- Vary anchor texts
- Vary inbound links
- Remove keyword density
- Report your site to Google .
Some parting tips: To rank high organically, focus on lowering your bounce rate and continuing to focus on quality content, and uploading it often! Good content will organically grow links in the way that Panda and Penguin want!
A history of Google’s algorithm changes shows how Google is perfecting the way websites rank – and they won’t be stopping at the Penguin update! I’m excited to keep watching as they perfect their SEO ranking style…