Help, I’ve Been Penguinized!

So you have been Penguinized, hopefully no worse than you were Pandalized. What was this update from Google all about and how can you counter so that you maintain your SERP presence.

Penguin was an algorithmic update set worth by Google to do what all algorithmic update before intended to do, better search result relevancy. The Penguin update was specifically intended to combat overly-spammy web pages. Google took aim at sites with unnatural back links, crap content and overstuffing of keywords.
Since Penguin came out of the gate the consensus of many is that this was more of a link profile update than on page. In regard to unnatural linking penalization, this refers to links which are of slight relevance to the linked site or page, junk links (blog comments, junk guest blog posts, and over targeting non-branded keywords). I find the frenzy a little strange as I noticed bad link profile penalties post Panda and the J.C. Penney controversy of last year. But let’s say you did your junk link building in the last six months, new nothing of Panda and are wondering how to come back after the recent Google spanking.

Take a look at your analytics for the last month or 4/24 to now vs. the comparative previous period. What pages took a large dip? These are the pages we need to take a look at.

-What do these page’s link profile look like? Are most of the links anchored on a specific non-branded keyword? Is there a certain site type of link, directory/blog/forum that compose the majority of linking sites? Until Google provides my much desired Google Webmaster Tools functionality to discredit links, you have to do some clean up. Either you will be forced to contact webmasters to revise anchor text or you will be in need of creating quality links to these pages to counter the spammy presence currently held.

-Take a look at the pages themselves. Can you easily tell what term you are targeting? Over time you may have SEO’ed the page to death and now are finding out your page is so keyword driven it isn’t quality content useful for a user. While this update is likely more focused on your link profile we still need to consider the guts of the page and your keyword over-usage. Are you duplicating content? Run the page through a site similarity tool or simply copy a paragraph of text and Google search it. You may content duplication issues deeming this page as a low quality page.

These two tips above will likely take quite a bit of time to complete. What you are doing is also training your mind or your team to develop high quality content and sound linking initiatives than focusing on link or content quantity. With this, Google has won as this is how they want webmasters to operate. Write content and link content in a useful manner to help provide relevant results for search queries. SEO is quickly moving from tips, tactics and techniques to public relations. We are moving into an online world regulated by algorithms that want to see how well we can create quality content and develop relationships with social spheres and relevant link sources. Gone are the days of focusing on link counts and indexed pages but asking yourself, “what content can I create that will bring a qualified visitor or be shared to create a relevant link?”

  • Two of my SEO friends who are also my former office mates said that they are using brand names instead of keywords and they said that they are not affected by penguin and in fact they said they their rankings went up.

    I also strongly think that on page SEO plays a huge part in this update.

  • These updates effects only those sites more who are misusing the search results only for being on top. Google strictly penalize or decrease ranks if he found any of the sites not following his guideline now.