Over the past few weeks I’ve seen an increase in emails to myself asking certain questions like:
- Why has my traffic dropped?
- Why have my rankings dropped?
If you haven’t already heard, the penguin has been let loose!
Official announced as the Webspam Update on the 24th April 2012, it was quickly renamed ‘Penguin’, following on from the Panda Update last year.
Matt Cutts wrote a post about the update here, in this post he wrote:
“In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines. We’ve always targeted webspam in our rankings, and this algorithm represents another improvement in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content.”
So in a nutshell, they are cleaning up the web (again) so the search engine results are of a better quality for the user.
One thing to note in the quoted text above is the mention of ‘quality guidelines’; below I’ve listed my top 10 tips to make sure you are adhering to these.
1. Avoid hidden text
This doesn’t mean you can’t use cleaver jQuery functions, just make sure the user can access this text in a natural way either via a button or text link.
2. Avoiding cloaking
This is when the user and search engines might see two different pieces of information, more on this here.
3. Write quality content
If you have a blog or news section, make sure the content is quality and of value, the same applies to standard web pages. All web copy has to be user focused, not plagiarised and reads well.
4. Avoid mirroring other sites
If you have a well established website, don’t just mirror (or duplicate) this on another domain, it will look very spammy and could potential harm both sites.
5. Avoid paid links
It may seem tempting to buy the odd link from relevant sources, but avoid it at all costs! Buying and selling is a big no, no. The only paid link I would suggest is one from the Yahoo Directory (http://dir.yahoo.com/)
6. Get social
Social media is becoming one of the most important parts of SEO, join Twitter, create a Facebook page, promote your videos on YouTube, and establish a presence on Google+. These will form an important part to your online presence and success.
7. Avoid low level article marketing
Creating press releases and using the correct channels to do this is fine, but distributing a piece of content across 100′s of article sites is spammy, and we’ve not even considered webmaster who will copy and paste the text onto there own site.
8. Build links naturally
Something which I mentioned so many times, use social channels, local business directories, connect with others on forums and let them spread the word about you – if you want to know more, this guide I wrote might help.
9. Avoid cookie cutter pages
Something which I’ve not talked about much on my blog; these are pages specifically for search engines that have identical pieces of content on, with the odd one or two words changed.
10. Don’t keyword stuff
I still see this everyday, a piece of web copy which doesn’t read well and littered with exact phrases/keywords. Use synonyms, topic modelling or latent dirichlet allocation, you can read more here.
Do you have any ‘Penguin’ SEO tips? Leave your comments below.