What the Google “Penguin” Update Means for SEO

By now you should have heard about the most recent Google update to its search engine, titled “Penguin.” This change has devastated some websites that were taking advantage of the types of marketing and SEO that Google tries to eliminate through punishment.

So far, it appears that web developers, internet marketing companies, and SEO specialists are furious by the new algorithm. Some have been downgraded, despite their claims that they have followed Google guidelines to the letter.

What do you have to do to avoid having your site buried in the search engines? Here are some tips to keep you ahead of the curve.

1) Don’t backlink from low ranking sites

Authority matters in this new, Penguin-infested world. Like the Panda update from early 2011, spammy backlinking from poorly ranked websites are more harmful than beneficial.

Google likes websites that have high authority and despise those that are merely content farms were artificial backlinks grow. With each new update, websites who use those garbage backlinks are being increasingly shoved down the search engines.

The one problem with this system is the inability to determine which sites Google grants the most authority to. The rankings seem skewed at best, arbitrary at worst. SEO researchers like myself will continue to run tests to crack the new algorithm and figure out how it makes decisions.

2) Use anchored text links

Although Google has made tremendous strides to penalize websites for keyword-stuffing that manipulates SEO to the point it becomes un-readable, they do still encourage anchor text links.

Anchored text involves using a keyword/phrase and linking it to relevant content. This anchored text holds more weight than other text and tells the Google bots what content the linked page contains (or should contain).

The difference now is that you no longer need to have the EXACT phrase in the anchored text, so it can be more natural. If you were advertising “discount Caribbean vacations,” for example, the anchored text could say something like, “find discounts on travel destinations like the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, and other great vacations” instead of a word-for-word repetition. As long as the linked page is relevant, the key phrase will benefit on the rankings.

3) Exact match domains were not crushed

One early rumor was that Google was trying to destroy “exact match domains.” What are those? Well, they are website’s whose address is the same as their key search phrase. Using the above example, “discount Caribbean vacations” would have the address “discountcaribbeanvacations.com.” Luckily, Google has no problem with these, so business owners do not have to completely change their web domain.

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The biggest issue comes from monitoring your progress. If you begin to slip, consider removing spammy backlinks. If you are succeeding, find out what is causing the rise and continue doing it. The key to success is to push the boundaries without stepping over them.

Consult Trimark Internet Marketing Company with any further issues or questions you may have about Google, Penguin, or your own website.