As you may or may not know, Google Penguin hit the webisphere in April , shaking up business and company websites here there and everywhere. Although the exact algorithms are a closely guarded secret at Google HQ, they have made clear that the overall update was focused to target those that violate the quality guidelines set out for search engines and content.
The updates and guidelines with Penguin haven’t changed per cé at all, but with the crackdown Google are reiterating the areas that should be focused on at all times and the ones that should be avoided at all costs.
It seems obvious in principle, yet so many people (intentionally and unintentionally) still fall into the hole of some of the well known malpractices such as hidden text, site redirects, cloaking, etc, all well known spam techniques that are given the cold shoulder by Penguin. The two major areas that are being clamped down on are keyword stuffing, and link schemes – websites particularly with too many inbound likes from random sites with highly irrelevant and keyword stuffed content. Both areas we will cover in a moment.
It is easy to ‘over think’ SEO, and find yourself adding keywords here, there and everywhere for an affect more adverse than advisable. With Penguin, it is as important as ever to have usability at the forefront of every content decision you make.
As cliché as it always sounds; Content is key. Write for your users, NOT for the search engines. Ensure anything featured is informative and relevant, adding clear value to your customer experience. Put on an impartial hat, and read over your website, would you be interested in your own products or services? Do you have all the information you need? If you don’t feel fully impartial, ask a close friend/colleague to do so.
Once you have on page quality content, you can step into social circles and share (and track!) links back to your website. It is also worth investing time into a newsletter or blog (check out our post on how to set up a successful company blog) for regular informative content that readers can refer to on a regular basis. With both these in mind, you can build up rankings organically and naturally, much as the Google Zoo intended.
While a perfectly genuine, and neede SEO activity to increase your website value and rankings in Google, this axctivity needs to be performed 100% in line with Google T&C. There are many ‘companies’ offering link building services and schemes, offering increased rankings and perfect PR for your business. They often use ‘black hat’ method of marketing has always been frowned upon within the industry, and with Penguin on the look out – will soon become non existent as a method at all.
These methods can often include links to bad net-neighbourhoods and link with web spamming pages, and this web-hoodlums will drag down and negatively affect your own page ranking, leaving a black mark on your SEO strategy with Google, penalised rankings or website being removed from Google altogether.
Opt for natural and organic links; build up relevancy using social media, forums, local directories and other mediums where your data is read, received and ultimately – relevant. Remember, it can be better to have 10 quality back links from trusted sources than 100 from low quality ones.