If you think your website has been affected by Google’s Penguin 3.0 algorithm change, chances are you have been going about “doing SEO” the wrong way. This article will describe the wrong way, the right way, and what to do moving forward.
Has my site been affected by Penguin 3.0?
This is a question people will be asking me in the very near future because Google is preparing to release the next major update to the Penguin algorithm. As you can tell I am writing this article before the algorithm change has taken place. Why is that? The answer to this lies in the rest of this article, so read on.
As for algorithm changes, discovering if your site has been affected is usually fairly easy. If you have been practicing black hat SEO and you have a sudden drop in traffic or rankings right around the day the algorithm change takes place, then you have been affected. You may know which key phrases you were ranking for or you may see this drop in traffic in your Google Anlaytics dashboard. Either way determining if you have been hit is usually not too difficult. There will be no notice in your Webmaster Tools dashboard as those notifications are for websites which have had manual actions placed against them by a human.
What is the Google Penguin 3.0 Algorithm?
The Penguin algorithm is the nickname given to a part of Google’s algorithm which is designed to decrease the organic rankings of a website that has been trying to rank higher via manipulating the search engines. Google is always updating their algorithms but the last major Penguin update took place in 2013. Penguin 3.0 will be happening in fall of 2014. Today is October 7, 2014 and I am expecting this change to take place shortly. The penguin algorithm is designed to whack sites which have obtaining unnatural links. I am guessing that revision 3 of this algorithm will look at dates links were placed online and the anchor text of the links.
An example of an unnatural links portfolio is a website that has 20 links pointing at it that say “Used Cars Charlotte NC”. That is not how links work in the real world. 9 out of 10 times when people link to you they are going to link to your brand name, or just your URL (eg: www.telapost.com). I know this for a fact as I have helped people for years now obtain natural links. These links come as a surprise and I never know how people are going to link to my client’s sites. The link I see the most of is the word “here”. The context and relevance of the link source should be more important than the word which is linked and it only makes sense that as Google’s algorithms evolve they will attempt to weed out unnatural links as opposed to natural links.
I love the Penguin.
There are many species of penguins and some mate for life. I feel mated to Google’s penguin for life in a way (I won’t cheat on you, baby). This year alone to this site and client sites I have been fortunate enough to build a great link portfolio. This includes links from highly authoritative domains. We’re talking geographically relevant .GOV and .EDU domains, Wikipedia articles, and more. I see people cheating on the penguin every day and I know there day is coming. Will Penguin 3.0 whack them? Will it be an aftershock? Will it be Penguin 4.0? I’m not sure, but I know there day is coming. Most of the links my clients get these days come as a pleasant surprise. I always look forward to algorithm changes, and I am ready for Penguin 3.0 to get here.
Examples of websites that should be penalized:
One of my most recent clients is a realtor. I gave his web designer a fair shot but they are just filled with lies and deception. It takes a lot to get me to this point but I actually dislike the old company very much. Every real estate agent they push a site out to has a link back to the marketer’s site which says “Real Estate Website Design by ***** Marketing”. Agents using this site are unable to change this text. They have literally placed this anchor link on thousands of websites. They do show up very well in search if you Google real estate website design. This is spam and just one of the many deceptive practices that this particular company is involved in. Their sites are just fine but when it comes to marketing and the other thing the firm offers they are stuck back in 1998 and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they still use 33.6K modems over there.
I now have multiple clients in the personal injury field. It is one thing to talk about SEO, it is another to be in the trenches of the SEO battlefield. If you study this scene in California at all you will be amazed to see the sites that are winning. Some do not even produce content on a regular basis and have come out on top via press releases and comment spam. Any SEO guru that tells you links are not king has no idea what they are talking about. Depending on the niche, as of late 2014, content and/or links = rankings. This should not be the case. If I were able to place manual actions on websites a lot of attorneys would have a very tough time in search, and for good reason.
What should you do if you were penalized?
If someone did it to you, fire and or sue your SEO person. I love small businesses. Having owned multiple companies in my past, I understand that American businesses are the heartbeat of America. I understand that many people in the SEO industry are deceptive and sell snake oil. Then there are some that mean well but have no idea how to actually rank a site in search. Either way, if someone has taken your money and the phone is not ringing with clients on the other end saying “I found you on Google!” then stop paying them.
What I do here is the same thing I’ve done for ages. I build my last 3 companies on content. Heck, in 1992 I had an awesome BBS I built on content- that is why people came to it, to see what was on it, what the game scores were, get the latest news, etc. Now I produce content for clients. Eventually it gets discovered by someone who can use it and they link to it. As mentioned above, in 2014 alone my client’s content has been ranked to from news sites, Wikipedia, .ORG & .EDU domains. This isn’t even necessary though- after a period of time of having excellent content going up the domains I work with become topically relevant for certain things. Often new blog posts that go up on authority sites like these have their new post dominating in Goolgle search in approximately 6 hours.
Moving forward you should create great content. How to rid yourself of a Google Penguin 3.0 Penalty remains yet to be seen however I’m sure SEOs will be out there disavowing spammy anchor text links to their site and cleaning up their link portfolio. Since it is an algorithm change I’m sure this will be enough to eventually recover. Google is expected to release many tweaks to this algorithm moving forward so people who were penalized should have a chance to clean up their act and recover. If “create great content” is to vague for you perhaps it would benefit you to read something more actionable such as my article Take your content one step further.
Need help recovering?
Most business owners run out of content ideas, and even the smartest SEOs may lack creativity. I happen to have a great amount of both. I am technical enough to understand technical SEO and algorithms, savvy enough to understand what content may result in which links from where, and just barely creative enough to be able to come up with brand new content ideas; this results in me assisting small businesses, realtors, law firms, and medical professionals with their content. If you have an advertising budget and understand the massive success that can come from ranking in Google search feel free to read about Telapost’s content creation services or simply contact me today.