Google Penguin Update: Coping With Changes
Google Penguin Overview
The official launch date of the Google Penguin update was on April 24, 2012. The update aims to reduce web spam and penalize Black Hat SEO tactics. In the official blog post by Google, they gave examples of sites that contain excessive amounts of unrelated keywords, commonly known as keyword stuffing. Another noticeable change is that links that are found to be irrelevant can hurt your search rankings as well. As with any major update, controversies arise with the new algorithms and SEO groups are voicing out the possibility of Black Hat SEO techniques to bring down a competitors ranking.
Am I affected?
Over the internet people are expressing their opinions and the effects that are being experienced by their sites. While reading on forums, blogs and comments, people from both sides of the spectrum are airing their views and opinions. Most of the reactions you are likely to notice are from people who were negatively impacted. However, there is a handful of testimonies that their site went up in the rankings. And then there are people who did not significantly feel the impact of the update.
What can I do?
Google has expressed that Black Hat SEO or even over-doing White Hat SEO can affect the relevancy of your site in their search results. Knowing the basics of SEO will help you understand and cope with the ranking changes.
Know the importance and value of links. This is one factor in the update that plays a major role in site rankings. Learn the value of links in and out of your site. Incoming links must come from sources that have established quality in their sites. If you have previously paraded your all over the internet, it would be wise to take down links from sources with questionable or unrelated content.
The key is to have sites with similar, relevant and quality content link to other sites with the same profile. Take note that a set of algorithms is the ones checking the link value. It is not always perfect, but usually does a good job detecting bad links. Anchor text links, which are used in navigation and linking inside the content itself have significantly lower values.
It has also been stressed out that having a logical flow, especially in Sitemaps, helps Google index your whole site. Depending on the software you use to develop your site. Follow standard labeling, categorization and organization of site content. It is easier for the Google crawler to identify the flow of your site.
Minimize duplicate content and avoid re-spinning articles. Duplicate content may come up as web-spamming. If you have an update to your content, edit the original post, rather than creating a new one. Multiple articles with almost the same content can be grouped together in a single post. In situations that it will be difficult to incorporate content, add a noindex marker on the page.
Changing and adding site content can cause some people to edit the existing links as well. Constantly changing and rearranging the links can confuse the crawler and tag duplicate content. Always use proper redirect and 404 pages. Use software or plug-ins that can find, analyze and correct link duplication. Always can have a new Sitemap after major changes to update the crawling procedure, but try to keep the old one up for transition.
Analyze and monitor your site. Having good monitoring tools will make it easier for you to understand the whole site structure and how the Google bot crawls the site. Keep in mind the changes in SEO techniques you apply and how it affects the site. With careful monitoring, you will have invaluable data. The data gathered will determine the next steps to improve your site.
Change is always constant. The statement is especially true in technology. While Google aims to improve its search algorithms, along the way it could affect you directly or indirectly. The only thing that you have power over is adapting to the changes. Keeping current with the updates and equipping yourself with the necessary information is the best way to be ahead of the curve.
Upto you: Are you affected after penguin update ? Please share your penguin update SEO tips in comments below.