So by now you should have heard about Google Penguin and why Google has released this update. You may also be searching around trying to find answers on what you can do to recover from Google Penguin. First, when you come across a blog that tells you how to fix your site to recover from Google Penguin, take that with a grain of salt. Google Penguin is so new that nobody really knows the exact answer on how to fix it. But, if you have read my blog in the past, then you have read many times that the best SEO is just plain ole’ great content. If you have been doing this from the beginning then you don’t have much to worry about with Google Penguin.
Content is still King
It doesn’t get much more cut and dry then this. The days of performing off-site SEO, meaning building random links back to your site for the keyword phrase you want, are over. If you want to rank high in the search engines (also, let’s remember, ranking in the #1 spot is not the #1 goal) then you actually have to do the work. If you don’t want to do the work, then you will need to hire a copywriter and have them create the content for you. Google is no longer going to rank pages that are not relevant to the search query. Let’s face it, Google is a business and they have competitors. If people are not finding the results that match their query, then they will go to Bing and Yahoo. If you do not have the content that people are looking for, then why would Google rank your page? Just because you have links from link farms and random directories that link to your website with a random keyword that you personally chose?
Also, here’s another question for you. For the keywords that you “want” to rank for and are trying to optimize for, how well do those keywords convert? If it’s converting low, do you think it could be because your content sucks?
Bottom line…. if you want to rank, create damn good content. And then make sure it’s shareable.
Make Your Content Social
Now that you have been listening to me and have been creating great content, it needs to be shared. Do you have a Facebook Like button somewhere on your post page? How about a tweet button? Better yet, a Google+ button? If not, you need to right now. Actually, stop reading this post, bookmark it of course, but go do it right now. Then you can come back and read the next steps. Once your content starts to spread naturally, or should I dare use the word organically, ya know from organic search, you are going to be getting more links. Social media is clearly playing a role in the search algorithms. Some of the links may be no-follow and don’t actually count as an inbound link, but those links are still influencing rankings. There’s no exact proof that those with Google+ pages and Google+ ownership on their sites are getting preferential treatment from Google, but, call me a conspiracists if you want, Google is giving preferential treatment to those utilizing Google+.
Here’s another question for you to help your site become more social. If you are blog based, do you have a way that somebody can easily tweet after they left a comment on your blog? For example, “I just commented on this bad ass SEO blog….”. If you are an e-commerce based site, can your customers easily share a product that they just bought or viewed on your site? If not, once again, bookmark this post and go do it right now.
Alternate Your Links
This step has a few different aspects to it. I am going to start with your internal linking throughout your site. It is extremely important to vary your anchor text. Keyword variations are going to strengthen your overall SEO portfolio, if you will. For example, I own an SEO company in Delray Beach, FL. If I used that same term over and over and over, it’s going to become apparent to Google that I am trying to over-optimize my site for that keyword. Varying the keyword, even just a little to, Delray Beach SEO company or SEO companies in Delray Beach are all forms of varying your internal anchor text.
Now, the way people link back to your site is a little more out of your control. Not saying that it is completely out of your control, just less. This is where relationship building comes into play in the link building phase. When reviewing your inbound links, which I highly recommend that everybody do in order to make sure that you don’t have a lot of spammy sites linking to you, you can also review the anchor text. Check out Open Site Explorer from seoMOZ for this. Reach out and build a relationship with the people who are linking back to you and ask them to update their anchor text on their site. You will be surprised how many people actually respond.
Guess what? Those are the simple, basic concepts of mastering your site and keeping your site performing well in the search engines, even after Google Penguin. Like I mentioned above, nobody really knows exactly how to make you recover from the Penguin update, but if you continue on the path of doing these things the right way, then you will be alright.