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Google Penguin Update Survival Guide, Part 1: Who is Affected?

by on June 5, 2012

Just when you thought you got your head around the last Google search algorithm update, there’s a new one to take into consideration – Google’s Penguin update released on Apr 24th.

Of course there are always lively discussions and plenty of complaints whenever Google makes any changes to its algorithm – this has been particularly pronounced with Penguin and its far-reaching consequences. Whether you’re a webmaster, an SEO consultant or a small business owner, it’s crucial to understand what exactly the Penguin update means for you, your business and your internet presence.

What is the Google Penguin update?

The Google search engine strives to bring up search results that are the fairest and most accurate possible for a search query. They want searchers to find exactly what they are looking for when performing a search. Not a whole bunch of garbage or spammy sites.  So they make tweaks to their secretive algorithm. And this is what the Penguin release is all about.

Who is affected by the Penguin update?

The target of the update is definitely any website that is engaging in black hat SEO tactics – practices that are considered unethical in the search world and are just about getting a site up in search rankings.

So what particular tactics can get you in trouble with the Google gods? Things like:

  • Being really aggressive about targeting a particular keyword phrase in anchor text
  • Over-using exact-match domains
  • Engaging in poor quality article marketing
  • Spamming on blogs
  • Keyword stuffing your internal and outbound links
  • Keyword stuffing in general

This is what Google’s Matt Cutts said in the official announcement of the update: “While we can’t divulge specific signals because we don’t want to give people a way to game our search results and worsen the experience for users, our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics.”

Essentially, Penguin is (aggressively) targeting sites that violate Google’s quality guidelines.

What about the good guys?

Unfortunately, Google algorithm updates, no matter how hard they try, never just hit the black hat crowd. Good guys practicing white hat, totally legit and ethical SEO strategies can get hit too. Complaints about businesses losing their rankings, even though they don’t do any of the above activities, are flooding the web. It’s challenging, not to mention scary, especially for businesses that rely heavily on Google search for traffic and new sales lead. But we have to carry on.

We’re not about getting you all worried and then leaving you hanging! Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts where we cover important ways your business can survive the Penguin update including topics such as keywords, links and content marketing…

Related posts:

  1. Google Penguin Update Survival Guide, Part 2: Keywords
  2. Google Penguin Update Survival Guide, Part 3: Content Marketing
  3. Google Adwords: A Beginner’s Guide
  4. Top 5 SEO Techniques for Beginners
  5. The Ultimate Guide To Blogging: From SEO To Hosting

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