What is Google Penguin Update?
If you are a blogger or a site owner you might probably have heard about Google Penguin Update; the latest webspam killer update Google launched this week in an continual attempt to penalize low-quality spam sites and reward high quality content. Like their earlier Panda update, nobody can tell for sure what exactly Google is experimenting with this algorithm update but Google made it very clear that it’s about targeting sites and blogs violating its quality guidelines.
Here’s an exact quote from the announcement.
In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines. We’ve always targeted webspam in our rankings, and this algorithm represents another improvement in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content. 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.
How to Survive and Recover From Google Penguin Update Traffic Drop?
Even though the Google Penguin update, just like its big brother Panda update, was supposedly targeted at sites, which engaged in spammy SEO tactics it appears to have penalized a wide range of legitimate and high quality web sites. If your site or blog has been hit by this update here are some tips directly from Google and some from our own SEO experience that can help you minimize the casualty.
1. Say NO to Hidden Text or Hidden Links
As obvious as it may be as to why this is a bad SEO practice still people keep doing it to trick Google and other Search Engines. Hiding text and links from normal human users and showing them to search engine spiders has been a age old spammer’s technique to boost their search engine ranking.
Site owners resorting to this method of spamming often use CSS to reduce the font size, use white text over white background (to make the texts and links appear invisible to human readers but visible to search spiders), display texts and links behind images, set font size to 0 etc. If you are doing it, STOP right now. Otherwise Penguin will get you!
2. Do NOT Use Cloaking or Shady Redirects
Cloaking is a real illegal blackhat SEO technique. Cloaking is when Search engine crawlers see one page (that is highly optimized for a certain keyword) and the visitor sees another version of the same page. They know whether it’s a crawler or a visitor based on their IP address and/or user-agent.
3. Control Your OBLs (Out Bound Links)
Having many outgoing links does not get you any benefits in terms of ranking and could even make your situation worse. If you must have so many OBLs on a page then consider using NOFOLLOW on links that are of low-value. In this way, a visitor can reach this page using a link (pointing to this page) on your site. But the search spiders will not follow the links to all these external sites.
Also, your out-bound links should not appear as if you have sold them. Google is strictly against buying or selling of links with an intent to gain SEO value. So make sure you do not have any sponsored links available on your blog/site. If you must have them, then make sure you have NOFOLLOWed such links.
4. Do NOT Stuff Keywords
Keyword Stuffing is one more black-hat SEO practice done by some webmasters who stuff their pages with lot of keywords. They use a large amount of keywords inside the post usually in form of synonyms, long tail keyword phrases that essentially mean the same and targeted at a specific set of keywords. Search engines like Google can easily identify it and will penalize your ranking.
A good way to ensure that you are NOT accidentally stuffing your articles with lot of keywords is to keep an eye on the Keyword Density. In simple words. keyword density is the ratio of keywords to the total number of words in a particular article. Usually, a keyword density of about 3% to 4% is considered optimal and you should refrain from going higher than that.
5. Don’t Send Automated Queries to Google
Unfortunately, Google wouldn’t say much about this practice. But as a rule of thumb, refrain your site (blog) from automatically sending any sort of queries to Google servers (or data centers). They clearly state that they do NOT want to be queried unless you have their explicit permission to do so.
Also Read: SEO Guide For Surviving Google Panda Update
In other words, do not use any third party software programs that might send queries to Google in an attempt to submit pages, check rankings, analyze, etc. Google does not recommend the use of products such as WebPosition Gold™ that send automatic or programmatic queries to Google.