Just a couple of weeks ago, Google unleashed it’s latest algorithm update – Penguin 2.1. With all of the search engine giant’s updates over the past year or so, it’s enough to send your head spinning. So, what does the Penguin 2.1 update really mean for inbound marketers and SEO? Let’s try to simplify things as much as possible.
For some, this update was a good thing; for others, it was total devastation. Websites which once ranked highly have seemingly disappeared, while others which may have been affected in previous Penguin updates made a nice recovery. For the last couple of weeks, marketers have been frantically checking where their websites rank to learn if they may be one of those who were “hit” by Penguin 2.1 in a not-so-good way.
While Google’s Matt Cutts explained this latest update affected about 1 % of search queries, many are still left in the dark, not sure of what the update actually means in terms of marketing and SEO. Let’s go over it briefly so that you don’t make the mistakes that may get your website penalised, or perhaps you can get back in Google’s good graces if you were one of the ones who were “hit.”
Basically, Penguin is an algorithm laser focused on incoming links, and designed to weed out those websites using spammy link-building techniques.
If your website fell victim to the Penguin 2.1 update, it’s time to check your backlink profile. Any links pointing into the pages of your website should be quality, relevant links, not those from link farms or obtained using “unnatural” methods. You can use Google’s Disavow tool to eliminate those “bad” links. Your top priority should be to have those bad links “unlinked” from your website, however you choose to go about it. Once you have your link profile cleaned up, avoid focusing on how many backlinks your website has, and instead focus on creating unique, quality content that others naturally want to link to because it‘s informative, compelling, controversial, or even humourous. Google likes quality, relevant links that are obtained naturally. When it comes to backlinks, quality trumps quantity!
Now for the good news. If you have been using only white hat SEO tactics and have strong backlinks, it may be that you see your website rise in the rankings. Not only does a clean backlink profile help improve your search engine rank, the demise of your opponents who have been using black hat or underhanded link building tactics will also help push your website to the top as they fall by the wayside.
Ultimately, all of Google’s Penguin updates have been in an effort to fight web spam. If you stop spending your time worrying about how the updates may impact your search engine rankings and start focusing on outstanding content and providing the best possible experience for the user, you will enjoy success for the long term.