As anticipated, it didn’t take long before the complaints started to roll in.
Google’s latest algorithm change, the Penguin update, has left some legitimate businesses feeling rather annoyed. Google has suggested that the effects of Penguin may take some time to work through, but has assured all businesses who play the game with a straight bat, that all will be right in the end. Those legitimate businesses who have seen their website rankings fall have greeted this response frostily. So what’s the problem? Well, it appears some of the legitimate websites that Google is keen to encourage, that is, the ones with quality content who only use white hat SEO techniques have been handed the short straw. Some of their competitors who use slightly more dubious black hat SEO techniques like keyword stuffing and dodgy links on the other hand appear to have done rather nicely and have seen their search engine rankings improve.
Google has confirmed that it is aware of the problem and is making an effort to ensure that legitimate sites will not be penalised in the future. However it has also re-affirmed its commitment to fighting web spam and unscrupulous practices. If you’re one of the unfortunate websites caught in the current crossfire, then it appears you’ll just have to take it on the chin.
If your website hasn’t been affected, but you live in fear that it might be before too long, what are the options open to you?
Well you can either carry on as normal and keep your fingers crossed, or you can concentrate purely on white hat SEO strategies directed into link building and content development that will not only ensure you protect your existing ranking but will hopefully help to ensure your rankings will increase.
What can businesses do to protect themselves from the Penguin update?
- Make sure you concentrate on developing strong, unique and relevant content for your website. Yes there have been reported incidents of sites with really good content being penalised, but these are pretty rare. As a general rule of thumb those websites that have quality content will not be affected by algorithm changes and should see their search engine rankings alter greatly. What’s more if the content you do provide is relevant and interesting, you’re far more likely to retain visitors.
- Concentrate on social media. This might sound counter-intuitive, but evidence would suggest that those websites who incorporate social media into their SEO campaigns are looked on more favourably by Google and the other search engines. Social is the latest big thing, and the search engines are quite naturally increasingly concentrating their efforts on it. The added benefit of concentrating on social is that a business will still be able to retain a high visibility in the market place, even if it finds its search engine rankings fluctuating due to algorithm changes.
- Concentrate on building quality links. These links should ideally be organically sourced and should be with sites that have gravitas and are seen as niche leaders.