5 Brilliant Ideas for Post-Penguin SEO
Note: This is a guest post by Emma Tomlinson. (Thanks Emma for this well researched post.)
Search engines have always had a battle with the increasing number of “spammy” websites. In particular, Google—a leading search engine giant—developed or tweaked its set of algorithms to make way for better and stricter updates, popularly known as the Panda and Penguin.
Lest the cute and cuddly names fool you, these two have forever changed the face of SEO. But since it will take more than one post to discuss them, we will only talk about Penguin.
What is it all about?This update focused mostly on off-page SEO strategies, particularly to the links on a site. It has no qualms in taking down websites that are spammy, over-optimized, or reliant on keyword anchor texts.
But more than that, it also deals with other types of webspam like artificial link building and black-hat SEO.
How does this affect my site?
Even if you are a devoted white-hat practitioner, it is still possible for your site to be affected by this update. Why? Your link building methods before Penguin may not be what Google considers “correct”. And as it turns out, a lot of webmasters made this mistake too.
Techniques That Work After Penguin
1. Know what constitutes “good links”
Back in the days, the focus was on how many links lead to your website. Today, the quantity of your incoming and internal links is irrelevant. What matters is their quality.
Now how can you distinguish which ones are worthy?
First, they should come from reliable or respectable websites. Consider the PageRank and the SERP ranking of such sites. A high rating is always a good sign. Also, take note of the fan base that the domain attracts.
Second, they should land on pages where other sites are linked to. For example, if you are site A and you have an outbound link to site B, that page should contain reliable inbound and outbound links from other sites.
Third, they should be useful to the user. For example, if a link is inserted in an article, it should lead the user to supplementary information that he can use. If it is embedded in a page, it should lead the user to other practical Web pages.
Sure, these criteria are lofty at best, but these will ensure high-value links to and on your domain.
2. Know the structure your website
If you do not have a definitive design or structure, how can you know which Webpages are “faulty” or which ones are gaining leverage on search engine results pages? More importantly, if you are not aware about the structure you have, how can you implement effective strategies for SEO?
It is important that you know about every page type you have and find out which of these have low value to you.
Start by using Google to dissect the different niches or categories of your site.
By doing this, you will have an idea how many pages are being indexed by Google. Note though that this will not give you an exact amount. The main purpose is just to help you analyse which pages are “ineffective” and need further enhancement. Of course, Google Analytics is also a great way to assess your site.
3. Define your “crawl” path
Again, it all boils down to the structure of your website. How organized are your categories and sub-categories? How does your navigation system work? Is it easy both for search crawlers and your audiences?
Part of a great SEO strategy is to have a website design that is simple and straight forward. This is important because it makes it easier for search bots to index your pages.
4. Focus on inbound marketing
Although you can always negotiate with other sites to link to yours, there is a better way of building up your incoming links—and that is through marketing.
By improving your website, specifically its content, your readers will reward you with high-quality link profiles that will contribute to your overall SEO goals. Remember that your domain should ALWAYS prioritize audiences. Otherwise, if you will not cater to their needs, you will fall behind the spotlight of search engines.
5. Track your efforts
Often neglected, this technique is the best way to ensure that all your efforts do not go to waste. To help you out, here are simple strategies to monitor your progress:
- Use Google Analytics to track your traffic, specifically if the trajectory heads downwards.
- Take note of the pages you “noindex” or included in robots.txt files.
- Utilize Google Analytics Debugger to debug your tracking code.
To wrap it up…
This is just some of the plethora of techniques to help you recover from Penguin. But before you start thinking “If I made it through that, I’ll be okay”, note that this is just one of the many steps involved in changing the face of SEO and the Internet technology as a whole. It is important for you to continue updating your knowledge on this field and learning to adapt to certain changes. Only then will your survive and stay on top of the game.