This May, Google released an update to its algorithm called Penguin 2.0 and an avalanche of nervous gulps made by SEO specialists were heard all over Gotham and beyond.
So what is Penguin 2.0 and why do you need to worry about it?
Penguin 2.0 is an updated version of changes Google are making to the algorithm they originally launched in 2012. These changes are a way for Google to combat websites that have previously used ‘black hat’ techniques to manipulate their page rank. Unfortunately your website could fall under this umbrella. That’s if your SEO strategy has included the following: overusing a keyword or phrase, loading a page with unnatural links and using keywords in the anchor text (the bit of text that is hyperlinked). Websites found using these techniques will find their website demoted in Google’s search results. The Google Search Quality team say the goal of these changes ‘is to help searchers find sites that provide a great user experience and fulfil their information needs.’ They also want the ‘good guys’ making great sites for users and not just algorithms to see their efforts rewarded.
These changes could have a major impact on your organisation. Research done by Econsultancy shows that even major organisations like Compare the Market and Direct Line have felt the wrath of Penguin 2.0, sometimes faring even worse than spam websites.
As one site owner said to us:
‘24th of May is burnt into my mind. We lost a volume of clicks in organic search that would have cost us £1m a year to buy in paid search’
While it would be nice to have Batman show Penguin who’s the boss, we at Pull Digital, have realised that keeping the user’s best interests in mind has really paid off. So much so that some of our clients have seen an increase in performance - like Pure Ducati and Pure Triumph whose average ranking position improved by 11%.
Here are some things you can try if you’ve been affected
1. Analyse incoming links and check websites linking you to ensure they are of a high quality.
2. Remove low quality links manually if possible or disavow them through Webmaster Tools.
3. Get creative with your anchor text. Have a look through your internal and external links and if your anchor text has a lot of key words in it, change it to something like ‘click here to read more about example’ This gives your anchor text some variation and gives the user an incentive to click on your link.
4. Remove any repetition of keywords you have in your footer.
The most important thing to remember (if you don’t have Batman’s number) is to always have the audience’s best interests at heart. Create interesting and fresh content that they will marvel enough to share. That way you can build authority links through social media. The rules have changed and there’s no room left for ‘black hat’ SEO anymore. Search engines are getting clever and are increasingly focusing on the user. And so should you.
For more advice on SEO and what to do if you've been affected by Penguin 2.0 feel free to contact us.