A follow-up of Google’s Panda, the Penguin is an algorithmic update of their search system which was first announced on April 24, 2012 – sending a major threat to all webmasters and SEO specialists alike.
The main purpose of the Google Penguin releases is to minimize, if not totally eliminate the black hat techniques. Black hat refers to the techniques used by SEO providers to circumvent Webmaster guidelines. This includes but is not limited to link spamming, duplicate content, cloaking, inappropriate Meta tags use, etc.
The ripple effect
Search engine results were definitely affected. Google estimates that 3.1% of English searches were affected. Other languages like of Arabic, Chinese and German were affected by 3%. And with updates being made these figures should rise in the near future. In fact version 1.1 upped the effects by around .3%. If you are new at this, you may think that the figures are very minimal, but for SEO specialists, 3% search engine movement is a lot. If there is any critique I can make about Penguin 1.1 is that it should be more aggressive, especially when it comes to linked domains.
What Not to Do (Anymore), especially in the Philippines
Below are several SEO tools that have been red flagged, about to be red flagged, or are just ineffective when it comes to Search Engine Optimization.
- Link Purchasing (Purchased Links): The truth is purchasing a link CAN increase your search engine results. The problem is, there are too many parameters that need to be absolutely right in order for the same to have positive results. In other words the cost and effort is lopsided. Better concentrate on other more practical SEO tips.
- Redirecting Links: Yes, it is possible to boost ranking by redirecting links that you have purchased (see above). But not to the extent that disreputable SEO “experts” make it out to be. More importantly URL that is redirected to another does not accumulate links. Even if it does, the same is too unnatural and can be flagged as black hat.
- Link Exchange: Simply put, you do not purchase links, but you trade with other websites for links. For example you put a link on your website to their website if they do the same for you. Again, this is easily red flagged by Google. Another problem is, the website you exchanged links with may just be as clueless or disreputable as you. As a result you just linked yourself to a website that will negatively affect your goodwill.
- Low Quality Guest Posts: Strictly speaking this is in the realm of Google Panda, not Penguin. Some SEO consultants will tell the web owner to hire a freelance writer to write articles to be uploaded as guest posts. The same article will then be rewritten then reposted hundreds of times on different sites. The result is that your post will be considered authoritative or trending. Now enter Google Panda, a quality detection algorithm that targets low quality posts. As of this moment this trick may still work. But rest assured, Google is already working on a Panda update or upgrade. By my estimate, after 6 months, low quality guest posts will be completely worthless.
- Comments/Forums: Some experts will tell you that linking your website to social media accounts or forums will give you a substantial SEO boost. All you have to do is to take the time and create accounts. The problem is, Google does not even consider single links, no name/influence profiles, or forums. In other words you will just be wasting your time.
- Linked Domains: The problem with this is, in order to get around the webmaster you need to isolate each domain. You have to make sure the sites were not hosted by the same account, double check that the servers did not overlap, hire a team to build a large and variable network, etc.
What Can Be Done
- Instead of buying a link, why not partner with specific websites. Offer value and then create a lasting relationship. The same can be free, looks and feels more natural, and will
not be red flagged by Google Penguin.
- Instead of Unnatural and/or redirected links, partner with bloggers! You can either utilize their existing blogs or move it to your website or you can pay them to put up a new one, grow a following and maintain the same. I personally prefer the former, but you need to be careful that the blogger and blog is related to your website.
- Website or blog site collaboration is a more substantial SEO maximizer. Partner with a service or product that complements yours. The link exchange will appear as an afterthought. If red flagged you can easily the red flag removed by showing real collaboration.
- Concentrate on quality guest posts. And exert maximum effort to get them featured in high quality websites. This may take longer and cost you more in the short term, but in the long run your website will be better off. Tip: find a few gifted bloggers and stick with them!
- Take the time to follow and interact with influential bloggers, and social media personalities. Preferably those with their own following. Don’t comment today and market tomorrow. Comment today, and every other day for several months, build rapport, and then suggest.
Black hat techniques and SEO shortcuts may still pull up your ranking. But in most cases the increase, vis-à-vis the effort and costs involved is not worth it. Even if you do find a way to get around the same or you do have the budget, you still have to deal with updates just like Penguin and Panda that can just as easily wipe out your ranking and penalize you for your tricks.
Brace yourselves, Penguin 4 is coming in 2013.