Penguin 2.0, Google’s update to last year’s original “Penguin” algorithm change, rolled out last week, according to Matt Cutts, Google’s resident Search Engine Optimization expert. If you’re not familiar with the intention behind Penguin and its cousin Panda or the importance of Google’s search algorithm to search engine rankings, not to worry.
Google’s central mission when it comes to search is to make the search experience as user-friendly as possible. To this end, Google has applied certain formulas to search rankings that help ensure that websites with the most useful content rise to the top and that websites with “blackhat” (unethical) SEO techniques sink to the bottom.
Some blackhat techniques include:
- Keyword stuffing and invisible text- To raise your search engine ranking, the pages on your website must include the keywords your customer searches. If there are a ton of keywords on a page, but none of them make sense or provide anything of value to the user, that page will be flagged by Google and its rankings will likely be hurt. Invisible text (including keywords on a page that are the same color as the background so that they are “invisible” to the user but visible to search engines) is another way earn a bad reputation with Google.
- Spammy linking- For a site to rank well, it should have many genuine inbound links. This means that people on other websites and social platforms find it useful or interesting enough to provide a link to it for their users. The blackhat version of this involves buying or otherwise getting meaningless links. Google’s algorithm detects this tactic very well.
- Doorway pages and those with thin content- Doorway pages are pages that exist on your sitemap so that search engine spiders detect them but that are invisible to users. The idea behind this blackhat technique is that having more indexed pages will raise your ranking. A related tactic is making these doorway pages visible but adding a little bit of useless content to help fake their legitimacy.
What can I do to raise my ranking the right way?
We hear it all the time, but now more than ever, businesses looking to rank well online must focus on creating content that matters to their customers. Good content, whether it’s a well-maintained and informative blog, a fantastic social presence or a frequently updated website (preferably all of those things!), keeps users coming back.
The gist of all of this is that Penguin 2.0 isn’t meant to hurt the search rankings of businesses that are out to reach their customers with great content. If anything, Google is actually trying to make sure the nice guy, the business with a clearly organized website and user-oriented strategy, comes out on top. Penguin 2.0 is Google’s attempt to more accurately target sites that don’t play by the rules.
Even with the focus on generating excellent content, the classic guidelines for on-page search engine optimization still apply. Clear and relevant titles and descriptions, natural but keyword-rich copy, and quality links, among other things, are all necessary to building a website’s authority.
The best piece of SEO advice we can offer is this: Getting your website to the top of the search results takes time when you do it ethically (playing by Google’s rules). Any SEO company or service that claims they can get you to number 1 in a week is either not telling the whole truth or dabbling in blackhat techniques.
How is your website ranking? Does it seem that Penguin 2.0 may have hurt you more than helped you? Call or contact Primm to schedule a meeting with our SEO and search engine marketing experts. We are excited to help you establish (or re-establish) an impressive web presence.