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What’s Google Penguin to You?

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Google Penguin is the most important algorithm update Google released in the first half of 2012. The first part of the update was introduced on April 24, while the latest installment on May 25. Although not as discussed as Panda – Google’s other major update released this year – Penguin did have a significant impact, leading many website owners to buying expert SEO services to maintain good rankings.

What did Penguin actually do?

Google Penguin penalized websites that abused keyword cloaking and stuffing as well as those that created duplicate content intentionally, using article spinning software. Even more importantly, the update hit hard websites participating in big link schemes, in particular dubious blog networks. About 3.1% of English search queries have been affected by Penguin.

The difference between Panda and Penguin?

Google Panda penalized websites that offered a poor user experience, in particular those featuring low-quality content and bad navigation. Google Penguin, on the other hand, has been focused on penalizing websites guilty of web spam.

Both algorithms have one thing in common: they decreased the ranking of websites that were built for ads networks and affiliate marketing rather than humans, providing content that had little to no value to users. They both made expert SEO services even more important for large websites, especially business ones, that want to rank well.

What can you do to protect yourself from future Penguin updates?

The answer is simple: ensure that your website is intended for people and not for search engines. Doing that requires a lot of work, but it’s not particularly hard. In practical terms, this is what you have to do:

•    Use social media websites to distribute useful content across the Web. Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest.
•    Use social media advertising like Facebook ads to reach out to your audience – don’t rely entirely on Google’s contextual ads.
•    Guest blog consistently, creating top-notch content that links back to your website.
•    Create new content regularly, and make sure it’s diverse. Besides text, use images, videos, presentations, and slideshows.

And this is what you should NOT do:

•    Use black hat SEO techniques.
•    Think you can do all the SEO work yourself. You just can’t! Use expert SEO services.
•    Focus your efforts on artificial link-building, which is slowly dying. Instead, concentrate on guest blogging, which creates links more naturally.

In the end, Google Penguin is a good update for Google searchers. It provides them better, more relevant content. If the update has had a significant effect on your website, it’s time to make some SEO changes to ensure you stay on top in the search results page.

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