If you have been paying attention to the latest SEO gossip, you would be aware that it is rumoured that Google will be updating their Penguin update soon. This is a big deal. As you probably already know, a lot of websites got their rear-ends kicked into place by Google Penguin and a lot of the old grey hat tricks no longer work to boost your position in the SERPs. The whole idea behind Penguin is that your backlink signature should be natural looking. I know this is a tall order, because the name of the game, when it comes to SEO, is link building.
The problem is that it takes a ridiculously long period of time to wait for links to naturally appear for your website. Can it happen? Absolutely. Is it worth waiting for? Absolutely not. The reality is that you still have to build links in one way or the other. Unfortunately, Google wants your links generated in a certain way. Their blanket definition or word for acceptable links is, of course, ‘natural’. That is the whole gist of the Penguin algorithm, and guess what, Google said that the next Penguin update is going to be refreshed faster. This is a major different to the last Penguin update which took a while to come into fruition.
A lot of websites that got hit by Penguin, whether fairly or unfairly, are still in the hole. In other words, they may have taken a fifty percent or eighty percent hit on their traffic and many have not recovered. A lot of people have been complaining about this. The good news is that the next Penguin update will make refreshes much faster and easier. This has the practical effect of lifting people out of these traffic penalties sooner rather than later. This is welcome news for website owners that have put in disavow request in the past.
If you thought that simply figuring out where your backlinks came from, making an educated guess as to which backlinks are low quality and which are worth keeping and then putting in a disavow request for bad links is enough, you probably found out the hard way that this does not make all your traffic problems go away. You probably found out the hard way that once you get in the hole, you will remain in the hole for a long period of time. It is cold comfort that you may have recovered a percentage of your previous traffic.
Well, the good news is that the next Penguin update will make refreshing much faster and the hope is that this will get people out of the traffic hole sooner rather than later. So how should you get ready for this update? Here are some ideas to prepare yourself for the next Google Penguin update:
Get your Disavow Requests Ready
The good news about the disavow tool is that, you can use it many times. At this stage of the game, make sure that you look at your backlink footprint very carefully. Make sure you do not miss anything. Make sure you put in your disavow request anything and everything that looks suspicious. If you have directory listings there from low quality directories, include them. If you have links from blogs that are unrelated, include them.
Be very open minded regarding the type of link you should put in your disavow request. Even if you think that the link is otherwise good, if there are certain things that make you doubt, always make sure to keep them out. In other words, keep them out of your backlink footprint and put them in your disavow list. Make your disavow list as big as possible. Get ready to make the request once the Penguin update is rolled out.
Bare in mind that with Google, it’s quality over quantity. In the past, seeing 10,000 backlinks would have been exciting. These days, it only takes a handful of decent backlinks to help your rankings in the SERPs.
Beat Penguin by Focusing on your Readers
Now that you have taken a long hard look at your existing backlink footprint as you update your disavow list, the next step is to focus on your readers. You have to understand that the whole rationale behind the Penguin update, is to protect people that use Google to search for information. In other words, these search customers should retrieve highly relevant and highly useful information. They are prevented from doing that when Google allows low quality websites to rank high for search results.
Penguin is intended to fix that problem. By aligning yourself with Google’s overall vision, you can beat Penguin. The most obvious way to do this is to focus on your readers. Give your readers what they are looking for. Give them high quality relevant information. Make your site easy to read. Make your site easy to navigate. By focusing on your readers, chances are people who follow your niche would blog about you and link to you. In other words, by focusing on high quality content and in a high level of reader satisfaction, you can increase the amount of attention and coverage you get in your niche.
Beat Penguin by Focusing on your Website’s Relationships
You need to build bridges with blogs within your niche. In fact, if you have managed your website as a stand alone online property, chances are you won’t be getting much traffic from Google. Google ranks websites based on how many other websites and which kind of websites link to them. By focusing on site relationships, you increase the amount of attention other websites pay to your brand. This has the beneficial effect of earning higher quality backlinks. How do you focus on relationships? You engage with other bloggers. You contribute content. You engage those other website visitors through high quality comments.
Quality Content Outreach and Branding will Always Win
Do not let my discussion regarding quality content and focusing on your readers throw you off. I do not want to give you the impression that as long as you build a quality website, people will come. The old thinking of ‘build it and they will come‘ does not work in this day and age, you have to reach out to other websites. You have to be on their radar. You have to become a known quality to people that matter in your niche, In other words, you have to pay attention to branding. When you build a solid online brand, you become credible with the right people. These people would then link to you or drive traffic to your. That is how SEO is done in this day and age.
What are you doing to prepare yourself for the dreaded Penguin update? Were you hit last time around?