Penguin 2.0 is Google’s new algorithm for delivering search results. It delivers a bunch of updates to how Google ranks websites on the world-wide web. The funny thing is that the Penguin 2.0 update is utilizing things that I’ve been talking about for a while. The first time we talked about being sincere with your online presence. Then I showed you some important stats about the benefits of blogging. Then we talked about the importance of local businesses who blog. Heck! I even gave you some tips & inspiration for posting to your website.
So what I’m going to do in this article is go over my philosophy of SEO, we’ll define some terms and finally talk about what changes have come with Penguin 2.0. Let’s get into it…
How I Utilize SEO
People ask me about SEO and SEO related things all the time. My rebuttal / philosophy usually involved two very important themes…
Social Media Is Important
The first thing I talk about is social media. Part of why it’s important is connecting with your audience as many ways as possible. For example, if you have the newer Maps App for your iPhone you may be surprised to know that it utilizes Yelp for business locations (or at least their rating.) And as we all know; hits to your page helps you rank higher with search engines.
The second part is totally search engine relevant. Okay, so let’s say you search a band on Google (example 1 | example 2.) If you look at the top search results you’ll see that they are actually social media websites! How crazy is that! If you look up a business you’ll see the same applies. Why is this? Exactly for the same reason we stated above; hits to a page helps the rank in search engines. Except this time it’s looking at insanely high traffic pages (like Facebook, Twitter & Yelp,) matching those up to the search term (aka – your business name) and displaying those results first.
We Are The “Product” of [INSERT SEARCH ENGINE HERE]
I also tell people who Google (or Bing or Yahoo or anyone else) actually wants your business at the top of their organic search results. I sometimes get a weird look from people, but the fact of the matter is that we are Google’s product and not their customers. I don’t think this is a negative thing, but it’s important to recognize the difference. Google’s customer, as with any business, is someone who spends money with a company. You do not spend money with Google (at least while you’re searching for content.) To put it the simplest, it’s the people who spend money on Adwords (paid search results) who are Google’s customers. You are the product that Google can sell to their Adword customers. So, in essence, they tell an Adword customer, “We have 3,000 who search ‘Term X’ an hour” and that IS their sales pitch. That’s why you are the product! That’s why customers prefer to utilize Google Adwords over any other search engine. They have the highest numbers. Plus, Google actually turned their business name into a verb (“Google It“!) Whether it was intentional or not that’s some brilliant marketing.
So, if Google is using you as vehicle to make money; how would they potentially start loosing money? By having less and less product to sell (and remember you are the product.) How would they potentially start loosing product? By sucking at having relevant search engine results. Worst case scenario is searching a business name on Google and having all pornography come up. How popular do you think Bing or Yahoo would get if this started happening? Google would probably drop pretty quickly from the top search engine. This also means that Google is (and should be) working hard to bring you relevant search results. AKA – Google wants your business on top of organic results!
So if you’re just being honest and doing what you should be doing as a business than Google wants to at the top…at least organically. This is where Penguin 2.0 comes in, but before we get to that let’s go over some basics of how it all works…
Let’s define some terms so we can all get along. If you all ready know about these definitions and terms then you’re welcome to skip this section.
Penguin is the clever littler term Google came up with for their algorithm for search engine results. According to Wikipedia:
Google Penguin is a code name for a Google algorithm update that was first announced on April 24, 2012. The update is aimed at decreasing search engine rankings of websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by using now declared black-hat SEO techniques, such as keyword stuffing, cloaking, participating in link schemes, deliberate creation of duplicate content, and others. Unlike PageRank, however, Google makes all updates to this algorithm public.
As usual, when there is a Google algorithm update business owners have to stop whatever it is they were doing and focus on the update. A penguin or panda update can mean big changes for a website, so you have to always be prepared, informed, and ready to react and recover. Google is constantly making algorithm changes in order to improve the results that show up on a SERP, and whether you agree with the change or not, Google is the one that gets to decide if you’re on page 1 or page 10.
Essentially, Penguin 2.0 is trying / looking to alleviate and deter Black Hat SEO.
Black Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO are sometimes termed as ‘unfair‘ practices in SEO optimization. Some I agree with while others I just see as tips for sincere bloggers to get a step above the rest. Wikipedia defines Black Hat SEO as:
is the deliberate manipulation of search engine indexes. It involves a number of methods, such as repeating unrelated phrases, to manipulate the relevance or prominence of resources indexed in a manner inconsistent with the purpose of the indexing system. It could be considered to be a part of search engine optimization, though there are many search engine optimization methods that improve the quality and appearance of the content of web sites and serve content useful to many users.
- Page stuffing
- Link Farming
- Keyword Stuffing
- Hidden Content
- Meta Description
- Meta Keywords
- Gateway Pages
White Hat SEO
White Hat SEO are the ‘clean’ SEO optimization techniques that Google is actually looking for. Wikipedia defines White Hat SEO as:
The term “white hat” in Internet slang refers to an ethical computer hacker, or a computer security expert, who specializes in penetration testing and in other testing methodologies to ensure the security of an organization’s information systems.Ethical hacking is a term coined by IBM meant to imply a broader category than just penetration testing. White-hat hackers may also work in teams called “sneakers”,red teams, or tiger teams.
White Hat SEO techniques include:
- Quality Content
- Structural Mark Up
- Titles and Meta Data
- Effect Keyword Use
What’s The Deal With Penguin 2.0
Now that we’ve defined some of our terms, let’s dig a little deeper in what Penguin 2.0 is actually doing. Penguin 2.0 focuses a lot on anti-spam search results. Penguin 2.0 is actually geared towards small / medium-sized businesses and anti-spam search results. Google is actually looking to get more specific, genuine content higher in the search engines, organically. Google wants to keep out spam, while making it easier for the ‘regular’ business person / blogger to rank higher in Google. Back in May 2013, Matt Cutts put out a video highlighting what to expect with the changes. So let’s take a look, based on the video and other sources (below), at what Penguin 2.0 is bringing to the table, some of the ways you can make Penguin 2.0 work for you and some things you may want to look out for.
How To Get Higher Rankings With Penguin
Being an authority of your business type
I feel like I’ve been talking about this from day one and how important it is for any business, regardless of its website implications. I’ve talked about ‘being an authority’ as a tip to writing articles and I’ve talked about being an authority when you’re positioning your business in the first place! Now, Google’s catching on…and for good, logical reasoning. If you’re the authority on your business-type then you are presenting relevant, knowledgable information about your product or service and guess what….Google wants you on top!
Creating targeted content at a specific audience
This one is somewhat related to ‘being an authority’ but it also has other implications. I started writing an article yesterday (which I never finished) about how when you’re advertising something you need to focus on just one thing and not just give a laundry list of services you do. Why? Mostly because of people’s attention spans, but also because you should know a lot of information about one thing and you should tell people all the features of one product, not zero features about all your products. Google’s catching up on this one too. When you search something like, “How do I properly cook Brussel Sprouts” Google should know that you don’t want a page titled “How To Cook Fruits and Vegetables.” They know you’re looking for specific thing and they want to deliver that specific content (remember that you are Google’s product.)
Social Media buzz and Social Media links
Google is also going to be looking more about how your share your specific, authoritative content. What does that mean? Your social networks! Google will start looking at the buzz of your content on social media as well as using social media to prove you are an authority on the content. Think about it. If you’re posting on a BS site you’re just trying to make money from then you may not spend the time or energy to build up a Facebook Page or a Twitter Account. If you’re seamlessly pushing your content and interacting with your social media sites then you’re more ‘authentic‘ and Google can make a pretty good guesstimate that you’re not trying to be an ass-face.
How To Avoid Downrankings and Penalties
Making your site more secure
Google will now start looking at your comment links, paid links, etc to determine if your site has quality content. Make sure you delete SPAM from your blog and make sure the site is using more White Hat techniques than Black Hat ones.
If it’s an advertorial, make sure it’s known!
An advertorial is really a sales pitch disguised as an article, blog entry or testimonial. Google is focusing on weeding out the advertorials that are utilized for page ranking. Matt Cutts does state that Google ‘sees nothing wrong with advertorials‘ (in essence, you’re welcome to make money off your site using them) but you should not be using it for search engine optimization.
Link Farming Will Hurt You More Than Ever
You should always try to link to authoritative sites and not just have links that you think with boost your SEO. When you’re defining something, link to Wikipedia! It’s good for you. But if you are linking to a bunch of Russian websites that are filled with rich search terms then you might be in trouble. Using quality backlinks will take more time, but it will also ensure that you’re doing it right the first time.
As I stated earlier, Google is trying to find quality content for search results, not just well-optimized sites. If you try to over-do it with optimization, then Google’s going to try to catch you. They’ll catch ya good! Even if you’re running an honest website, you may not want to try to over-do it as Google may throw you in the pile of untrusted sites. I stated it earlier, while White Hat SEO is perfectly fine as a quality tip, you don’t need to over-do it.
Sources for this section:
- Google’s Penguin 2.0 Update Prioritizes Great Content
- Google’s Matt Cutts Outlines 10 Points Forcing Black Hat & Link Spammers Out
- Google’s Penguin 2.0 Update: What You Need To Know
- 4 Reasons Content Creators Should Celebrate Penguin 2.o
It’s Google’s job to deliver quality results…it’s your job to help them find you. Penguin 2.0 has come out and made a lot of people freak out, but if you’re trying to deliver quality, sincere, authoritative content to your readers there’s not too much you have to worry about. Keep on doing what you’re doing, but just be aware of some of the potential pitfalls. I hope this article helps you get a clearer picture of the wacky world of SEO.