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Getting Your Website on the Penguin 2.0 Diet

By Erin Sparks
June 7, 2013

On May 22, Google’s Matt Cutts announced that they were rolling out the Penguin 2.0 update. This update affected about 2.3 percent of the English searches and refreshed the update which hadn’t been updated since October 2012. The first Penguin update happened on April 24, 2012 and it effected 3.1 percent of searches.

What is a Google Penguin?

The Google Penguin update is just a code name that Google gave the algorithm update. Google updates their algorithm about 500 times a year, but most updates are very small. The larger updates are given code names, like Penguin. Another talked about Google update is the Google Panda update. The Panda update algorithm has been updated more frequently than the Penguin update.

What did the Google Penguin 2.0 Update Target?

This latest update targeted websites that were trying to manipulate their ranking in the Google search results with different spammy tactics, mainly low quality and spammy backlinks. But other factors in the update include duplicate content and a lack of anchor text diversity in the backlink profile.

How Do I Know if My Website Was Penalized?

Hopefully you have Google Analytics or some other analytics program installed on your website. If you were penalized, look at your analytics for the May 22 update and you will see a noticeable dropoff in traffic that looks like it feel right off a cliff. Below is a nice image from WebPro News.

You can also use a neat tool from Barracuda called Panguin if you use Google Analytics. Log in to the tool with your Google Analytics account and then the Panguin tool will overlay a graph on your analytics that show all of the major Google algorithm updates.

The Penguin 2.0 Diet

So if you were hit by the Penguin update, it is time that your website and SEO strategy went on a diet. The diet key steps are listed below and illustrated in the infographic as well. And like with weight-loss diets, it can be hard to move away from your old habits and easy to fall back to them when it gets difficult, but you need to stick to the plan to see the best results.

1. Improve Anchor Text Diversity

Anchor text is the text that is used when linking to another website. For example, we just launched a website for Counseling on Demand. I just linked to the website using the anchor text of “Counseling on Demand” but people try to manipulate their backlinks by using links that have their keywords in them.

Don’t get me wrong, it is great to have links that have some anchor text with keywords but having a majority of your links with the same anchor text is no longer a good idea, and that is what Penguin 2.0 penalized.

Ideally you would like to have a natural, diverse backlink profile with branded keywords. The general consensus is that around 30 percent of your links use your main keywords, while the rest should be diversified and use your brand name.

2. Improve Link Relevancy

Along with the anchor text, you should focus on relevancy when getting links from other websites. Do just go and get links from other websites just to have a link, the relevancy of the link is just as important now. If you are a local dentist, would it make sense for you to get a link from a car mechanic on the other side of the country? Of course not, and Google now recognizes that.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get links for legitimate causes either. If you are sponsoring a local sports team or charity event, you should definitely get those links. But if you are getting links just to get links, overusing keyword anchor text, and not focusing on quality links, then you shouldn’t probably get that link. I dive further into this topic on a previous blog post.

3. Remove Duplicate Content

Copying and pasting content from the website that ranked #1 on Google for your keyword, may have worked at one point, but that has been knocked down with both the Panda and Penguin updates.

A lot of companies are also getting in trouble because they are copying and pasting content from product catalogs and brochures. Google wants unique content for every page.

A neat tool to see if you have any duplicate content is called Copyscape. You could also copy a couple sentences from a webpage, paste it into a Google Search and add quotation marks at the beginning and end of the text.

4. Stop Keyword Stuffing

This is another spammy tactic that used to work, but is no longer a viable tactic. Using your keywords over and over again within a couple sentences is trying to over-saturate your page with keywords to improve your rankings in Google. It isn’t natural and people don’t talk that way. Here is an example of keyword stuffing:

“Our Indianapolis Italian Restaurant is the best Italian restaurant in Indianapolis. Our Indianapolis Italian Restaurant makes homemade noodles. If you want to visit our one of our Indianapolis Italian restaurants, please call our Indianapolis Italian restaurant hotline today to make your reservation for one of our Indianapolis Italian Restaurants.”

Get the picture? It sounds terrible and doesn’t provide any value to the user.

Hopefully you got a lot of great information from this article and if you have any questions or comments, please reach out to me on Twitter or Google Plus! Check out the neat infographic below as well from Digital Jungle.

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