While Google acknowledges SEO, it does not necessarily like it, and often times will release updates to its search platform that attempt to put a stop to certain SEO practices that it has deemed as being harmful to the integrity of their search platform. The latest one is called Penguin and it was a BIG one.
What did the Google Penguin update do?
Among other things, Penguin’s primary goal as an update was to discourage the SEO practice known as link spam. For example, in an attempt to use links to boost website rankings, it became commonplace for companies to build private blog networks that were solely used for link building. These private blog networks have been getting whacked pretty hard since around February or March of 2012.
In general, Google doesn’t like any type of link building. They want you to build a website with great content and wait for people to find it. That’s great and all, but this generally doesn’t work for 99% of the websites out there. The bottom line is you’re running a business and you need to rank in the search engines to get traffic…and to rank in the search engines you need links…as a result, you need to build links.
But what Penguin looked for was very unnatural link building. For example, links from the same types of sources over and over again…no variety. And links using the same exact keyword rich anchor text…no variety. So obviously what we’re trying to point out here is that your link building now needs VARIETY.
Will Google Penguin affect your website?
The thing about the Penguin update is that while it did eliminate a lot of the crap in the search results, it also affected many small businesses that saw their revenue dry up overnight. If your business had a relatively small online presence without much SEO done, there is a good chance you might not have been affected.
However, if your business has a very large online presence, especially one with a lot of backlinks you worked hard to build, you could find yourself in trouble if you didn’t build them as naturally as possible. By natural we mean, a variety of sources using a variety of anchor text. And I guess we can also say at a reasonable pace too although this hasn’t been mentioned much as a factor in Penguin…but I think it makes sense to assume you shouldn’t build backlinks at a crazy fast pace.
What should you do if your website was affected?
Well, if you’ve been guilty of not using much variety in your link building, start doing so immediately. You have to balance out your ratio of keyword rich anchor text and generic, natural anchor text. I don’t know if I’d recommend changing the backlinks you’ve already built because you don’t really know which ones are still helping you. If you alter backlinks that are still helping you, you’ll be in worse shape.
The bottom line folks are that SEO is getting harder, but that’s just business. If we had to summarize effective SEO now, we would say:
Good Keywords + Optimized Website + Great Content + Varied Link Building + Social Media