As you know, Google rolled out Penguin 2.0 By May 22nd, only 2.3% of the sites in Google’s index have taken a hit from it. Needless to say, Penguin 2.0 was nothing compared to the first iteration.
Some say that Google Penguin 2.0 was less harsh than the first.
But I think that it had more to do with the fact that most SEOs that changed their link building approach after Penguin 1.0. Blog comments were replaced by guest blogging. Profile links were replaced with broken link building. And many black hatters (myself included) went legit.
Webmaster’s Note: This is a Guest Post courtesy of Brian Dean of Backlinko, a site with the sole purpose of helping intermediate SEOs take their game to the next level.
Unfortunately, Google isn’t done rolling out punishing updates that nail site owners who violate their webmaster guidelines. If you want to survive Google updates, you need to be ahead of the curve.
Here’s a quick and “dirty” guide to surviving Google’s next update. Obviously, I don’t have insider knowledge at Mountain View, but I do have a few educated predictions about where the Google algorithm is moving.
Step #1: Pay More Attention to Linking Domain Relevancy
Many of the top SEOs I follow have completely ditched PageRank, DA, PA, LDR and other indicators of authority, setting their cross-hairs on relevancy.
I’ve already noticed the difference that a relevant link makes in the SERPs… even one that’s not particularly authoritative. In my experience, links from closely related sites work like gangbusters.
More importantly, related links represent something even more important than short term SERP gains: a natural link profile. Although determining relevancy algorithmically isn’t easy, it’s something Google will be working on between now and Penguin 3.0.
When link prospecting, consider looking at a site’s relevancy in addition to the usual suspects of authority factors. Relevancy is a crucial part of link building that will never die.
Step #2: Rethink Your On-Page SEO
Keyword stuffing may be so 2005, but that doesn’t mean solid, advanced white hat on-page SEO is obsolete. In fact, I recently compiled a list of the most important “advanced on-page SEO strategies“.
Amazingly, only two of the insights had anything to do with meta tags!
In fact, most of the strategies were simply tips on how to create a better landing page for users.
After all, Google uses usability and user experience metrics to determine whether or not a page satisfies a user’s query.
I recommend doing the little things to make your content even better, instead of worrying about relevancy signals.
- Creating an engaging first paragraph to improve dwell time
- Using subheaders generously on your pages
- Writing long, in-depth content
- Including diagrams, videos and screenshots
Step #3: Don’t Forget Brand Signals
Remember that several of Google’s ranking factors revolve around so-called “brand signals”. In general, Google gives big brands special treatment when it comes to ranking and algorithm updates.
But how can you — John Q webmaster — look like GM or Microsoft?
Fortunately, you don’t have to execute a Fortune 500 budget marketing plan to make it happen. Here are a few tricks to increase brand signals on your site:
- Make sure to have active and regularly updated Facebook, Twitter and Google+ profiles. Also consider adding LinkedIn and Pinterest to your social media mix. The more “digital real estate” you take up, the bigger you look.
- Use your brand name online. When people talk about YouTube, do they use anchor text like “video sharing website”? Of course not! So when linking to your site, make sure some of your anchor text is branded.
- Add Google authorship to your site. Even if you don’t write a lot of content, one or more Google verified authors tells Google that you’re a real person that’s responsible for the content on that page.
Besides creating a great site, moving slowly and carefully with link building, and building quality social signals, these 3 tips should help shield your site from Penguin 3.0…and even Penguin 5.0!
After all, they’re all tried-and-true strategies that help make your site better for users and search engines: something that will never go out of style.