Posted to Erik Wagner's blog on June 5th, 2012

Protecting Your Marketing Investment: 5 Ways To Penguin Proof Your Website

penguin attacking sleeping bear with cymbals

On April 24th, Google implemented the Penguin update, a new update to the Panda algorithm. The Penguin update is an attempt to reward websites that are well-optimized and penalize sites that are over-optimized. 

Officially, Google states that Penguin affected only 3.1% of queries in English. However, the sites that were hit saw large drops in their search rankings and traffic. Within hours of the implementation, “Penguined” sites saw drops in search engine traffic in excess of 70% and those with #1 rankings for major keywords no longer registered on the top 10 pages in Google. 

Although our clients did not experience any drops due to the Penguin update, we have had several new clients sign up with Volacci following the April 24th algorithm change that did see large drops (these websites were not intentionally trying to manipulate the search engines). Through our analysis of these “Penguined” sites we found that there were several similarities between them. Before your site falls prey to the Penguin, note the following five “strategies” you should avoid to protect your Internet marketing investment:  

  1. Spikes in in-bound links. Large spikes in the number of links created in a month can indicate that you are buying links or using some ”devious” methods to automate the building of links. Avoid creating spikes in your link building by being consistent about your link building techniques. Do not purchase links!
  2. Too many site-wide interior links. As a general rule, keep the number of links on a webpage under 100. If you need more then 100 links on a page, then it’s probably best to create more then one page. 
  3. Unnatural numbers of links with the same anchor text. A natural link profile will have links with varied anchor text. This means that they will not all have the same keyword embedded in the link. Utilize varied anchor text and link text for all of your link building techniques. Include a few links directly to your domain as well to ensure that your link profile doesn’t look over-optimized.
  4. Unnatural numbers of links from only high PageRank websites. Be sure that you have links from high PR and low PR websites. Otherwise, your link profile will look unnatural. It’s okay to have links from websites that have a PR of 8 or 9 as long as you also have some links from websites that have a PR of 1 or 2. 
  5. Keyword stuffing. Keyword density is a myth. Using a keyword on a page merely to increase the number of instances looks unnatural to your visitors and to the search engine crawlers. Make sure that your content is clean, concise, and does not overuse any given keyword.

Out with the Old, In with the New

To boil it down, Google wants you to care about your link profile and your content. Old strategies that used to be effective are now being scrutinized, and penalized. 

If you were affected by Penguin or need to stay ahead of the next algorithm update, contact us at [email protected] to learn more. 

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