Whether you’re a webmaster, an SEO or a business owner with a website, Google’s Panda and Penguin updates shouldn’t be anything new to you. In February of 2011, Google unleashed the Panda, which targeted websites and content farms, penalizing for low quality, unoriginal content. In April of 2012, Google threw a Penguin into the mix; the Penguin updated targeted “over-optimized” websites and black hat SEO tactics.
You might have been or run risk of being penalized if:
- Your Page Titles Suck – they’re stuffed with keywords and are clearly written robots, not people
- Your On-Site Content is Pointless – the content on your site has repetitive phrases, or it provides no true value to visitors
- You’re Still Participating in Link Exchanges – you know what the emails look like and yeah, you’re still replying
- Your Content is Recycled – the content on your site is copied from someone else’s site (please tell me you at least remembered to change the contact information)
- You Offer a Bad User Experience – your message is diluted by unnecessary features, poor navigation and no direction for visitors to follow
These are just a few of the reasons why your site has been or will be penalized as Google continues to unleash updates to their ever-changing algorithm.
If you’re tired of being pushed around by these pesky zoo creatures, we have some advice. The first step is admitting your site falls under one or more of the five categories above. Once you reach that point, devise a counter-attack (no bamboo or fish necessary) which should include analyzing:
- User Experience – enough of the bells and whistles, simplicity is key. Examine your website’s statistics, know your goals/conversions and accommodate to your site’s visitors accordingly. Give visitors what they want so you can get what you want.
- Page Titles – write your titles for people, not robots. No more of this – <title>Green Puppies Red Puppies Orange Puppy Purple Puppy Breeder Breeders Dog</title>. Let’s see some more of this – <title>Adorable Puppies for Sale at Ferchen’s Dog Shop of Buffalo, NY</title> (shout out to Joe Ferchen’s non-existent dog shop).
- Website Content – just like page titles, write your content for people, not robots. Provide value to your site’s visitors through your content and optimize more for conversions rather than search engines. The more beneficial your content is to visitors, the more likely they will return for more, share with their friends and ultimately, convert.
- Links – create great content and the links will come naturally. Always think – “if search engines didn’t exist, would I be doing this?” Identify potentially harmful links to your website using tools such as Majestic SEO’s Site Explorer or Remove’em and conduct outreach to have them removed. Mainstreethost has taken on several “post-Penguin projects” and has a 75% success rate with link removal. Clearly, webmasters are responding and reacting to requests.
- Going Forward – undoubtedly, search engines will continue to change how they rank websites and what content they choose to display. It is your job as an SEO, webmaster, business owner, etc. to adapt to these changes. The days of gaming search engines are behind us and more so now than ever, the decisions you make when aiming for the number one spot on Google can literally shut your business down (on the web at least). Be cautious of which practices and tactics you choose to implement going forward.
Mike Biondo, an inbound marketing and visual specialist created this comic-style explanation of why your site’s being eaten alive by Pandas and Penguins and what you can do to make them stop.
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