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Stay on the good side of Google Penguin

Beware of Google Penguin

The war on search spam continues...

March 27, 2013 6:20 by

About a year ago, in late April 2012, Google created and released a new search algorithm called Penguin. He was the tough kid on the block; targeting any websites that engage heavily in spam tactics and ‘ratting’ you out to the public by – among other things – degrading your search engine status.

Penguin famously hates spam, spammers and anything spam-like. Spam to him is like, well, Spam. In fact, Kipp worries about angering Penguin because one of the activities he frowns upon is unnecessary repetition of keywords. And we’ve been saying sp*m quite a bit. The point is, as an online site that heavily relies on its traffic, the last thing you want to do is get on Penguin’s bad side.

The initial release had dishonest (that’s fair to say) websites in a digital panic frenzy, mostly because they engaged in ‘keyword stuffing’ and ‘shallow link’ schemes. According to this month’s report by Portent, a Seattle-based Internet marketing agency, Penguin’s accuracy is getting stronger and tougher by the day. It’s meant to tackle “the stuff in the middle;” between fantastic, high quality content and spam.

‘In the initial Penguin update, the only sites we saw penalised had link profiles comprised of more than 80 percent manipulative links. Within two months, Google lowered the bar to 65 percent,’ states the report.

A few months later, Google started to both automatically and manually penalise websites that had 50 percent manipulative links. Matt Cutts, described as a distinguished engineer at Google, stressed that Penguin shouldn’t be referred to as a penalty, as it’s actually just an algorithmic change that demotes the ranking of ‘cheating’ sites.

In layman’s terms, all webmasters, marketers and SEO professionals need to clean up their act. If you want to keep Penguin happy, don’t pay for links, participate in link farms, participate in content farms, build websites purely for link building, place excessive links within ‘comments’ sections of websites or really anything that doesn’t directly ‘market your product or spread relevant information’.

Instead, focus on actually engaging with the community, deal with reputable directories and for the love of god, be patient enough for organic growth to kick in. The misconception is that there is a war on SEO, when in reality – at least according to Cutts – it’s a war on spam.

He says there are people who continue to sell links, despite the fact that they don’t do any good. “That’s part of how SEO has a bad reputation,” he says.

If your content is worth it, it’ll spread itself.

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