Penguin is becoming more unforgiving to violators of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines with every update from Google. As they zero in on more unnatural links, some of the updates they’ve previously released may have affected your campaigns. You’ll need to take steps to overcome previous Penguin updates and prepare your websites for upcoming changes to the algorithm.
What does Penguin 2.0 target?
The latest update, Penguin 4 with Penguin 2.0 technology, looks deeper into spammy queries, exact match keyword density, and unnatural link profiles. Matt Cutts has discussed these in the video he released last month, before the update came out, but we’re beginning to see its effects more clearly now. While previous Penguin updates focused largely on the homepage, Penguin 2.0 goes deeper into inner pages – category and subcategory pages.
While you may not engage in practices frowned upon by Google and this algorithm, you may still be hit by the updates if links you’ve built previously were hit as well. Low-quality backlinks and inbound links from violators of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines may cause your rankings to fall, or worse, may get your own sites penalized.
In-Depth Link Profile Analysis
You’ll need to start by cleaning up your link profile. If you notice your campaigns taking a dip after the last Penguin update, you’ll need to look deeper into your inbound links and note which sites are spammy and which links look manipulative to Google. You can easily request an in-depth link profile analysis through your reseller dashboard.
The next step is to remove these unnatural links from your profile. You’ll need to contact the webmasters of the websites to request the removal of links to your site from theirs. Should they refuse, or if you do not get any response, you’ll need to use Google’s Disavow Tool. You can find instructions on how to use the tool in this previous blog entry.
Checking for Keyword Over-Optimization
You will also have to check your content all over the site and ensure that none of your pages are over-optimized for specific keywords. What constitutes over-optimization?
- When you have too many unrelated keywords in a single page.
- When you have too many exact match or “money” keywords, and not enough branded keywords.
- When the ratio of your keyword mentions and the length of your website copy is unnaturally high.
The three-step solution involves:
- Cleaning up your copy by creating long-tail varieties of your main money keyword and using these to avoid over-optimization.
- Targeting your audience in your content and focusing on your brand in the message.
- Reducing the number of anchor texts on each of your pages.
Have a look at a more in-depth discussion of checking for keyword over-optimization and cleaning up your website copy in this guide.
Building Editorially-Given Links
Once you’ve cleaned up your backlink profile and your website copy, it’s time to build the foundation to boost your campaigns back up on the SERPs. Editorially-given links serve as strong trust signals for Google’s Penguin algorithm, and they are good for your clients’ reputation as industry leaders. Here are some ways to get editorially-given links:
- Resource Pages – Create a resource page where you can link to other areas of your site where people can find information. Resource pages attract more inbound traffic, effectively redistribute your older content, and make it easier for people (and crawlers) to find information on different topics.
- Competitor Analysis – You’ll need to be careful when doing a competitor analysis and check their backlinks for spammy links, but if done right, you can mine your competitors’ backlinks through this strategy. See how your backlink profile differs from your competitors, and fill in the gaps.
- Tutorials, Cheat Sheets, and Glossaries – Your market wants references they can access on the spot. Provide free downloadable cheat sheets, tutorials, and glossaries. Make short video tutorials as well – these attract editorially-given links well.
- Guest Posting – You’ll need to extend your network to publishers who are online influencers in your niche, and pitch your story to them. Guest posting allows you to link to your own site from theirs, establish your knowledge of the industry you are targeting, and give you a good addition to your link profile. You can read more about how to do this in my previous post.
I’ve shared more tips on building editorially-given links in this post.
We’d be happy to help you overcome challenges brought by Google Penguin 2.0 and other Penguin updates. Contact your account manager today for a website audit, or sign up for free today to get started. Keep checking back for more updates!