Penguin 1.0, the “Over Optimization Penalty,” was released in April 2012. Basically, that update:
Reduced the rankings of websites with a high percentage of exact-match anchor text on their off-page links
Sites engaging in “keyword stuffing” were negatively impacted
Websites with an abundance of links coming from low-quality websites saw reduced rankings
Google’s Matt Cutts has made it clear we’ll see Penguin 2.0 in the coming weeks.
The Big Question: What’s Penguin 2.0 Going to Do?
At this point, we really don’t know the specifics, so we’re really going to be speculating. But, in a video Cutts recently released, he noted Penguin 2.0, “will go deeper and have more of an impact than the first version of the Penguin update.”
That’s pretty scary news, especially in a profession where you never really know exactly what Google is doing. However, there are some things you should be aware of and can do to protect your website from receiving a serious demotion in Google:
1. Know your link profile well
SEO experts in general are expecting Google to be much more sophisticated in its ability to determine which links to your site are legitimate, natural links and which links are spammy and focus on manipulating your search rankings. Google has a disavow tool which allows you to tell Google that you don’t want certain links to your site to factor into your search rankings. If, after reviewing the links to your site, you note a number of spammy links, then make sure you have them disavowed.
2. Guest Blogging
This method of building links works well for many SEOs, and it will probably continue to work well with Penguin 2.0. But, the links themselves will probably receive a little less value. An additional signal Google is likely to take into account is the number of social shares guest posts receive, as well as the authority of the people sharing the post.
3. Stronger Authority Recognition
Many years ago, Google gave websites with the most links and keywords in their content the best rankings – sounds incredible now. But, these days, Google is all about bringing the best in personalization and quality, authoritative search results. Because of that, Google should be better prepared to determine how much “authority” your site has now. Think of it this way: you know how when you search on certain keywords some spammy results still appear near the top of the search engines? The frequency of those results should continue to decrease, and hopefully soon disappear altogether.
4. Focus on Natural Link Building
A “natural” link, as far as Google sees it, comes from a website that’s high-quality in its own regard and thematically related to the topic of your website. It also shouldn’t have overly optimized anchor text. Most experts believe 10 – 30% of links should contain anchor text that exactly matches your keywords.
How Will You Prepare?
So, given this new information, how are you going to prepare for Penguin 2.0? Do you even need to prepare – maybe you’ve been engaging in extremely white-hat on-and-off-page SEO. Remember, you can always contact ZD Design if you need help with optimizing your website and staying in line with Google’s constantly changing standards.