After the 23rd April 2012 did you notice any of the following for your website?
- Drop in the number of daily visitors
- Large drop on where your website appears in Google
If you did then your website has probably been hit by the recent change of the Google search algorythm, a change they have named ‘Penguin’.
The Google Penguin change has been launched to try and address what Google refers to as ‘web spam’. Websites that offer poor, sometimes duplicate content and / or engage in aggressive search engine optimisation (SEO) practices to try and manipulate their position in search engine rankings.
Unfortunately, like with other changes by Google the end result is never perfect and some good websites have been caught in the crossfire. The problem is that this is very unfair on the website owners, especially if it means in loss of business to competitors.
When Google make these type of changes it does act as a wake-up call, especially if you are guilty of (quite innocently) falling foul of these guidelines.
Link building can be risky
One area many small business owners get caught is buying a cheap deal to build 1000 links to your website for a very small fee. What you don’t know is how those links will be built and, more importantly, the impact they will have. For this reason it is very wise not to buy links. In fact Google even states that links should not be purchased.
For a website with good content and serving a meanigful purpose, links will build up naturally over time. The method of how these links are built will vary, not only by the ‘anchor text’ in the link but also the source.
For example, a natural link profile will come from directories, blogs, forums, press releases, social networks (like Twitter, Facebook, etc) and others. They will also appear over time. Buying links may result in 1000 backlinks all being built on the same day, all with the same anchor text and from the same type of source i.e. forum signatures.
Avoid duplicate content
Another important aspect of the change is to ensure that your website contains good quality content that is not duplicated across several webpages (or other websites). Google can identify duplicate content and only gives credit to what they beleive is the source version.
This means that a small business owner should ensure that there is no duplicate content and ideally look to ensure that content is regularly updated. This is where a pay each month service can be very cost effective by allowing regular updates to keep content fresh.
Google’s primary objective
I want to close by remnding you that Google is always thinking about search in respect of the user experience of the person searching. If you keep this in mind when building your website and updating the content together with avoiding suspect SEO practices, you hopefully will not experience the wrath of the penguin.
If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact me.