Other than trying to work out why Google is targeting my favourite creatures, the recurring question on marketers’ lips is ‘what’s changed’?
It’s clear that While Panda – Google’s previous update – was more focussed on content quality, Penguin’s aim is to remove spam and ‘unnatural’ rankings.
Some of the things that can be deemed spam…
- Hidden or invisible text – My personal favourite. In the early noughties I used to come across hundreds of sites guilty of this. My favourite being a plumber that had a white background with white text on top repeating “Britney spears” as this was the most searched term on the web at the time. Great back then for getting unique visitors I’m sure, how much converted was most likely… not so great.
- Article spinning – taking an article, keeping the content exactly the same then attacking it with a thesaurus. The likelihood of it making sense to your average reader was pretty low, but search algorithms still picked them up as coherent articles, enabling the spin.
- Splogging – Or spam blogs. Creating blog sites which were usually used for the above, spinning out a lot of low-level articles.
- Link farms – A group of pages that pass links to each other within a network amongst themselves. Sharing vast amounts of these throughout their otherwise meaningless network. Now a dangerous place to find yourself, almost like ending up in the wrong part of town in the middle of the night.
- Comment Spam – Forums, blogs, wikis and guest books were often found littered with comments that had random links or signatures taking you to sites which infected your computers with trojans.
15 things marketers should be doing now, in response to Penguin
Whether the flippers of Penguin have made it to your website or not, it’s time to act on the tune dotSearch have been singing for months now.
Here are our top 15 tips for marketers who want to stay on top of their search:
1. Prioritise production of quality content
2. Focus on winning earned links
3. Embrace updates; fighting Google on an algorithm subject will take far longer than simply removing the issue or fixing it.
4. Blog – on a regular basis and keep your readers engaged.
5. Update and refresh your pages. ALL OF THEM.
6. Remove unrelated content (especially if your business/sites audience has changed)
7. Avoid buying links
8. Make your website a place where people, customers and web users enjoy and would return
9. Get social, tweet, like, pin, +1, link and interact on every level
10. Increase conversion rate
11. Split test layout and key terms
12. Surveys; ask your audience, it’s the customer you want to please, what makes them come back and what will make them tell others to come back?
13. Link content to conversion paths
14. Use email marketing? Your monthly newsletter can be a great way of updating a news section on your site.
15. Does your website have an FAQ section? I’m sure every business has a set of unique questions people ask… no matter how stupid it may sound!
Algorithm changes are here to stay, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Remember – if your competitors’ websites are penalised whilst you stay on the right side of the tracks, you’ll see your own site’s positions and traffic improve.