So. The latest update to Google’s algorithm, “The Google Penguin Update”, is over a month old and the search dust is settling. The updates main focus was to sort out the “socialness” of sites and look at how popular a site really is. This mainly has to do with links…
Before we explain what happened, we need to get how links are seen at Google.
Google considers links as crowd “votes”. So, theoretically, sites that get more votes should rank higher on Google because more people find them valuable.
Google checks out the number of, quality and relevance of websites that link to yours. When Google looks at your link profile, they’re figuring out what types of websites link to yours, how quickly you got these links, and the anchor text (the clickable words) used by the linking website. When Google’s algorithm detects such things as a large number of new links or anchor text that is totally the same, it raises a big red flag.
Search engine guys know that if you attract more links by creating unique, worthwhile content that others will want to link to naturally. However, that’s hard, because you have to spend time or money to do it (p.s.-it’s worth it).
If you take shortcuts to get links then you might have been hit by the Penguin update. A common theme appears to be a total lack of natural links.
What Google paid the most attention to in killing relevance was on sites that had:
1. Paid text links using exact match anchor text: If you try and rank for a certain term (such as “exotic used cars”) one way to do it is by buying links from other websites with that exact matching anchor text. However, this is against Google’s guidelines, as Google says that this a paid link that exists solely to manipulate PageRank, rather than to provide any actual value to visitors.
2. Comment spam: If you have a blog we know you have seen this… “Hey, great post…check out this totally spammy link where I’ll sell you something, blah, blah, blah…)” Well, Google hates these just like you. Two things proved to be killers for websites trying to unnaturally rank for specific keywords: 1. sigs in comments that contained exact match anchor text; 2.folks who used a spammy user name (e.g., Best-exotic-used-car-company) as exact match text.
3. Guest posts on sketchy sites: Although guest posts are actually a good way to earn links to your site, sites melted by the Penguin had links pointing to their website from places filled with low-quality articles where the focus was on the links rather than the content.
4. Article marketing sites: Weak articles featuring links with exact match anchor text were another common factor among sites.
5. Links from “dangerous” sites: Wow! I’ve won a free iPad!… and I can’t close these 14 windows that just popped up. Do you have inbound links from sites that have been flagged for malware, numerous pop-ups, or other spammy issues? These “bad neighborhoods” are a danger.
The Penguin update has just tweaked Google’s algorithm to catch up to those who try to game their way to higher Google rankings (and, to be fair, some who simply don’t know any better or fully get SEO). Google has a section devoted to link schemes and makes no secret that such practices “can negatively impact your site’s ranking in search results.”
There are hundreds of other factors at play that Google’s algorithm looks at:
• Does your site have too many ads? – That’s bad
• Does your site have fresh content? – That’s good.
• Is your business on Google+? – That’s good too.
Getting your site ranked needs a holistic approach. Google will continue to try and help those who take it.
~Now go out there and get ranked