Thinking about Google Penguin 2.0

With Google’s recent Penguin 2.0 update there’s going to be some of you out there that are already feeling the pain, I’ll admit right here and now that I’ve felt some of that pain – although thankfully not too much.

The thing about being an seo consultant is (whether you work as a freelance seo consultant, an inhouse seo or even if you’re just dabbling in seo), you’re not going to get everything right, in fact you’re bound to get somethings wrong, in fact something’s that you’ve been doing right and that are consistent with Google tells you to do one day might not be right.

The world of seo is full of contradictory advice and evidence as well, that’s because most of it is speculation, most seos work on a small dataset, most can only make decisions based on the results they get from a few websites. We’re all human, we all stick with what works until it doesn’t work anymore then we move on to the next new thing. So you can follow what someone has told you to do to the letter and it might work for so long but eventually you’ll have to update your strategy – and this is good classic marketing in a way.

This is what Matt Cutts said about the new Penguin Update

So seos in the post-penguin 2.0 world need to keep doing what they’re doing to date, that is if you’ve been concentrating on building the best possible content. It’s true you still need links, it’s true anchor text is still important but the mantra of content is king is once again is the prevailing wind and you need to make sure you’re getting out there the best possible content that people need.

As I’ve been suggesting for a while, Google are going to try to get rid of the ridiculous amount of blog spam that’s been going on – so if you have content that can be found on other websites and it looks spammy – get rid of it, and make sure you get rid of any links from that content linking out, just get rid of them, don’t no follow the links. Preferably get rid of the pages altogether.

Google Plus is an increasingly important place to be getting that content out there (and I’ll come onto that in a moment) as authority takes pride of place in Google Penguin 2.0 but remember the rel=author meta link is just a digital signature back to your website – even if you don’t use Google Plus, Google is fairly good at generating a picture of you and your area of authority. The thing is don’t be taken in to believing it’s just about authority, Google is just using this digital signature to backup PageRank and PageRank still relies on links.

Of course Google Plus should be of the utmost importance to everyone right now – ignore it at you peril. For all those social media gurus out there that are creating content on your behalf be very careful – they are right in saying you need an authoritative source and they may be an authority (remember Penguin 2.0 is all about authority), but if you allow them to strengthen their online profiles from your campaign you are in the end only helping them grow their business at the expense of your own, also no one is more of an authority about your business and your business activities than you are. Bear in mind when they move away and become an authority in something else the strength of their social media input (from an seo point of view) will potentially start to deprecate.

Also be wary those that suggest creating fictitious accounts – Google has so much data on us that they’ll easily work out who we are and what we’re about and they’ll be working out the patterns of behaviour real people put in – if you aren’t behaving like a real person does through their social media activities expert to get a black mark against your site and your rankings.

If you’re reading this you’re probably wondering about hiring an seo consultant and if it’s worth speaking to a freelance seo consultant or an seo agency, the truth is make sure you’ve done everything you can yourself first, it’s no longer good enough to say I don’t have time to do it, especially if you’re a sole trader or there’s just a few of you in the business. Then even more so you need to be doing things yourself.

Make sure you deal with someone that speaks about seo as part of an overall online marketing strategy – because that’s what it has to be, it has to be really joined up with everything else your business is doing.

For those of you that have been damaged by the Penguin 2.0 update, look back at what you have done, get rid of some of those dodgy links but don’t put too much emphasis on it, Google knows not everyone out there is able to find the links and with this update you can spend some time concentrating on becoming more of an authority in your chosen sphere, create loads of high quality content – just step that up.

If you see any spam in the results that you’d like to report to Google post Penguin Update you can do it here: Penguin Webspam Form.

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