Guest post by Emma-Julie Fox
Within a few days of Google launching Penguin 2.0, a lot of people scrambled to understand what exactly this new algorithm is filtering and how they can protect their sites from getting penalized.
This is understandable, since the work of a lot of people depends on algorithm changes such as the one Google implemented.
So, what should you do to keep your web pages performing well even with Penguin 2.0? Here are a few tips:
1: Don’t Panic
Whenever Google makes algorithm changes, people have a tendency to panic, immediately thinking their websites are going to get penalized. It may be difficult to keep calm in the face of major changes, but that’s something you need to do in order to avoid getting hit.
Remember that decisions made when you’re panicking almost always blow up in your face. Take a step back and review your SEO strategies. Are you using any black hat tactics? If so, STOP. If not, then there’s no reason to panic at all.
2: Adopt a Long-term Strategy
If you truly want your business to grow, you need to plan your SEO strategies for the long term.
This means striving for slow but sure gains over the years, rather than the huge but temporary success commonly associated with black hat SEO tricks.
Your overall SEO plan needs to be flexible, keeping in mind that the internet is constantly changing and so are the rules of online marketing.
You need to be always ready for the next algorithm update as well as the latest online marketing trends.
3: Make Link Audits Part of Your SEO Process
You need to regularly check your links to make sure none of them could be reasons for getting penalized by Google. Make sure all of your links go to and come from pages that are still active, contain significant social engagement, are properly maintained, and are of good quality.
If any page fails in one or more of these things, then you should consider that link potentially toxic, in which case you need to have them removed. Remember that Penguin 2.0 primarily penalizes web spam, so it’s only logical that links are among the first things that’ll be checked. You need to get those bad links before Penguin does.
Helpful SEO Tools
The good news is that if you do find toxic links, there are tools that can help you detoxify. Here are three of the best tools you can use:
Link Detox – This tool can effectively expedite the detoxification process. As soon as you’ve signed up for an account on the Link Detox website, you can start your first report by clicking on the DTOX icon.
You’ll then be brought to a page where you need to provide the name of the site you wish to detox and indicate if Google has given the site an “unnatural link warning.”
You may then click on the “detox my site” button and within a few minutes, you’ll learn which of your links are healthy, which are suspicious, and which ones are downright toxic.
Quick Backlinks Tool – This tool gives you a list of your site’s top 2000 backlinks in just a few seconds. It shows you the link status, anchor text breakdown, and link type so you’ll know if a certain link comes from a redirect, a frame, or an image.
These pieces of information should give you a good idea on how strong your links are. All you need to do is provide the URL you want to analyze and then click on the “Run Report” tab. Voila! You have your report.
Screaming Frog – This tool helps you understand what search engine crawlers are likely to find on your site. All you need to do is download the program, enter the URL of your homepage, and then click on the Start button. The resulting report will show you if there are any broken links you need to fix.
More importantly, you’ll see if some of your external links are redirecting. If so, you need to make sure they aren’t redirecting to bad sites because if they are, then you’ll have to remove them.
Of course, these tools won’t actually do the detoxifying for you, but they let you know which links you need to remove. Once you identify those links, you should then contact the webmasters of the sites where those links come from and ask to have them removed.
If the bad links are still there after three attempts to have them removed, it may be time to disavow those links on Google Webmaster Tools. It may also be a good idea to submit a reconsideration request to Google, explaining how you’ve worked to clean up your site’s link profile.
Building Back Links That Work After Penguin 2.0
Improve Your Social Media Campaign
You’ve probably noticed how social media has grown in importance in recent years. The success of any business has become more and more reliant on people who are active in social media.
As a result, Google has started increasing the value of Google+ for SEO purposes. This makes it all the more important for you to strengthen your social media marketing campaign and create positive signals on multiple social platforms.
Make Content Marketing Work to Your Advantage
Whatever changes Google or any other search engine puts in place, relevant and high-quality content will still be essential to the success of your business.
Therefore, you should continue providing your audience with content they can relate to and more importantly, content they’re likely to find both interesting and useful.
Make sure each piece of content you post is long enough to provide real value (at least 700 words) and then throw in a couple of images here and there to offer a respite from boring walls of text. This is the kind of content that often leads to natural link building opportunities.
Okay, so now you know how to protect your sites from getting penalized by Penguin 2.0, but what if you’ve already been penalized? What can you do to get back on track? You may want to give these a try:
Evaluate Your Links
In the same way a link audit helps you avoid getting penalized, it can also help you get back on track after being penalized. There has to be a reason why you’re being penalized, right? As mentioned above, links are among the first things Penguin 2.0 is likely to check.
Therefore, there’s a good chance the problem with your sites can be found in your links. Be sure to check both inbound and outbound links. Remove all of the bad links and then see if your site’s rankings improve.
Remember that it can take some time for your site to regain its original rankings, so you need to go through the process patiently.
When you build links, remember that it’s important to do so in moderation. Likewise, you need to attain proper balance in link building. What exactly does this mean?
Well, if you build links exclusively from article dissemination tactics, you’re just as likely to get penalized as someone who builds links through black hat strategies.
What you need to do is build just a few links each month and make sure your links come from or connect to a variety of sites.
The kind of links that aren’t likely to get you in trouble (as long as you link in moderation) are infographic links, guest blog links, giveaway links, and links from competitors. It’s a good idea to draw up a link building plan to be on the safe side.
Whether you have an in-house SEO expert or you’ve chosen to outsource your SEO needs, you need to make sure the person (or persons) in charge of optimizing your sites know how to deal with the latest changes.
If you notice your webmaster panicking or not really knowing what to do, you’ll have to drop him.
Although that might seem like a drastic move, but it could be the most important move you’ll ever make in your effort to save your business from the Penguin.
A good SEO expert/company can definitely help you grow your business, but a bad one will only succeed in ruining your site.
The Google Penguin 2.0 changes may indeed pose a lot of threats to your website, but it doesn’t have to be such a huge problem. There are steps you can take to avoid getting in trouble and steps you can take to get out of trouble.
What’s important is for you to remember that the three pillars of SEO at this point are content, social media, and links. As long as you focus on the quality of these pillars, you should be good to go.