Getting Past the Penguin Update

Google’s Penguin update went live on the 24th of April. This was a massive change to Google’s SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages) designed to penalize pages using spamming tactics to improve their page rankings on Google. Some of the spamming activities that Google wanted to prevent included “Cloaking” and “Keyword Stuffing”.

While Google did try and clear out many business’s who weren’t adhering to the general guidelines for white hat SEO, many websites who were not using spam tactics reported a significant change to their page rank and traffic levels subsequent to the changes. This presents the question, “What can companies do to maintain or improve your page rank post Penguin.” There are fortunately a number of tried and tested techniques that business’s can employ to combat this which are listed below.

1. Link Audit: One important area to look at after the Penguin update is the quality of anchor text on your inbound links. Using low quality links with targeted anchor text is something many businesses have suffered for. It is recommended that only 2 out of 10 anchor texts be used for targeted linking then areas like anchor text distribution, domain and page authority need to be considered.

• Tools like Open Site Explorer can give you instant link analysis while Majestic SEO can conduct deeper analysis of your links and deem what percentage are considered as spam.

2. Link Authority: It has often been stated that quality links come from recognized domains and highly visited websites which is true. They also come from pages that provide perceived value to the user and shouldn’t be replicated across the page by the linker. Not only is it important to get quality links to improve your domain’s link authority but they are also assets for the user.

3. Identify Your Crawl Path: Information should be easily accessible for the user, if it is a complex procedure that means someone browsing can’t find content then the same applies to the Google Bots crawling your website. By establishing a clear crawl path you can make your content readily available for Google to index and show up for more search queries. The main solution here is prioritizing which pages that have high quality relevant content and making sure they are at a top-level.

4. Use the NoIndex: One issue with many websites is having duplicate content. It’s important to understand the structure of the website as penalties are not always incurred for reproducing content in.

• Start off by performing a quick site search on your domain e.g. “site:” and check the load time and number of results. It should state “About 6,650,000 results (0.14 seconds)”.

• Now use a search that removes a folder or sub domain by searching for “site: – site: “which resulted in “About 993,000 results (0.12 seconds)”. As can be seen there is a distinct difference and you can now compare this number you get to the amount of pages you expect in that section and dig deeper if the number seems high.

5. URL Management: Make sure that your url’s are never changed. Many companies will change them when there is new design, new management systems or new apps introduced. If this is managed properly only a small percentage of the link is cut to all pages linking to this page.  However more often than not the Penguin update means that businesses are being reprimand for not managing this properly where redirects lead to 404’s and blank pages. Balsamiq is a popular link analysis tool that can show you which linking root domains lead to blank pages.

6. SEO Monitoring: As all search marketers know if your content is being indexed your SEO efforts are being wasted. Google alerts can show you drops in your traffic with custom alerts. You can also monitor your uptime with Pingdom. Other tools to watch out for when trying to improve your page rank include:

• Google Analytics Debugger

• The various rank tracking tools such as Sheer Seo

• SEOmoz’s Google Analytics hook formats landing pages

7. Initiate Inbound Marketing: Many marketers regard this is the next step forward from SEO.  By dedicating yourself to improving your website your users will reward you. Balsamiq the root-domain and link analysis tool applies a small margin of their efforts to SEO but rank well for the majority of their related keywords. They propose the idea of less features and less time spent on problems and less costs. Their philosophy is to use less features, develop an intimate relationship through dedicated content and have an affordable budget. Fascinate and engage your users to the point where they are waiting on new content.

By following some of these steps and using a combination of these tools you can start to assess what impact the Penguin update has had on your website and begin to build around it to develop your current rankings or regain the ones you had before April 24th.

To find out more on white hat activities that are deemed Penguin trustworthy visit our Info Centre. Alternatively you can Contact today and one of our SEO consultants can help you implement a post Penguin strategy.