First of all because they rarely have much of an effect on my sites, or when sites are effected there will be some that have gone up, as well as those that have gone down, it’s one of the advantages of having so many site, and being able to test out different things on them.
and second because most of the “noise” after an update is caused by people trying to sell you a “fix” for whatever the latest update did…
This time I’ve been asked by so many subscribers that I figure it’s worth pitching in with my ‘opion’ on what these updates were, what I believe this means for “SEO” going forward, and some general SEO/traffic generation tips.
So what did the Panda & Penguin updates do?
Note: I’m not going to differentiate between the two, as the bit that is relevant is what they did (or at least appear to have done), why, and what you need to know/do going forward.
Basically Google have continued with their ongoing efforts to ‘tidy’ up their search results. This time they appear to have targeted ‘low quality’ on site aspects/content and ‘low quality’ off site links (aka attempts to manipulate their algorithm).
In other words, on page/site keyword ‘spam’, backlink ‘spam’ & anchor text ‘spam’.
1. on page/site keyword ‘spam’
there’s two parts to this that appear to trigger ranking ‘penalties’: –
a. if you have too many (more than one probably counts) articles/posts on your site that target the same keywords, this is considered ‘spammy’ (over optimization).
This is exactly why I recommend building “Niche” targeted sites that cover a range of ‘LSI’ related keywords within a niche [see http://NicheReaper.net].
This is how you create an ‘Authority’ site, which Google now appears to ‘like’ even more after these latest updates.
b. if your articles or posts have the same keyword(s) appearing too often (again you should be using related keywords), or if you have the keywords appearing a lot in meta tags, image tags etc.
Keywords in your content is now a case of “less is more”, which in many ways makes things simpler as you can concentrate on writing content that is more ‘readable’ and natural sounding, with LSI/related keywords included instead of your primary keyword(s).
2. backlink ‘spam’
You have probably heard about many of the big blog backlink networks (like BuildMyRank.com) being actively de-indexed.
Even though these kind of links appear to be pretty much the same as truly ‘natural’ links, Google still considers using such networks to be “gaming” their search results, so they’ve taken steps to find the sites in these networks and ‘manually’ de-index them.
If you were using a blog network to build backlinks for your sites and saw a drop in your sites rankings it was most likely because a big chunk of the backlinks to your site were suddenly worthless, having been ‘devalued’ by Google.
Links from other sources, such as article directories, also appear to have “devalued”.
3. anchor text ‘spam’
This one shuoldn’t really be that big of a surprise, as it’s something that Google ‘filter’ fairly easily… It seems they’ve started penalizing sites that have too high a percentage of their incoming links using exact the same anchor text, usually the same (primary) keyword for the site.
What To Do.
So that’s a quick, and hopefully simple, summary of what the Panda & Penguin updates have done ‘imho (in my humble opion), now here’s what I believe you need to know, and do, going forward…
1. on page/site keyword ‘spam’
a. This is something you should be doing anyway, before these updates: make sure you are building ‘Niche’ sites, with articles covering a variety of related keywords to build authority.
If you have sites that have multiple articles/posts targeting the same keyword, you may need to remove or ‘re-purpose’ them.
You could re-use the extra content by using it for article submissions or other “satellite” site content
Or you can take some of it and add it to the main post for the keyword, although you will most likely need to re-write the content to remove excess keywords, simply find related keywords to replace them with.
This will also help to make sure your content is ‘long’ enough, you should be aiming for 400+ words as a MINIMUM.
b. Your content should have a ‘keyword density’ of 3% or less, in fact you should really only get your main keyword in the content 2 or 3 times, so basically forget about trying to get the ‘keyword density’ just right, it’s not really relevant, just write good quality natural content that includes related/LSI keywords.
AND you need to make sure you don’t stuff keywords in to your ‘tags’. Try dropping your keyword meta tag, and only have the keyword once in the description meta tag, which should be a real, useful, eye catching description that encourages people to click on your link in the SERP’s.
Basically you don’t really need to worry about focusing on getting your keywords in to your content, Google’s algorithm is (supposed) to be clever enough to work that out for itself…
2. backlink ‘spam’
Don’t use big, public blog networks.
Some of the smaller ‘private’ one’s do still work, simply because Google haven’t targeted them (yet), possibly because they are private, or because they’re not big enough to be worth while, but these kind of networks are more difficult to find and get in to, and there’s no guarantee they won’t get targeted in the future.
Basically my advice would be don’t worry about blog networks, they were very easy to use and pretty effective, but their day is done (for the time being at least), so just get on with regular link building.
Some of the most effective link building now are things like Press Releases, Link Wheels/Trees, guest posts, blog comments, and social stuff, especially Google+
We still recommend (and use) this software – http://targetedtraffictactics.com as it’s ideal for building link trees, and building lots of lower quality links that point to (and boost) your other in bound links (pages on article sites, hubpages, squidoo, blogspot, etc.) that point to your main site.
Note: don’t worry about removing your links from these blog networks, Google have already “devalued” them for you.
3. anchor text ‘spam’
Make sure you vary the anchor text for your incoming links. You should be aiming for LESS than 25% of your inbound links having your exact match primary keyword as the anchor text.
Mix up the anchor texts you use with related (lsi) keywords, your domain url, and some generic stuff (e.g. ‘click here’, ‘check this out’, ‘good info’ etc.)
Most of this advice is pretty much standard, common sense stuff that you should have been doing anyway before these updates, and the keyword stuff actually makes it easier as you can just get on with writing content that ‘reads’ more naturally.
SEO Backlinking Tips
So what does still work for building links to get your site ranked: –
1. Getting indexed – http://seouk.com/backlinks/ still works, exactly the same
2. Articles Submissions – still works, although reduced effectiveness, can be boosted back by creating links to the articles pages, see the Link Wheels product (again http://targetedtraffictactics.com is perfect for automating this)
3. Directory Submission – still works
4. RSS Submissions – still works, but not as effective as they used to be 12+ months ago, but so quick and easy to do it’s still worth taking the time
5. Blog comments – good quality blog comments on related blogs are even more powerful (relatively) now, just make sure you don’t use your keywords for the link/name, unless it’s your URL
6. Video Submissions – still works and works well, the number of people who search for stuff on YouTube is only beaten by Google itself now.
7. Social Bookmarking – still works, Social Profile links are ideal to use for building links to your submitted articles and other satellite sites that link to your main site (Hubpages, Squidoo etc), Social Bookmarking on the other hand is still working very well, as ‘social signals’ (e.g. Facebook ‘Likes’, Twitter ‘Tweets’ and G+ ‘+1’s) seem to have a significant link juice ‘weight’.
8. Traffic Widgets for blogs – not so effective as they once were, as they could now be seen as being links from a blog network, so this is the one thing that I’d say is worth dropping from your linking strategy.
9. Press Releases – still works VERY WELL!
10. Blog Carnivals – still works
Some Additional notes:
Exact Match Keyword Domains DO still work well, and in fact they seem to have been hit far less by the ‘main keyword in anchor text’ to often in backlinks penalties. This makes a lot of sense, otherwise Google would have ended up ‘dropping’ a lot of “brand” websites…
When building links you should always be using 1. a variety of anchor texts 2. a variety of sources for the links.
Make sure you are building a ‘Niche’ site that targets many related keywords, this will help Google see your site as an ‘Authority’ site, and ‘Authority’ sites have done well out of these updates.
Start using Google+ and author tags to claim authorship of your content and get your G+ profile picture next to your site for more clicks [I’ll do a post on this in the next few weeks]
and here’s a great post where a bunch of different SEO ‘experts’ are asked a bunch of questions about the updates: –
As an alternative, if you’re fed up with being scared of Google’s updates, then you should learn about ‘paid traffic’, it’s a lot easier than you might think: –
I hope you found the Google updates info useful, and don’t forget to post your comments/feedback etc. below.