Google Penguin and Panda Updates – What Works Best Now is What has Always Worked

Google Penguin and Panda Updates

SEO Industry experts are always on the look out for the recent updates from Google and it’s constant changes in search algorithm. The Panda updates which have been hitting search results for months have been followed by the newly conceptualized algorithm known as Penguin. The main concern always is about their effects and implications and what we can do right now.

There’s so much information and confusion among the SEO community especially among the small business owners. As much as we want to know, one thing is certain and that we should always adjust our tactics every now and again if we don’t want our sites to be negatively hit by these updates.

We have come across these tips from various industry leaders from Search Engine Land, SEOMoz, and Google’s Webspam expert Matt Cutts himself. First off, let’s look at these specific Google updates.

Larger Google Index

The biggest news is that Google has increased the size of its base index (the collection of web pages and documents it can show as search results) by 15 percent.

Rank Scoring

(launch codename “Bi02sw41”) Improvements to how search terms are scored in ranking. One of the most fundamental signals used in search is whether and how search terms appear on the pages you’re searching. This change improves the way those terms are scored.

Authority and Diversity of Results

More authoritative results and more domain diversity. (launch codename “Horde”, project codename “Domain Crowding”) Sometimes search returns too many results from the same domain. This change helps surface content from a more diverse set of domains.

Keyword Stuffing

(project codename “Spam”) This is a keyword stuffing classifier improvement. They have classifiers designed to detect when a website is keyword stuffing. This change made the keyword stuffing classifier better.

Expanded Site Links

More and better site links appear in the top search results. If your site is an authority for a search term, your domain site will display expanded site links within your website.

Local Changes

Google seems to be suggesting that it has able to identify the correct local result for specific navigational searches, even when site is poorly optimized.

(launch codename “onebar-l”) This is for searches that include location terms, e.g. “web design sunshine coast”. Google will more likely rank the local navigational homepages in top position even in cases where the navigational page does not mention the location.

Penguin Penalty Box

The term “overoptimization” was coined. This means “every single site we looked at which got negatively hit by the Penguin Update had a “money keyword” as its anchor text for over 60% of its incoming links.”

If you have 50% less of your anchor text keywords optimized for your “money term”, you would be apparently immune to Penguin Penalties.

Google Penguin Takeaway

  1. Google is trying to replace or devalue “anchor text” used with niche/content relevancy of linking sites as a primary link relevancy (or quality) signal.
  2. Links from similar niche, relevant content, or coming from thought leader mentioned on an article are now much more important than ever.

What works best?

Firstly let me say that at the time of writing the Penguin update is only 2.5 weeks old. There is not enough data to make anything other than and educated guess. The tactics below have always been a solid base for any SEO campaign.

Create targeted micro sites

Google wants the Internet to be filled with sites that provides users what they are looking for, and give authority to sites that are relevant to what are relevant to what are the user is looking for.

By creating smaller sites of “higher quality”, you get to expand your presence in your niche, and use that expanded visibility and send relevant and authoritative positive ranking signals towards your main site.

Diversify anchor text

Mix up anchor texts and don’t strive for 100% on-page optimization. Consider 50% as a goal and avoid keyword stuffing. Choose secondar and tertiary phrases to optimize rest of links for

White hat backlinking

Invest on unique content and use social media to get lots of links to your customer site. There are marketers that believe high quality blog networks still work.

Every SEO tactic is different and constantly changing. You have to play with Google’s rules with all these pain-the-neck updates.

The golden rule nowadays, focus on quality content and social media linking. Remember to do a couple of test in your domains as the changes always go on.