If you noticed that your site’s organic traffic has left after the 24th of April, then you are probably hit by Google’s Penguin update, which is now fully functioning and live.
“Penguin” update is the official name of the known “webspam update” or “over-optimization penalty” update which Matt Cutts had pre-announced almost two months ago.
What is Penguin update?
This is simply an algorithm update which penalizes black hat SEO techniques. According to Google, sites that use white hat SEO strategies and focus on great unique content creation and on the improvement of their usability and visibility will not be hurt at all. This update will penalize sites that use black hat SEO techniques and shortcuts with the purpose to manipulate SERPs. The goal of Penguin update is to identify those sites and penalize them while help useful and informative ones rank higher.
Here is an example of banned spammy sites taken by the official Google search blog
Has your site got hit?
The easiest way to find out whether or not your site got hit from Penguin update is to analyse your site’s analytics. Analyze your traffic after the 24th of April and compare it with the previous one.
- Have you noticed a traffic decrease?
- What is the percentage of your site’s search engine traffic? Compare it with direct and referral percentage traffic.
- Do you rank as high as before for several keywords?
- Have you seen your PR decreased? (there was a PR update yesterday)
If your traffic or the percentage of search engine traffic has been decreased and you rank lower in SERPs for several keywords, then your site has been hit and it’s time to take action.
If you feel that your site got penalized unfairly, you can provide a feedback
How to go through Penguin update
First of all don’t panic. If your site got hit… even if you lost all of your traffic, you can survive; the only thing you need to do is to take action now… not later, NOW!
Things to be done:
- Review your siteGo through your site and remove all spammy pages. Those pages could be ad, keywords stuffed, link farm pages etc. Everything that is not comply with Google’s quality guidelines should be removed.
- Remove annoying adsAds are not something that your visitor enjoys, and now that you have to focus on your visitor’s experience, it is time to remove them. It is better to remove all pop-ups, pop-unders, half page ads and make sure that everything you leave is not interrupting your visitor’s experience. It is better to spend some time to find other monetization methods for your site than to be banned from Google.
- Keyword stuffingHere is a second example taken by Inside Searchabout keyword stuffingIf you were using this technique in the past it is time to move forward and forget about it
- Link farmsCheck your site for link farm pages; pages with too many outbound links and stop using link exchanges, manual surfs, auto-surfs, auto generated hits bots etc. All your links should be natural and from high quality relevant websites.
- Use ethical SEO techniquesWhether or not you got hit, from now on you should use only ethical SEO techniques. It takes time, but it is really effective in the long run. Your site is a business and you build it to stay for long, right?If you haven’t done already, read “How to survive the upcoming Google update”, a step-by-step survival guide.
- Create unique useful content regularlyGoogle now ranks high quality websites which prove to be useful and have original content. Use social media and share your content with others, make it viral and informative and your ranking will increase rapidly
Although Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, recently said that Google wants webmasters to deliver the best content to their visitors instead of doing SEO, ethical search engine optimization is a must and it will have great results.