Following on from Google’s Penguin update which was rolled out last year and which had devastating effects on many websites’ rankings across the Internet, Google has now introduced its latest algorithmic weapon in the war against web spam – Penguin 2.0.
Prior to its release, we talked about this update in an earlier blog post “Penguin 2.0. Everything is Changing Again – Or is it?” So if you’re familiar with the original Penguin update then Penguin 2.0 should not look too dissimilar, as both are essentially designed to penalise websites with unnatural link profiles.
Google has always warned that paid link building is a violation of their terms of service and is liable to result in penalties. However, search results have previously suggested that Google has lacked the technology to completely enforce this and consequently, many websites have been able to get away with achieving high search engine rankings using suspect link building tactics.
So should you be worried about Penguin 2.0?
In a word, YES!
Before Penguin came along, the best way to get ranked for a particular keyword was to build large numbers of links to a specific page on your website using that keyword within the link anchor text. This worked because Google would read the word in the link and deduce that the page it is linking to must be related to the keyword, so you would gain some kudos in the rankings.
What has changed with Penguin 2.0 is that Google is now much better at understanding and interpreting the text and other content on your web page and consequently, is not so reliant on anchor text to figure out what the page is about. But rather than simply saying “we don’t need keyword anchor text anymore”, Google is taking it a step further and is saying that too many keyword anchor text links are a sign of suspect link building tactics and is downgrading the value of these. So if you have too many then you are likely to see a drop in rankings.
So how do you fix this?
The most common problem with websites that have suffered a drop in rankings is down to having too high a proportion of specific keyword anchor text links; as this is what makes a link profile look unnatural. So if you think you have been hit by Penguin 2.0 you should review your link profile and dilute your keyword links by creating more using just the naked URL and brand-related words because this is how most people link to a web page when they are linking naturally.
In addition to this you should also review the content on your website. As we have already discussed, Google is now much better at deriving the subject matter of a web page from the content you put on it and consequently this has a much greater influence on how Google will rank you. By creating more in-depth, relevant information in the form of text, images, infographics and video to name just a few different types of media you can implement, you give your website a much better chance of being noticed, understood and subsequently rewarded by Google.
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