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5 Things You Need to Know About Google’s Penguin Update

Last Updated on Jun 11, 2012 by Jenna Scaglione

Aside from Google’s interest in naming its updates after zoo animals, many webmasters and store owners are still confused about how this change affects their websites.

Are you wondering…

Will I be downgraded in the future?
My rankings suffered…how do I fix it?
How can I prevent being de-indexed?

Since Penguin’s release, the internet has been ablaze with discussion about what is going on. Following the update, we also saw Google take down blog networks and companies accused of buying links. It’s been an all out Google raid and webmasters are left scratching their heads.

While we will never have all the answers unless we become a fly on Google’s wall, we can take a look at some information to help us navigate through these unsettling times.

1. What is Penguin?

Google created Penguin to flag webspam so searchers could experience a higher quality of search results for their keywords. Though its purpose was to improve search results, many webmasters experienced downgrades and even de-indexing.

Are you a victim? If you don’t know, check your analytics for any strange changes that occurred towards the end of April.

2. Webmaster Tools

Google is letting people know about suspicious links by contacting them via their webmaster tools account. If your site was affected, you may want to check your account. If you see a message from Google, make an effort to contact the webmasters at the other end of the suspicious links to get them removed. According to Google, if you tried to remove the links but you cannot, document your actions and submit it along with a reconsideration request.

Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, announced recently that Google was discussing a disavow-this-link tool so webmasters can tell the search engine exactly which links they did not have any part in acquiring.

3. Know Your SEO!

If you work with SEO professionals, it may be time to find out exactly how they are acquiring links. Make sure they are not duplicating content, purchasing links, using blog networks or gaining links from suspicious sites that appear to be spammy or that have no relation to the subject matter of your site. Also, verify that your anchor text is varied and not heavy on one keyword. Over optimization will get you penalized.

If you do not have someone doing your SEO and you want a reputable service, Numinix just launched an affordable monthly SEO package for Zen Cart owners.

4. Quality Content

Google is focused on supplying the user with sites that contain the highest quality content. It’s important to fashion your site towards what your customers would want first, rather than focusing all of your efforts on Google. While there still are solid SEO strategies of which you should take advantage to tip the scales in your favor, by offering quality, unique content you will inadvertently help your site because you are giving Google what it wants.

5. It’s Not The End of the Road

As stated before, Google is giving webmasters the chance to reclaim their rankings or at least plead their case. If you were involved in linking activities Google now penalizes, by removing the links and ceasing any “spammy” techniques, you have a chance to recover your rankings once your site is re-crawled. Try to remove the suspicious links as soon as possible.

All is not lost. If you were affected by Penguin, don’t fret. You can regain your business. If you were not affected, consider these updates a warning that Google isn’t playing anymore. It is serious about its Webmaster Guidelines, and going forward, we will see an increase in enforcement.


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