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Jasmine Sandler

How to Solve and Prevent Penguin-Related SEO Issues

Jasmine Sandler
How to Solve and Prevent Penguin-Related SEO Issues

A big job of an SEO consultant today is to get companies out of the weeds when their sites are penalized by Google. Google now takes over 40,000 manual actions per month in determining the trust, relevance and authority of a website. In doing so, they also assess black hat or illegal techniques related to achieving organic search rank. A major update with several iterations to the Google algorithm, which preceded the manual updates, is known as the “Penguin” update.

Over 3% of all websites on the Internet have been affected. The update began and further developed as a marked attempt by Google to shut down websites that used poor SEO techniques to drive traffic and rank. These illegal techniques included: scraping and creation of duplicate content, keyword stuffing on page, hidden links, link farm development, mirrored sites and other obvious attempts at cheating the search engine.

For sites that have been penalized, the best approach to reversing the effects is to first determine all the reasons for the Penguin penalty. Penguin can affect sites when no malicious work was done by an SEO professional. Sometimes webmasters have built content practices by aggregating site content from other sites that appears as unrelated duplicate content. Sometimes the fault is from web developers who do not understand and are not trained in proper SEO strategy and tactics. Occasionally, however, the site's SEO is the result of poor tactics. A proper analysis with related details of where the penalties have occurred is a critical first step.

Once assessed and only then, can a web team create a solid SEO strategy to reverse the Penguin effects and build onto a long-term program that will support white hat techniques. This SEO strategy, based on the site and details of the specific penalty, can mean an entire rebuild and redesign to massive disallows to manual outreach to content partners and more. The key is to have an SEO strategy that aligns with current Google algorithmic rules.

In today’s world of SEO, the practice is as much about digital strategy and real market position as it is about on-site proper technical development. To have a bullet proof strategy to drive positive online rank as well as defeat penalties caused by previous black hat techniques, SEO needs to be a real marketing function and managed well and often. SEO is a critical function of any proper marketing team today.

So that you can ensure prevention of Penguin type penalties, you need to become familiar with and start to execute upon the key components of proper SEO Strategy. High level elements include:

Keyword Strategy

As a general rule of thumb in SEO your keyword strategy needs to support your knowledge of how you know your audience searches. This is a combination of understanding the search to buying cycle, a review of your analytics and related queries and a review of the competition of your particular search marketplace. In relation to avoiding search penalties, use these keywords wisely according to white hat techniques and in support of a proper content strategy.

Content Marketing Strategy

As a marketing practice, content marketing, with a strategy based on audience needs coupled with company market position and thought-leadership, is utilized to build trust, interest and target engagement overtime. Content is not just for use in social media marketing; but also (the types, volume and frequency) for company blogs, vertical blogs, CEO blogs, on-site copy pages, landing pages, articles for distribution and more. Your content marketing program and related designed, developed or written content needs to be developed with a digital marketing strategy in place that aligns with your company and individual executive brand voice.

Content, to work well, must come from a place that is authentic to the author and supports the interests of the audience along their buying path.

Website User Experience for User Personas

A major factor affecting site indexing is a positive on-site visitor experience. This means having a low bounce rate, long times on the site, increasingly good conversion rates based on user funnel goals and site content sharing, to name a few things. When you think about supporting Google’s ranking factors, think first about your real site visitor.

Online PR

Longevity in SEO is about having a site with high Domain Authority. A critical factor attributing to this is how well your site and its content is respected online as a site of authority and trust in your industry category. A big piece of this is how your site is referred to as a resource from a news and content perspective. This can be influential bloggers citing your site content, industry reporters and journalists referencing your executive team as thought-leaders and so on.

In my next SEMrush post, I will address more preventative SEO strategies to ensure your ongoing success in online visibility. As far as staying on the positive side of updates, I would love to hear how my insight in this blog post has helped you in rank. 

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