The dreaded Google algorithm. Many a website has found themselves in hot water over these things. We have many to choose from, but one of the coldest customers is the Penguin series. It’s been over a year since we’ve had to deal with the effects of Penguin, but this is soon to be over. Eventually, supposedly next year, Penguin 4.0 will be released.
Since these new releases typically tend to cause us all a little pain and suffering, now is the time to begin preparing for it. While we won’t be absolutely certain about everything that will be included in this algorithm, there are definitely some things that we can assume will be added.
What’s it all about?
Penguin was first put in place to help cut down on the amount of spammy links on our pages. In reality, this is actually a good thing. Readers don’t want to go to spammy links, so why should we send them there? So, Google decided to cut this practice out by getting rid of sites that are mainly made up of these types of links.
Another factor that comes into play when talking about Penguin is black hat SEO. Along with links, this is another area that Google was trying to tackle when they put this algorithm into action. Before, websites were able to artificially improve the worth of their website by practicing in some questionable things. By keyword stuffing and adding lots of bad links, web managers were able to make their websites look exceptionally well, which would cause them to rank higher.
But, who really wants to read content that is stuffed full of certain keywords or that have a lot of bad links? No one! So, Google set out on a mission to eliminate all of these types of sites. Enter, stage right, Google algorithms. After they entered the scene, sites without quality content and links find themselves listed much lower in the search engines than before.
What do I need to Know?
One of the most significant changes to Penguin 4.0 is the fact that it is now believed to feature real-time updates. In the past, the Penguin algorithm worked solely based on manual updates that developers sent out at certain times. Now, updates will be sent out automatically, which will cause more of an effect on websites on a day-to-day basis.
Another factor that will cause issues for many websites is that we will no longer see certain release dates for algorithm changes. Since we have moved to a real-time setup, changes will be more ongoing than planned in advance. This will make it hard to predict when a release will be made so that alterations can be made to your website.
How Can I Beat it?
The best way to beat any Google algorithm is to make sure you are producing content that is actually valuable. While adding keywords and links to your content is still a great way to get your website listed higher in the search engines, you must be careful about how you go about it. Instead of utilizing black hat SEO or other tricks, stick with old-fashioned, quality work instead.
Take time to analyze all of the links that you are linking to and make sure that none of them could be considered spam. Just like your own content, the links on your website should be ones that link to valuable content. It should also be related to the content on your own site and not just linked to for the exposure. Google will want to understand why you used the link you did and whether it is helpful to your readers.
What type of Content is Google Looking for?
When you are developing your content, you should aim to create content that is not only helpful, but that also solves a problem that your readers may be having. Naturally, this should be a problem that is related to your specific company or industry.
Another item that Google will be looking for is content that is unique. If fifty websites have the same exact topics out there, Google isn’t going to list them all high up in the search results. For this reason, you need to keep an eye on what is already out there when it comes to content and provide something unique.
When it comes to keywords, it’s best to keep the density below 3%. Any higher and you might raise some red flags with search engines. What you really need to be focusing on is keyword placement. Keep your keywords in the first and last sentence of your article and only one or two times throughout the body.
In the end, all search engines are looking for one thing; a website that offers valuable information and that can be trusted. No one wants to get bad information from the internet. Unfortunately, this happens on a daily basis. But, this is something that Google, and search engines like them, are looking to change with these algorithms.
As much trouble as they cause for us web designers, algorithms are actually pretty good in the end. Now, we no longer need to compete with websites that operate a little sneakier than the rest of us and focus on our readers needs instead. So, while you may be fearing the release of this newest Google algorithm, you really should be looking forward to it instead. Just make sure your website is ready for the changes.