Google Penguin Update and Becoming Invincible To Changes

It's been exactly one week since the new Google algorithm update patch officially rolled out. It got the name "Penguin," following the tradition of "wild" update names. This algorithm update was designed to hit spam and, specifically, bad linking tactics, keyword stuffing, cloaking, misleading redirects and other things that violate Google's guidelines.

Only 3% of English queries were affected on mostly commercial sites. Now, that results after the update settled down a little, you can see these effects. Whether you were hit or benefited from this update, it is a wise idea to pause for a second and evaluate your current internet marketing strategies.

Quick View at Google Algorithm Updates

Google search has a very complex system of algorithms with many variables determining the way pages in search results rank. Ranking factors and signals are kept in secret and change consistently to fight spam. The main goal is to provide the best results to search users. Here are 3 main algorithm strategies that you hear lot about:

PageRank – complex link analysis algorithm. It's at the core of Google search.

Google Panda – algorithm update that initially hit hard in February of 2011, targeting sites with low-quality content. Google updated Panda just recently (2 weeks prior to me writing this post) and will most likely keep updating it in the future.

Google Penguin – newest algorithm update that targets webspam.

Again, the purpose of all these algorithms is to deliver the best content possible to Google search users.

Why This Is a Great News…

This post is not about complaining and finding another set of "solutions" and tricks to fix already broken system of internet marketing strategies. You can find that elsewhere. You can also find recovery tips here. But be honest with yourself – if your website was hit hard by updates, would you tell Google engineer exact methods you used for ranking and link-building? Would they approve them? Do these methods reflect how you would engage real customer face to face? Example – throwing ads and automatically generated content in their face? Doubt it.
This post is about leaving some things behind and changing your mindset to withstand any algorithm changes now and in the future.

Such updates in search are absolutely necessary to keep away spammers and unethical "marketers" who are consistently trying to create new methods to trick the system. Google has to be on top of things. That's the way they initially revolutionized the world – by keeping spam away (to learn more, read this book <<— big scary affiliate link).

Search is no longer just about finding exactly what users type. It has evolved into a system of looking deeper at user's search history, connections, social and other signals, guessing user's intentions when they type and trying to connect all that to most relevant websites and pages which reflect these same kinds of connections and variety of signals.

Where You Want To Be In This Game

You want to do the same – find points that connect you with your customers. However, the point is not just to add yet another marketing channel to your campaign. You already heard that, for example, if you don't get into social marketing and don't start using Google+, Facebook and Twitter – your business and website will fail. It's great if you're on social networks but that's not exactly the solution.

…the landscape for business isn’t changing because of social media, it’s changing because consumer expectations are evolving. ~ Brian Solis
(be sure to check out Brian's new book)

The point is not to use social networks or other channels for the sake of using them or because you think that social signals from and to your website will keep you safe from changes in algorithms. On contrary, think of new media as another great possibility to connect with your prospects and grow your business. The point is to understand these new media, learn what separates you from your customers, be relevant, and start engaging like never before.

The key is understanding.

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10 Tips To Become Invincible To Changes

  1. Don't just rely on search engines. Think what would happen with your customers and traffic if your site would disappear from search results. Is there a good, solid foundation and reliable sources of traffic for your site?
  2. Shift your mindset to always try to help your prospects and visitors. Put your customer in front of everything else you do and you'll get rewarded by both, customers and search engines.
  3. Focus on creating amazing, creative, and compelling website. Make it look good. Make it fast. Organize it well. Create mobile and iPad versions for your website. The better user experience you have on your site – the more love you'll get from visitors and search engines.
  4. Create quality unique content that people like and share. Incredible content makes people feel guilty if they don't share it with others.
  5. Your website and strategies have to reflect what customer is looking for; you need to solve a problem. Provide them with most relevant valuable tips and quickly usable information.
  6. Don't intimidate your visitors. Give them freedom to make choices. Don't force them to see and click what they don't want to see or click.
  7. Only link to sites that are worth linking to. Tell me who you're linking to and I'll tell you who you are.
  8. Don't spam your social networks. Engage your followers into conversation instead. Ask questions that start conversations. Reply to their feedback and questions. Each network is different and requires a different approach.
  9. Don't be afraid to experiment with new media and technologies. By doing so, you will stay up-to-date with your internet marketing strategies and will be among the first people to reap benefits of successful approaches.
  10. Communicate real value to the customer in the most efficient and effective way possible so they will want to take action.

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Don't let the updates scare you. It is yet another opportunity for us to look at and re-evaluate our priorities, where the main one is "giving," not "receiving." That's the core of internet marketing and building a successful business online.

Please share your thoughts on my social networks or comments below.