Anyone who makes their living on the Internet is intimately familiar with the Google’s constants update and their impact on business. But outside of our narrow sphere of commerce, the battle for page rank supremacy has gone, pretty much, unnoticed.

But an article in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal (WSJ) titled, As Google Tweaks Searches, Some Get Lost in the Web has brought Penguin and Panda into the mainstream. And little in the article will be news to the CAP community, the article provides some great lessons in the benefits of white hat SEO (or doing things the way Google wants you to do them).

Links Matter

Inbound links and paid link networks have a huge impact on over page rankings and the WSJ article makes that fact crystal clear. Their best example is a company called Oh My Dog Pet Supplies that experienced a 96% drop in site traffic after the Penguin refresh.

Company owner Andrew Strauss relied heavily on paid links and article directories liked Squidoo and EzineArticles.com to generate traffic. But these methods are exactly the type of low quality content/inorganic link networks Penguin was designed to squash.

Strauss says, “It’s just regular marketing activity,” but Google and other SEO experts would disagree. In an SEOmoz posting titled, 9 Lessons I learned from 1,000 SEO Questions SEO guru Dr. Pete points out that, “All links are not created equally.” Paid links from questionable have never provided value to site visitors and now they’re a drag on page rankings, too.

Get your links back in order: Check out Link Building Post Penguin in 10 Easy Steps.

White Hat Works

The forgotten upside of Penguin is that it provided vindication to a number of sites that had been playing by the rules for a long time without seeing the results they deserved. One company, SpareFoot Inc, an Austin storage space affiliate, claims that their post-Penguin traffic has doubled.

SpareFoot’s SEO director says that he’d been frustrated at getting beat by black hat SEO practitioners. “It’s been frustrating. We’d been doing the right thing for so long,” he said

Finally

Even if you’re an SEO veteran the WSJ article, and the Dr. Pete’s posting, are worth taking a look at. This article succinctly points out what SEO experts have been saying for a long time, quality counts. Relying on shortcuts, even if they’re not explicitly forbidden is not substitute for putting in SEO work.

How are you bouncing back from Penguin? Let us know on our SEO Forum.


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