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The Real Guide to Google Penguin

Google’s constant algorithm changes are leaving behind them a trail of broken websites and tear-stained cheeks. Here’s the no-nonsense guide to making sure your website excels with the new changes.

1. Become a hub of information that is relevant and highly viral.

On the Internet, there are “centers of gravity” in every industry that other websites look to for information and news. In many cases, other websites simply rewrite the articles that appear on these centers of gravity. They are usually the content providers that are linked to by many diverse sources, they have a strong social media presence, and, because of this, their brand is extremely strong. If you become a center of gravity by publishing relevant, highly viral information, you’ll become the top result in most Google search queries.

Some examples of “centers of gravity” include: Wikipedia, Gawker (including their other properties like Lifehacker and Deadspin), and SEOMoz. Emulate these guys for success.

2. Publish evergreen, original content.

Google highly favors original content in search engines. Topics that have never before been covered benefit from both the viral nature of the Web (people are more likely to retweet and republish things they’ve never seen before) as well as from being respected as Google’s authoritative and canonical resource on the topic. Evergreen content, or content that maintains its relevancy for a long time, has additional advantages in terms of search engine rankings, as PageRank is built over long periods of time.

3. Worry less about link building.

With Penguin, you could easily spend all day with link building and blogger outreach and have very little to show for it. Instead of actively building links, work on building them organically by publishing linkable content.

4. Stop gaming the results.

Research suggests that over 50% of queries typed into search engines are long-tail queries, and about 16% of all searches are completely original, never seen before, combinations of terms. What this means for you is that the days of strategies like keyword stuffing, cloaking, or trying to force-fit your keywords into anchor tags are numbered. There is plenty of search traffic to go around on strange combinations of words that will start driving traffic to even obscure content on your site without trying to play in the realm of highly-competitive keywords.