Google keeps trying to weed out the bad sites from the Internet with the Penguin and Panda updates. However, while they work on that, many websites which are not necessarily pure spam sites but which merely had owners who didn’t do such a great job of optimizing their websites correctly. These people have been penalized by Google and are finding that their website’s rankings have been tanked.
Fortunately, it is possible to fix the Penguin problem if you know what you’re doing. The key to doing this is to build new links from quality sources and to then resubmit your website so that it can be evaluated in light of the new links which you have put up. There are also a few other things you can do which I’ll go into here in a moment, but the links are really what it’s all about.
The Big Problem with Penguin
Penguin was supposed to be a way to find the websites which had been overoptimized. This means site which have the thousands of junk links, especially those which can be found for five bucks on places like Fiverr. You need better quality links which have been properly optimized and set up so that they will then avoid the problems of the Penguin.
The Big Problem with the Panda
The Panda update by comparison was meant to deal with websites which have poor quality, spammy content. Together, these two issues probably constitute the most problematic sites on the web and so it’s not surprising that Google has chosen to target these two issues. Here’s what you need to know to combat both issues:
Don’t Over-optimize Your Page
The first mistake which commonly causes people to get hit by the Panda is that they over-optimize their content. Personally, I don’t tend to worry about keyword density at all when I write something, however if you insist on focusing on this, don’t overdo it. No more than 1-2% keyword density is needed. Those who are hit with the Panda problems often think that 4-6% is just great.
The problem is that you need content which is first human readable and only after that should it be something which the computers will want to see. You can however add in keywords after the fact if you find that after you’ve finished writing what you need to write, you for whatever reason didn’t remember to hit your keywords at all or did so only minimally.
Be Sure to Include Subheadings
If you didn’t include them, your page becomes somewhat difficult to read. People on the web tend to like looking for them because it makes it easier to scan through a page of content at a glance rather than needing to read through one page after another of text. In addition to this, Google’s system looks for such material in order to decide which sites are well put together. If your site doesn’t include them, you are more likely to be hit by the Panda.
Optimize the Rest of Your Site
Another thing that you should consider doing which can help you both with your Penguin and Panda problem is to build properly set up things like image descriptions, page descriptions and SEO titles. If you use WordPress for your site, either Platinum SEO Pack or All in One SEO Pack can help you to do most of these things.
Consider Wiki Links
Wiki links are very popular these days and they have become one of those things which helps websites to get around the Penguin problem. Don’t overdo it though and for goodness sakes, make sure that the Wiki links that you create are actually relevant to the content of your website.
This means that just because you find a wiki for Star Trek doesn’t mean that your website which deals with stock tips should have a link there. Instead, look for wikia which actually do have some kind of a real connection to whatever your website happens to be about.
The links should also be diversified and they should be at the very least semi manual because you want material which looks like it was created naturally instead of automated. By the way, don’t worry about whether or not the links are do follow or not because the Penguin may well notice if all you have are do follow links.
Another great way to build up the links on your website and which will allow you to actually get past the Penguin problem pretty effectively is to look into getting press release links. These links are great because unlike most other kinds of links, they are not necessarily links that you place yourself. Thus, Google knows that such links are likely “more genuine.”
Of course, you do still have to create the press release links by basically sending out a quality press release to various media outlets, but the thing is, these places can make the choice as to whether or not to publish your press release and or to use what you send them to rewrite the article and post something completely new.
The key here is to make your press release compelling and news worthy. Too many people send out press releases for silly things which have no real value and which people couldn’t care less about. For example, the fact that your company just bought itself a brand new copy machine might be interesting to you. It’s not however newsworthy.
In addition to this, you need to ensure that your press release both follows the five Ws of journalism (who, what, where, when and why) while at the same making it something compelling which people will want to read. Remember, you’re not running Microsoft, Apple, Amazon or Google (and if you are, I’m flattered that you dropped by to see our site). So you need to give people a good reason to read what you have to say.
Remember as well that if you stuff your press release with tons of links, you are that much less likely to see your website actually get noticed by the people who decide to publish press released. Finally, make sure that you are available for the press to talk to you and arrange for a meeting so that they can find out more about the product that you have to offer.
There are two things that need to be understood regarding pictures. First and foremost, they can make or break your website in terms of whether or not your site is going to get noticed by large numbers of people actually putting up links to them. Funny images tend to get noticed more and linked to more, including links to your actual content and not just to your website.
Now the question of course is how you get those kinds of funny pictures. You cannot and should not take material from Google without looking to make sure that the photos are legal to be used by anyone for any purpose. Google does offer you the chance to actually choose to look for images which can be legally used and modified. I also like Every Stock Photo for finding images.
Now, if you don’t find quite what you want, another thing that you can do is to try things which are a bit off the wall. Images of animals for example can often be used for whatever you want to do and a simple speech bubble which can be inserted in pretty much any kind of image editor which can take a relatively boring image and make it something funny.
A good example of this is an image I created for a client of mine using a cartoon of two people talking. It was for a timeshare book. I inserted speech bubbles for the two of them with one asking the other what a timeshare is. The other one answer, “I think it’s a share in Doctor Who’s Tardis.” This took a boring image and made it something interesting.
In addition to this, you also want to make sure that you use social media to create links directly to your images. This means that you use services like Facebook and Pinterest to get people to look at the images that you have on your website.
The other thing to remember regarding images is that it is imperative that you actually put descriptions into your images so that when people do an image search, your images show up for people who are searching for your specific link. This will both ensure that your links do get indexed and that you get additional people dropping by your website.
Consider Content Curation
This is the latest thing which I see a lot of people talking about and it’s supposed to be very popular with the folks over at Google for making sites appear less spammy. The key however is to not simply use this as a modern day version of an autoblog. Instead, you need to use content curation as a way to offer readers of your website or blog something interesting to look at.
The way content curation works is in essence that you pull in snippets from material on other websites which may be of interest to your customers so that they can find something to look at. There are a number of products available these days which can do this in an automated way.
However I suggest that when this material comes into your website, you go ahead and manually edit the material. You need to include your own thoughts together with the curated content so that your customers will have a reason to read what you have to say rather than simply treating your site as a gathering place for material about your niche.
Curation should also be used sparingly. While it’s tempting to simply use it as a substitute for building up the content on your website, customers who have done this have been badly affected both by the Panda and the Penguin updates because they end up with a website which seems pretty spammy to Google and the other search engines.
Look for More Video Links
Another often overlooked method of getting more quality links to your website as opposed to the cheap, spammy links is to actually create lots of links on sites like YouTube and other video sharing websites.
What you want to do is to both create your own material (I have recently seen several programs which take your text and turn them into videos automatically) and get links on independent material which matches the kind of stuff you have on your website.
You can actually look up videos which are already starting to become popular and which do not feature a link to an existing site. You can then offer these video creators a deal where you pay them for putting a link to your website onto their videos. This will allow you to create non spammy, quality links which both get plenty of direct traffic to you and avoid many of the problems of the Penguin and the Panda.
Finally, remember that you want to make sure to look for plenty of social media links. This does not JUST mean that you spam Twitter with endless links though. You can also for example look for quality company pages on Facebook which are related to your niche and then leave quality comments on those pages which also happen to have a link back to your website.
The bottom line is that while the Penguin and Panda updates have in fact caused lots of problems for many people on the Internet. However, there is no reason that you cannot recover from these problems if you have been hit by them. It’s merely a matter of working smarter and harder and then building yourself back up. If you do this, you will find that your rankings can go even higher than they were before.