Has your web ranking been affected by the Google Penguin update?
At the end of May Google unleashed its latest search algorithm, codenamed Penguin. Since then some people have noticed their website isn’t performing as well in the search engine. In fact, some pages that ranked on the first page for search terms have slipped to the third page or even lower. So what did the Google Penguin update change, and how can you recover your web ranking?
As ever, Google has been very coy about the changes the Penguin update made. However, Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, said: “While we can’t divulge specific signals because we don’t want to give people a way to game our search results and worsen the experience for users, our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics.”
While Google have been vague about the changes, there are some common sense things you can do to ensure you achieve the best ranking you can. For example, one of the things Google looks for is duplicated content – where two or more pages have the same, or very similar, text. This can happen where you create pages that target local areas – for example, “web design Swindon”, “web design Bristol”, “web design Reading” and so on. While you may mention different locations, the bulk of your content could be the same, and this could be penalised by Google. Our advice would be to ensure that every page on your website has unique content, even if it means rewriting those local pages. (And if you need any help, we have a professional copywriter on the HodgesNet team – just give us a call!)
But what about copy that you want to be the same? For example, a blog post you wrote that you also submitted to some article sites, or you offered to someone else’s blog, or you sent to a content syndication service? The first rule is to make sure you publish it on your own blog first – to “prove” the origin of the material. Make sure you include a backlink to the post on your website in every other copy of it. Then request that other posters of your content use the noindex tag so Google won’t index it on their sites. Most article submission sites actually do that anyway, but it might be worth asking other bloggers to do the same.
Another element that could affect your web ranking following the Google Penguin update is “placeholder” pages. When you build a website you often create pages – and even add SEO information – before you actually have any content to put on them. Not only do these look unprofessional to human visitors but the Google bots will also not be keen on them. Best to keep them unpublished or private till you have the content ready to use.
Finally, back links can be really powerful but be careful where you use them. If you have a website and separate blogs and ALL the links on those blogs point back to your website, Google will get wise to the connection and downgrade those links. Have a separate blog by all means, but don’t link exclusively to one site from it; include links to other places too.
If you think your website may have been affected by the Google Penguin update we can help recover your web ranking. Give us a call on 01793 608777 or fill in the contact form on the left for a no obligation chat.
Author: Ant Hodges (Google)