google-penguin-5

Oh Man! Google Hit Me Again: The New Google Penguin 5 & The Spam-Filtering Algorithm

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Forget the furry animals. Forget all that has to do with the word “fuzzy,” “animal,” or “cute” —all adjectives to describe the Google Panda and Penguin, names Google has given their recent & biggest algorithm updates. The latest one, Google Penguin 5, has nothing to do with cute.

The newest and latest algorithm update is a vicious version of the old Penguin, cutting down on spam and causing a lot of grief to website owners who are now experiencing a heavy loss in traffic from Google Penguin 5 as a result of the algorithm updates taking place. If that includes you, there’s one comfort: you’re not alone.

Even the best of the best, including copywriting websites, were affected by the change and lost rankings inside the space of one night. Google’s baby, original content, wasn’t overlooked in the battle—it was affected too.

How bad were the effects?

A simple hyperlink that Google didn’t approve of could mean entire de-ranking for a quality content article, which could consequently mean an entire keyword ranking loss.

Matt Cutts Confirms

Matt Cutts officially confirmed the latest Penguin update on October 4 with a simple tweet: Penguin 2.1 launching today. Affects ~1% of searches to a noticeable degree.

While he says it will affect 1% of searches, search engine gurus are saying it has affected more than 3% of all websites. That’s a LOT of websites when it comes down to the count. Literally thousands of websites with some investment in SEO tactics will feel the change, with an expected fluctuation in their rankings—with more people experiencing loss of rankings than an increase.

Why is it Penguin 5, Not Penguin 2.1?

Cutts calls it Penguin 2.1, but SEO blogs, forums and hubs around the Internet are putting it better by titling it Penguin 5. There have been so many numerous “mini”, “large” and “add-on” updates to Penguin. But if the researcher pays attention, this is the fifth most impactful one and so it just makes sense to call it that. (Sorry, Cutts.)

What’s Happening to Others?

Many concerned conversations between website owners occurred all over the web, after Google Penguin 5 hit. The updated Penguin de-rankings cost a living for many. National website owners lost 70% of their traffic, commenting on the Webmaster World thread concerning their misfortunes. Many felt they had no reason to experience the drop in rankings—they just suddenly lost all their traffic and rankings, even after practicing methods (like disavowing bad links) that Google seemed to favor and restore rankings because of, prior.

So What Really Is Google Penguin 5 Targeting?

OK, so what really happened that night where 3% of website owners felt their rankings affected? Here’s a lowdown from some experts.

  • Biggest tweak ever made to Penguin. Chris Crum of WebProNews is saying that Penguin 2.0/5 is the biggest tweak ever made to the entire Penguin algorithm since it launched, and the word is a lot of webmasters were affected.
  • The entire algorithm is a penalty. Bruce Clay, of Bruce Clay, INC, is calling it Google’s Angry Bird. (We love it, Bruce!) He says a dip in traffic could indicate you were hit by the new Penguin, even if no keyword rankings could appear to be lost. He also clarifies that the new algorithm is a penalty. (Really, Google? Your entire latest update is a penalty?) It’s an attempt to devalue all “manipulative links” in Google’s search engine ranking algorithm.
  • The purpose of Penguin 5 is to eliminate spam. Sage Lewis of Clickz recounts some sad stories of entire livings lost because of the update, and confirms that the purpose of the mean new bird was to eliminate as much “spam” as possible.
  • Paid links are the target of the heaviest penalizations. Danny Sullivan of SearchEngineLand says that the new Google update particularly goes after websites that bought “paid links” to gain their rankings. This is what Google defines as spam-filtering, in this particular algorithm change.
  • All the link types that can be de-ranked by Google: Links achieved quickly on a short time period, imbalanced anchor text, a paid link with exact match anchor text, spammy blog comments, questionable guest blogs, and article marketing links are now all disqualified. Danny Goodwin of SearchEngineWatch delved even deeper on the link issues that Google’s algorithm affected to describe this.

What Can I Do Right Now (and Later)?

Now that you know the entire Penguin 5 is a “penalty” targeting any kind of links that Google thinks are spammy, here are some good practices you can start implementing yesterday to get better rankings and satisfy the angry monster savvy Google Penguin 5.

Step 1. Understand you cannot trick the algorithm any more with paid cultivation of backlinks.

This is a knowledge thing, and can take 5 minutes to 5 weeks to get over, depending on how close to your emotions this principle lies. Simply understand that you cannot—cannot use paid cultivation of links to rank anymore. You cannot game Google and pay an Indian SEO company pennies for thousands of links. Google will know…and catch you in your sleep. (Not really, but it will hurt you, bad.)

Step 2. Fix Your Links.

Now that you’re smart and have taken away all psychological barriers and last pretenses that paid links have any value, it’s time to fix the links that are potentially killing your rankings.

How do you do this? The Google Disavow tool can be a lifesaver. It is a way to tell Google Penguin 5 to stop counting bad links pointing to your site. If you want to get really nitty-gritty, the SearchEngineJournal resource article on how to know which links to disavow is a huge help. Remember, once you’ve disavowed, you’ll need to wait till Google updates again for the links to be disqualified.

Step 3. Practice Good SEO Methods.

  • Diversify. If all you did was organic SEO tactics, invest in Adwords. Look into Facebook ads. Consider email marketing and more regular/scheduled/routine content marketing with a social plan as backup. Investments will bring you more back.
  • Fresh is better. Whenever you need something, from a stock image to a new blog or a link—remember the more original and fresh it is, the better off you’ll be. Don’t recycle old stock images. Don’t try to pay someone to use their recycled link network. Don’t let your website content stagnant. Idea: Getting your entire site rewritten is a great step towards a better SEO ranking experience this autumn.
  • Get social. We don’t mean parties and drinks; we mean investing in a social media management person or team for savvy hash-tagging on your Twitter page and encouragement of your fan engagement. All this social platform engagement good stuff is 100% natural and one of the hottest practices to gain Google’s favor today.
  • Reach out to others in your industry. Whether on Twitter, or on their blog, try to reach out, after you’ve established they will be a quality connection. Connect and socialize and make organic efforts to get to know and follow them. Google will count the connection for SEO value when you link on their relevant site or engage on a social media platform.

Step 4. Invest in what works: written content in the form of blogs and website content.

But this simple sentence isn’t enough. There are some major changes you may need to make to your content strategy, based on what you are doing/not doing that is currently Google-friendly. Good content practices are outlined below.

  • For now, avoid ALL article marketing. We recommend even avoiding Ezinearticles.com for the present. Google is so anti-article marketing, anti-anything-not-natural in the way of links and content, it’s important to only practice what is safe in order to secure rankings (or regain them).
  • Quantity, quality, and relevance of links inside your content. Do not (ever) randomnly link. You must spend time (or have your writer spend time) to find links with good value, and only include those links as hyperlinks in your written blog and website content. Here’s a simple way to do it. Since PageRank is going out the window, that’s not a reliable factor anymore. Moz has put out their own MozBar, a toolbar that tells you the quality factors of any website on the web. The Root Domain is what you want to look at. If the Root Domain (DA) is over 30, the link is decent enough to be favored by Google. Get the MozBar.
  • Guest blogging is still beneficial when the website you’re blogging on has a solid social presence, followers, and hefty amount of quality going on. Like TechCrunch, Mashable, or any other big name in guest blogging. Don’t go for the easy ones. It will pay off to try to get on Forbes.com as a guest blogger. Have your copywriter come up with great blog ideas that relate to your industry for pitches.
  • Watch your tags and categories for duplication. Even synonyms of the same word can be too much. More is less when it comes to categories, and tags should be no more than half a dozen. This is easy to forget when you’re plugging away at WordPress posts.

 
Have you been affected by Google Penguin 5 and need quality content? Express Writers specializes in organic, 100% original content written by expert writers at affordable cost. Get your content on the right track today with our help.
 

Julia McCoy is a self-taught, driven entrepreneur. She left medical school to follow her passion, copywriting and SEO, at 19 years old. One year later, she founded her online copywriting agency and today her writing team includes more than 60 talented copywriters, editors, strategists and staff, with an international client base.
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