7 Reasons Why the Google Penguin Update Was F’d Up
The Google Penguin update screwed up lots of website owners’ lives (incomes), maybe yours too, but why? And how did this evil penguin work? Find out!
First off, let’s get something straight here: with every Google update there are winners and losers… and Google Penguin certainly wasn’t an exception to the rule. What amazes us here at Motriz Marketing, though, is that nobody gives a crap about the root cause of there being so many losers after each update! But we do.
We care, because if you never stop and think about why Google kicks your ass all over the search engine optimization ring? Then maybe you’ll recover from this update, but you’ll be driven back to the slaughterhouse just as fast (or faster) as you recovered. But more on that later…
Let’s first look at what the Google Penguin update is and at how this diabolical penguin melted away the rankings of tons of website owners…
Google Penguin: Pure Evil? Did Hell Just Freeze Over?
If we place ourselves in the role of victims of another update massacre for a second, then here’s what we’ve noticed about our killer:
0) Perhaps the most important point to make here: do NOT confuse one animal in the Google zoo for another. I’ve seen a lot of website owners who THINK they were hit by Google Penguin, but forgetting the fact that Google Panda (the previous evil critter) was a rolling update as in… something that keeps attacking you. And, when I check out their site, I see tons of short, low quality content that no human would want to read without projectile vomiting all over the place, tons of ads, and so on.
So, get your facts straight. Find out if you were hit by Google Panda (low quality content) or Google Penguin (manipulative link profile) or both.
From what I’ve seen it’s usually a combination of Panda plus devalued links caused by Penguin. Speaking of penguins…
1) The Penguin update is not focused on improving the quality of search results, but on punishing websites and pages that have a link profile which seems to manipulate the search results and/or which violates Google’s guidelines.
What's a manipulative link profile? Click here to learn
1. It’s NOT about linking to sites that aren’t related to your market (linking to sites or pages that are “off-topic”. That’s not what Google Penguin was about, okay? It wasn’t, so stop freaking out about what is a “natural link” and what is an “unnatural link” already!
2. It’s NOT about linking to spammy sites and getting punished for it while you had no freaking clue about whether those were spammy or not
3. It IS about completely ignoring the user for the sake of changing the search results instead of linking in a smart way that benefits the user. A manipulative link profile ignores people and favors search engines. Some examples…
- Good: getting a link from a page about cat healthcare because you’re an expert on cat healthcare. Yes, even if it’s a page on a site about business that doesn’t say shit about cat healthcare anywhere except on this particular page. In other words: you’re referenced as a good source of information about cat healthcare by a certain page and thus people will come and visit your site.
- Bad: spamming 37,894 dofollow blogs with the exact match link text “cat healthcare”
- Good: linking to an off-topic site in an article to prove a point you’re making
- Bad: placing a link on a site that is clearly selling links with it “get paid links 2 for the price of one” type ads all over the site
Last but not least: guess how manipulative link profiles are created? By taking shortcuts. By spamming blogs with worthless comments instead of building relationships with fellow bloggers and swapping guest blog posts, but more on that later…
Here’s a traffic chart from Google Webmaster Help to give you an idea of the potential impact of having a manipulative link profile on your site’s traffic:
I can almost hear you think: “But wait a minute! Doesn’t that mean that the Google Penguin update DOES try to improve the quality of search results by removing sites with bad link profiles?” Nope. You see, a page that ranks #1 could be the most informative, in-depth, and most shared (via social media) piece out there, but if the links pointing to this page look manipulative? It’s still screwed, even if the #2 is shorter, less linked to, not shared as much, etc. See how that works?
2) Google is willing to display ghetto search results (very low quality) just to show website owners that they need to follow the rules. Quite evil in my opinion, because Google doesn’t even follow it’s own rules. Want an example? Here you go: it used paid links to push its Google Chrome web browser (while paid links are forbidden for you and me). Google it if you don’t believe me.
3) Next to penalizing websites who’s link profile looks completely gamed, this Google update also focused on devaluing shitty links. So, in some cases you would see a drop in rankings of 100, 60 or 30 (a penalty) and at other times you would see a drop of 5 or 10 places.
4) Do NOT compare your site with sites in adult, gambling, Viagra, and other niches that are on the Dark Side of the internet. Especially don’t go and say that’s it better to do black hat stuff than grey hat/white hat stuff “because black hat still works if you look at the SERPs of those niches”. I’ve seen a lot of people complaining that those search results still look spammy after Google Penguin so they got away with it or whatever, but let’s not forget that:
A) those SERPs ALWAYS look spammy
B) black hat SEO guys use these niches to test link schemes and often the links pointing to pages in the SERPs of these niches are fresh (relatively new) and it’s likely Google will catch up and still penalize/devalue them.
So, stay away from black hat SEO. Say no to Darth Vader because he may look shiny on the outside but there’s only rotten garbage with an asthmatic voice on the inside.
Quick Summary of the Penguin Update
- Don’t confuse it with Google Panda, a rolling update that still harasses people
- Even if your site has quality content, you’re still f’d up if you have a low quality link profile
- Google Penguin gave penalties (huge ranking drops)
- The animal also gave slaps on the wrist (minor ranking drops because of devalued links)
- Google tried to enforce the rules with this update, while it doesn’t follow them itself
- Black hat SEO is not the answer (swapping a poor link profile for a hellish one is stupid)
The Google Penguin Update: Ice Ice Baby?
And now we got the drama and boo hoo hoo’s (crying) out of the way, it’s time for the brutal truth: this cold Google update wasn’t evil… it was more like Ice Ice Baby (du du du dudu du du).
SEO is not an abbreviation of “Shortcuts at Every Occasion”. This is the root cause of any website owner having problems after a Google update: taking shortcuts because of a “get rich quick mentality”.
I saw tons of website owners take shortcuts with their content. Take articles, spin them, put them on their site and call it rank worthy. Then Panda came in and kicked their ass…
I also saw tons of website owners taking shortcuts with linkbuilding by asking for automated directory links, giving link quotas (“I want 10 links a day”), and the whole nine yards. Then Penguin came in and opened a can of whoop ass on them.
Long story short: if you’ve been taking shortcuts with SEO, then you brought the consequences on your damn self. Google Penguin is just the latest mirror to look in and realize what the hell is going on.
When are you taking SEO shortcuts? Click to learn
You’re taking shortcuts if…
- Your definition of “unique content” is stealing uhhh I mean… using other people’s content (articles), rephrasing it, putting it on your site, claiming you made it, and thinking you’ll get BETTER results than the content’s creator. That content is older, more linked to (from quality places), shared more, and probably written by somebody who writes it for people instead of search engines like you do, meaning it’s much easier to outrank you by calling in some favors if you ever manage to outrank the creator (which is when hell freezes over)
- Your definition of good linkbuilding equals quantity instead of quality. Better yet: if your definition of good linkbuilding equals rankings instead of interested people visiting your site and buying whatever it is that you offer. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this buddy, but regardless of whether the Penguin update would exist or not, getting a billion links for your business but no additional income still equals a return on investment of jack shit. Grow up, because links AND rankings AND traffic are worthless if they don’t grow your business.
- You think you’re using social media, but you’re really using antisocial media: pushing links to articles down people’s throats. Where’s the interaction dude? Where the -beep- is the relationship building? You’re failing if you never interact, because the more interaction with people you have the easier it’ll be to get stuff shared via social media. And, again, quantity (the number of accounts) doesn’t matter. The interaction with other people and how engaged those people are do.
If you dared to keep reading this far, then welcome to the Matrix. You just took the red pill and realized there is no such thing as getting rich quick. Not with IM. Not with SEO.
Now, here’s how to do Ice Ice Baby linkbuilding so that little Antarctic critter will stay the hell away from your site:
1) When doing manual link requests, don’t settle for less:
- Only get links from websites/pages that are directly related to the topic(s) of your site/pages
- If someone gives you a link from a sidebar or footer, ask them to place it in-text
- Don’t accept links from “partner pages” (pages that are a list of links and nothing more)
- Don’t use exact match link texts for blog comment links or Tumblr links
- Get links from pages with no other external links (links to other sites) on them
- Get a link from a page with a high page Authority (use SEOMoz toolbar to see)
- Get a link from a page on a site with high Domain Authority (use SEOMoz toolbar to see)
Last but not least: if all of the above isn’t possible, then say f*ck it! One high quality link is a hundred times more valuable than a spammy one and, hey, it’ll keep those black and white (Google Penguin) mofo happy.
2) Here’s how to stay frosty some more when doing linkbuilding:
- Do you really think Google won’t notice a page which has 100 exact match link texts pointing to it from different websites? How cute. Switch up exact match link texts and broad match link texts (ratio: 1 out of 3 is broad match) if you don’t want your site to be clubbered by Mr. Freeze
- Do you really think Google won’t notice a website that has a billion dofollowed links and about 10 nofollowed links? I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but a lot of authority sites (Wikipedia and the like) link out using the nofollowed attribute. Do you really think Google doesn’t know that? Get some nofollowed links too, because in case you haven’t noticed yet: nofollowed doesn’t equal no value. Just look at the Twitter linking power of celebs (while Twitter nofollows links) and you’ll see what I mean
How to Recover from the Google Penguin Update
This is usually where a ton of sites start talking about how you should ask for links to be removed if you want to recover from the Google Penguin update. Are you fucking kidding me!?
Dude, that’s like getting shot while storming the beaches of Normandy, putting a Band-Aid on the wound, and then standing up while shouting the war is won… only seconds before you’re machine gunned to death.
In other words: temporary solutions don’t work. The root cause of the Google Penguin update problems is trying to take shortcuts while doing SEO.
It’s focusing on the short term instead of the long term. It’s get rich quick instead of get richer slowly (which is practically my motto).
And guess why people, and maybe even you yourself, are taking shortcuts with SEO? Because they don’t know how to scale their SEO efforts properly. Because, sure, writing an article is fun… but writing multiple articles a week, every week of the year, ISN’T. There is a way out though. A way to prevent your site from being hit by whatever Google update comes your way.
Are you tired of crapping your pants every time you see an article announcing another Google update on one of the big time SEO blogs? And do you want to have more control over your SEO activities AND results so Google won’t keep you up at night anymore?
Then learn how to scale your SEO efforts the right way. Contact us for more information.
And, no, the strategy is not to give you a link from Wikipedia back to your site by the way. The strategy is all about how YOU can become the Wikipedia of your market, the site with THE most authority and website traffic. Wikipedia gets 410 million unique visitors a month because they scaled their SEO activities very well. Learn how to do it yourself. Now.
Mark my words: once you’ve learned to scale properly, then no Google Penguin, Panda, mad monkey or any other animal out of their zoo of horrors can bother you anymore.
Google zoo image sources: mmo-champion.com (evil panda), comicvine.com (evil penguin cartoon)
To More Traffic, More Conversions, And More Business,
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