We all know that Google is the biggest and most popular search engine in the world. To stay on top of their game, Google is continually improving how they find and deliver the best search results.
Some valuable changes have been made with their recent spam-blocking update, Google Penguin 4.
When someone searches for a topic on Google, websites on the first page of results are the most likely to be seen and clicked on. In a perfect world, only the most relevant pages would make it to page one. However, some webmasters have figured out how to cheat the system and be seen first - even if their site is total spam.
Google Penguin 4’s function is to keep spam and irrelevant sites out of Google’s search results. This allows Google to keep their reputation as the world's most reliable search engine. This is good news for legitimate, quality websites that want to increase their online visibility.
Read on to learn about how Google Penguin has improved and how the update can benefit your business.
What is Google Penguin 4?
Google Penguin 4 is a search algorithm designed to weed out spam and connect Google users only with content related to their search terms. It punishes websites that use shady SEO tactics by devaluing their web pages, lowering their rankings in search.
What does Google Penguin do?
Google Penguin “crawls” websites and filters spammy ones out of users’ search results. Sites containing links to irrelevant content are flagged and then demoted in future search results.
In previous versions of Google Penguin, sites could regain visibility if they made improvements in time for Google Penguin’s next update. However, Google Penguin updates were very infrequent. This most recent update has been two years in the making.
This means that any sites blacklisted by the previous version of Google Penguin have been waiting until now to be re-crawled, re-indexed, and visible in Google searches once again.
How is Google Penguin 4 better?
Google Penguin 4 will be running constantly, allowing sites that have fixed their problems a swift return to Google’s good graces.
If you notice a sudden drop in online traffic, review your backlinks. Removal or disavowal of bad links can be done. Then you won’t be penalized the next time Google crawls your site.
Google will no longer be announcing when updates to Penguin are made, as it will continuously run from here on out.
A page-specific approach
Another benefit of Google Penguin 4 is how specific its targeting is. In previous versions, Google Penguin would penalize an entire website if it found any evidence of spam attached to it.
Google Penguin 4 takes what Google refers to as a “more granular” approach. A particular page or section of a website may be penalized. But, if the rest of the site is legitimate, the “good” parts will not suffer a penalty.
However, it is still a good idea to regularly check up on your backlinks. Keep an eye on areas such as blog comments, where spammers can easily place their links. These can make your site look more like spam to the Googlebot.
How does Google Penguin 4 view SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) will continue to be a valuable tool for webmasters. But not all SEO is created equal. SEO tactics range from genuinely helpful and legitimate to straight-up shady.
White-hat vs. black-hat SEO
Both kinds of SEO tactics are designed to make sites easily searched and indexed by web-crawling bots. White-hat SEO’s intention is to get your site in front of people searching for related topics.
Black-hat SEO has little regard for relevance. Black-hat SEO is comprised of a number of tactics used to “cheat” the search engines into highly ranking a site.
Some less-than-scrupulous SEO companies use poor-quality backlinks as a quick-and-dirty method to (supposedly) boost rankings. In theory, the more links to your site, the more valuable it appears to search engines. If you’ve hired an SEO company in the past and are now seeing a drop in traffic to your site, you may have fallen victim to this black-hat tactic.
Google Penguin 4 penalizes sites that employ black-hat SEO.
Google Penguin 4 does not penalize white-hat SEO. If you have your SEO properly done, your rankings and traffic will indeed be boosted.
Which marketing strategies does Google Penguin 4 favor?
Google Penguin 4 will generally treat content-based “inbound marketing” that is optimized for mobile consumption better than the heavy-handed “outbound marketing “ approach.
Outbound marketing: typical turn-off
How many times have you logged onto a website, been annoyed by pop-up ads and consequently left that site for another?
How often have you logged into your email account and deleted emails from companies or websites without reading them - even if they were email lists you had actually subscribed to at one point?
How many times have you found yourself turned off by the content of a website because it pressured you too hard to “buy now!”?
The above methods are examples of outbound marketing, which is fast becoming obsolete. Customers have gotten smart to these tricks and will quickly look elsewhere if your site is too “cluttered” with blatant advertising.
Inbound marketing: getting the customers to come to you
Inbound marketing has become the most efficient way to get (and keep) a customer’s attention. Inbound marketing provides customers with interesting and valuable content. Articles, videos, or blog posts geared towards your target market can fall into this category.
The key here, is the customer has essentially “given their permission” to receive your content. They’ve either sought it out or they “found” it and were intrigued enough to view it. Once they've seen it, the hope is that they will give you their business and also share your content with others.
Inbound mobile marketing: setting yourself up for success
Inbound mobile marketing specifically takes inbound marketing strategies and positions them for mobile behavior. It pulls the target audience in and at the same time takes context and intent of the user to serve the most relevant content. It focuses heavily on the buyer's journey as they switch from one device to another.
Google Penguin 4 will favor websites that are mobile optimized with quality content and relevant keywords - especially if other related sites link to it. Typically, good content will end up being shared and linked to. This is a valuable angle to consider when planning your marketing strategy.
Create a content-based marketing strategy
With quality content and the help of Google Penguin 4 to keep spam away from your customers, your company's online presence can actually grow!
Contact us today to talk more about SEO and content-creating strategies to get you more hits and more customers - while keeping you on Google Penguin’s good side.