A few days in the constant talk of Penguin hasn’t died down and as Ellie mentioned earlier today, there are even emails going around trying to panic people into spending money by changing SEO company.
Running around panicking won’t mean you will see improvements! Also reacting in a knee jerk way could make a non problem into a problem.
So,what do you really need to do in the light of these changes?
Identify a Problem
Have you actually been hit by Penguin?
- Check your rankings and traffic. If you have a penalty then around the 24th April you should have seen a drop in your visitors and your rankings will have fallen in the SERPs.
- Check your site in Google Webmaster Tools too to make sure there’s no messages in there about penalties
If these things have happened then it is possible that you have been hit by Penguin. So how to recover those lost rankings and traffic?
- Read through your web content. If it sounds as if too much focus is on the keywords and not enough into talking to your customers then you’re probably using a technique called “Keyword Stuffing”.
- Chris wrote a blog which explains this well with an analogy about shouting “BREAD” at the search engines.
ACTION: Rewrite content if you are over using your keywords so it’s more natural
- Using your keywords to link through to your core pages can also be an issue. Links within your content are great but only if they offer value to the customer. For example a link to another blog related to the content in the blog you are writing. A good example of this can be seen at the top of this page where I’ve referenced and linked to Ellie’s blog about Penguin, so that people could read it if they’d missed it. It’s unlikely your visitors would click a keyword link in some content unless it was clear it was something which would offer them value, like my link above.
ACTION: Remove these “forced” links and to link more naturally.
- Do you have a MASSIVE footer with your entire sitemap on it? Having a list of keywords in your footer, or a full sitemap list is not great for SEO now Penguin is live and chances are your customers won’t use these links anyway.
- Better to make your menu structure easy to use. This is also true even if your list of keywords in your footer is only 5 or 6 links. Keep it simple.
- Review your inbound link strategy too. Paying for a service which gets you into a link scheme or buys you links could mean that you get hit by Penguin.
- Another thing to watch out for is having a really unnatural looking link profile. This includes having all of the links pointing to your website coming through to just one keyword or loads of site wide links from the same site or IP address.
- When people naturally link to a website they tend to use a range of terms including your brand name and URL or even “click here”.
ACTION: Make sure when you are link building that you don’t participate in these schemes and that your back link profile contains a mix of natural looking anchor texts and not just your core keyword.
- Social Signals are now important to Google and we’ve spoke a lot recently about how social media and author tags are the new “big thing” in the SERPS. So, now is the time to make sure that you have a good social media strategy in place and that you are promoting your content to your customers on these networks.
ACTION: Become active on social media outlets.
Non of this is revolutionary. But it will all help. And, just to reinforce this, Don’t Panic!