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Life in the backlink zoo after google releases penguin 2.0

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013 by James Lee

Google PenguinYou are in a Zoo. Over the tannoy you hear, “For you own safety we must inform you a penguin has accidently been released from its enclosure.” If it were a lion, tiger or even a giraffe you would start heading for the exit immediately. But a penguin?  A brief laugh would suffice. Yet Google’s release of Penguin 2.0 has sent many website owners into panic.

Google’s Penguin 2.0 only impacts around two per cent of website rankings. So why the panic and, more importantly, what should we do about it?

You do not need to lose your mind, just your bad backlinks

In emergency situations you are always told to leave everything behind and exit the building. With Google’s ever-developing algorithms we must be agile, hardworking and know where we are going but not leave the building.

When the Google Zoo started the web was full of doggy deals dedicated to deceiving search engines. Websites would jump from five backlinks to five thousand in weeks. To stop these ‘black hat’ techniques, Google released the penguin. Now, most people recognise penguins as loveable creatures, often pictured sliding around like an awkward first date at the ice rink. Not Google’s version of the aquatic creature, though. More polar bear-like, it tore into black hatters. There was no hiding behind website cloaking, keyword stuffing or backlink schemes. This is the Pingu episode deemed too frightening for CBeebies.

So as you look to stay well clear of Penguin 2.0, let’s look at three steps you can take to protect your site from this tricky obstacle.

It matters where you come from

‘It doesn’t matter where you come from, it matters where you going’ is the plotline for many situational romantic films. This is far from the truth in the world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), as the roll out of Penguin 2.0 means it matters even more where your links come from. Gone are the days of sixteen thousand backlinks from those Bulgarian link directories. Today it’s all about links from high quality, reputable and relevant sites. Link building used to be about quantity, now it’s most certainly about quality.

Your backlink building strategy should focus on connecting with quality websites working in a sector relevant to your own. It is better to build two high quality links a month than one hundred low quality links in a week.

It matters how you arrive

Recently I have been considering cycling to work. What stops me is the fear of arriving in a sweaty, crazed state where I stink away colleagues. In a similar way, backlinkers had got a little too focused on how the link arrived to your site. Each link was carefully crafted so the anchor text just happened to be the site’s trophy keyword.

Backlink audits would find sites with fifty percent plus of their anchor text conviently being keywords. However hard you are trying to rank for ‘Brazilian fish mongers specializing in airsack catfish’, do not make all your anchor text that phrase. It looks odd in Google’s eyes and its penguin does not like it.

It is all about relationships

If you are ever caught in zoo when a penguin is released, work with those around you to escape the predicament. Penguins are not dangerous and Penguin 2.0 is not out to harm you. Google’s wants to give searchers great content in response to their search queries. Penguin 2.0 is not feathers the evil penguin from Wallace and Gromit in ‘The Wrong Trousers’. It is ingeniously designed to stop spammy, low-value backlinks and promote relevant, quality and useful relationships.

Surviving the SEO zoo

You are in a zoo. Over the tannoy you hear, “For you own safety we must inform you a penguin has accidently been released from its enclosure.” Your ten thousand spammy relationships with low quality sites will not help you. Instead, purposeful relationships with a select few will keep you out of harm’s way.

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About the author

James Lee

James Lee

James is a SEO Campaign Delivery Manager. He works to maximise a websites visibility in search and loves working with customers to achieve their goals. Get James talking about how to optimise a website's page titles and you will be there for hours. He doesn't always talk about himself in third person.