Google Penguin Update: What You Need To Know

As you may have heard, Google has come out with their latest update, the ominous penguin.


One negative impact I have seen with the recent Google penguin update is that they are favoring authority very highly, and in some cases authority is favored over relevancy.  Google obviously has a ways more to go in working out their algorithm, and we will be seeing more changes in the future as they work out the kinks.

The Google penguin update was said to have targeted over optimization.  This is referring to websites that have their main keyword over used through out the pages, as well as link anchor texts.  Most of the sites that were hit seemed to have had over 50% of their links dedicated to one main keyword.

The other main impact I have found is that sites which had little relevant backlinks were highly affected.  This means that the sites affected were primarily linked to from domains that did not have content or a domain similar to that of the websites that were hit.


One great part about the Google penguin update we have seen is the increase in site links!  If you are not aware, site-links are links to pages within a certain website that show up in Google.  It looks like this:

Sitelinks tend to show up on websites that have good site structure and pagerank.

By site structure, I am referring to having a url structure within your website that is tiered.  This is also a great way to get pages on your website to rank higher because it tells Google that pages closer to the root domain that also have subpages are more authoritative.


1. Don’t Over Optimize

The main takeaway that Google seems to be pushing is over optimization.  While this is part of the effect of the penguin update, this is not the only factor that you should focus on.  Make sure that your keyword density is not too high, and vary your anchor texts.  As always, you should be backlinking inner pages as well as your homepage, but it would be smart to mix in anchors such as “click here”, photos, and your company name as well.

2. Focus On Relevant Backlinks

Relevant backlinks/domains seem to have become more important with the latest update.  While I wouldn’t worry about this too much, (Don’t start trying to take links down that are not from your niche) you should try to have niche specific links.  Google is trying to combat automated linking which is generally not niche specific, but like usual, Google is exaggerating a bit.  You should make sure to have diverse backlinks, because anytime you have backlinks of one source/type, you set off red flags.

One great way to get relevant backlinks is to build your own network of microsites.  Google targeted a few major link networks recently, but if done correctly, niche sites can be very effective in getting rankings for your specific niche.

High quality blog networks are also effective, but you do not want to use major blog networks.  Smaller networks that are less well known, are controlled well, and have no footprints will be most effective.

3. Focus More On Social Backlinks

Google seems to be taking into consideration social signals even more so with the penguin update.  This means that you should be actively engaging on sites like facebook, twitter, and Google plus, and link back to your website, or posts on your website often.  There are simple ways of automating the process so that when you post on your blog, it updates your social networking sites at once.

This is also a great way to emplement link baiting.  By creating interesting content or posts on your website and sharing them through social media, they have the chance to go viral and instantly get your website a huge increase in backlinks and traffic.

4. Structure Your Website

This has always been important for rankings, but it seems that with the Google penguin update, they are rewarding it even more now.  By adding more sub pages that expand on ideas on a main page, you are giving more authority to your main page.  Doing this more will give your website more content, more organization, make it more user friendly, and help rankings, as well as increase the chance of getting sitelinks.

Until next time,

James Pate