An SEO’s Guide to Surviving Penguin Updates


This article provides useful tips on the best ways for sites to avoid being affected by Penguin algorithm updates by Google. It’s compiled by industry experts at Smart Traffic, an award winning SEO Company that has consistently achieved high search rankings for its clients since 2006.

Google rolled out one algorithm update after another. Some people saw it as the end of an SEO-lucrative era given that some sites have been wiped out, while others have not fully recovered.

But are recent Penguin updates enough to kill SEO? The answer is NO. The right question is, “Are SEO techniques up for a continuous battle against the Penguin?”

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SEO Guide to Survive Penguin Updates

An SEO’s Guide to Surviving Penguin Updates

For a refresher, search engine optimisation has been associated with keywords and a whole a lot of ranking factors. Indeed, early SEO practices refer to creating content that is meant for skim reading. It is founded on the belief that people don’t read everything, just hopping from one word to another.

If your keywords are strategically placed (meets the eyes of the readers), it’s guaranteed that you have delivered the message to your readers. So there goes the spamming, keyword overuse, and duplicative content. These techniques came to be known as black hat SEO.

Recommended: Search Engine Optimization – 5 Bad SEO Ideas


Google realised that low-quality content websites are proliferating. So it carried out some “spring cleaning” by way of changing algorithms. It targeted sites that did not look natural and removed plenty of those from the search engine results pages (SERPs).

This process did not happen overnight. On the contrary, it involved a series of updates rolled out by Google since 2011. The result is more relevant and query-related SERPs.

Panda and Penguin

Panda and Penguin

Google’s first ever change in the SERP’s algorithm was released in February 2011 known as Google Panda. It targeted websites that contain more advertisements than content, which are often not of value. A series of tweaks focused on the ranking of an entire website or a certain portion instead of specific pages of that site, according to Wikipedia. Wikipedia further notes that Panda also deployed an over-optimisation penalty.

After its 2012 update on Panda, Google introduced another algorithm change known as Penguin. This update is bent on decreasing rankings of websites that use black hat SEO techniques, which resulted to violation of webmaster guidelines created by Google, Wikipedia relates. Penguin is also after spamdexing or Web spamming.

So if you are a practitioner of good, quality, and engaging SEO content, you need not fret. You may need to do something about your ranking though to regain your spot in SERPs or even surpass that.

Focus on Content

Focus on Content

Content is king. Go back to that premise and think of ways to spice up your content. If you are experiencing writer’s block, read and brush up your writing skills. It’s probably about time to use other media types, like pictures, infographics, and videos to freshen up your posts. Remember, you are writing to drive traffic to your blog and increase the netizens’ awareness of your existence.

Keywords still matter in the SEO world. The white hat SEO practitioners also rely on other words that are related to the main topic. Again, use them sparingly to avoid Google’s ire. You can also make your content keyword-rich for SERP purposes. The more related words, the more instances your website will appear in various queries.

Build/Rebuild Links

Build/Rebuild Links

It is a standard SEO procedure to build links. This time focus on your niche and add links that are relevant to it. You may feature links directing to high quality and authority Web sites that are still related to your site. Don’t forget to discard the unrelated ones.

Also, come up with more unique anchor texts by using universal anchors, naked URLs, and brand anchors to veer away from unnatural link activity.

Another backlinking option worth your time is guest posting on blogs that are relevant and reputable. Given you wrote a good and quality post, readers of that blog might check out your Web site as well.

Recommended: What is the Importance of Link Building for SEO?

Optimise Social Media

Optimise Social Media

Your content’s shareability depends on social media channels. So enable Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, and other plug-ins on your website. These allow your posts and content to be available on various sites. Why create content when nobody accesses it anywhere outside your website?

Maintaining a Facebook fan page or a Twitter account also makes your website accessible to readers. As millions of users visit those sites in any given time of the day, the chances of any of them stumbling upon your site is greater.

These social tools provide for real-time interaction too. You can always chat with your followers to find out how to improve your site.

Recommended: A Guide to Managing your Social Media Profiles

Obey Google

Obey Google

It’s quite pointless to fight Google. It is a widely used search engine with almost 400 million people utilising its search box on a daily basis. Indeed, websites want to be in Google’s SERPs. If your website is included in its results, it means there’s that there is a high possibility of driving traffic to your pages and that there’s a possibility you can work your way towards the top spot.

To know more about ranking with the biggest search engine, check with Google’s Webmaster Tools to keep you updated on what to do and what not to do. Forewarned is forearmed. This does not apply to Google though as it likes to surprise everyone with its updates.

Recommended: 8 Latest SEO Tips for Webmasters from Google


As of this writing, Google has rolled out another update for Panda. On 23 January 2013, some 1.2% of queries in English were affected, according to Google’s Twitter account. Some web sites’ rankings dropped and others were penalized.

This causes alarm inasmuch as caution on the part of SEO practitioners. They revisited guidelines and introduced new measures to adapt to Google’s recent algorithm changes.

As with anything in this world, everything remains relative. So instead of seeing Google as an enemy, approach it is a police officer who keeps tabs on your activities for anything “over-optimized.”

If you are able to deliver quality content, keep it up. If you don’t, it’s high time to come up with something that will help you swim through waves of changes.

Those are only a few of the tools belonging to a comprehensive SEO survival kit. For further insights, take time to check out this write-up “8 Post Penguin Recovery Tips“.

Any useful tip to share to fellow bloggers regarding SEO? Don’t hesitate to drop a line or two in the comment box.

Editor’s Note: This article is written by Jonny Lis, an SEO Specialist for Smart Traffic – an award winning SEO company with offices around the globe.
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