After Google Penguin was rolled out in April, many website owners, SEOs and bloggers were struggling to understand what to do in order to avoid being penalized and/or to recover from a possible penalty.

As I said in the previous post, it’s not immediate and straightforward to understand from which Google algorithm update you may have been caught (Panda or Penguin) and you should look very carefully at your web analytics to understand when you were hit. (Check out the comments in the post I mentioned before to find out how)

How to Beat Google Penguin

how to beat google penguinThis sounds like a karate or kung-fu intro and it might seem a difficult task for many, but I guarantee that it’s much easier to get out of a Google Penguin penalty rather than a Panda update as you can read from the SEOmoz Blog post of “How WPMU.org recovered from the Penguin Update“.

So here is a list of 4 ways to beat Google Penguin:

1) Create High Quality Content

You should always create great, unique content that you’re proud of and that can really make a difference between you and your competitors. Something that takes you to a higher spot and that will with no chance be considered the most authoritative resource on that topic.

It doesn’t have to be professionally written by a PhD or by Dante Alighieri, but it must be cool, shiny and awesome.
Your readers must stop and say “Wow! I wanna share that! How could I miss following him/her!?!”

How? Well, there are plenty of ways to stand-out and here are some of my favorite:

  • using amazing pictures (check this enlightening post on how to optimize pictures for SEO by Neil Patel on Quicksprout)
  • recording exciting and inspirational videos (I’ve seen this awesome video on Pat Flynn’s SPI blog)
  • giving advices, helping others and creating useful how-to lists

2) Natural Link Building

This is a more technical aspect and, since Google, is looking forward to help “normal users” and not SEO experts stand out, it is a high priority task to stop focusing on creating artificial links.

If you write something truly amazing, it will get attention, it will receive links, it will get noticed without having to grab thousands of nonsense links from low quality sources. Even just a few links, naturally inserted can have a great impact on your rankings. So stop loosing your time in poor link building techniques which can get you seriously hurt with the new Google Penguin update.

Also in this case I suggest you to take a look on how WPMU.org recovered from the penalty by removing thousands of low quality links placed in the footer of WordPress Themes.

3) Engage in Social Media

This should be obvious, with Social Media rising day by day, you must truly use this channel. From Facebook to Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and going to the latest Pinterest, social media has an amazing engagement rate among users, it helps building trust and brand awareness.

Right now, Blog World Expo 2012 is live in NYC and here are some stats that have been highlighted during the first day by Tom Webster - brandsavant.com:

  • 41% of Twitter users use it nearly every day
  • 10% of Americans use Twitter
  • Approx. 58 millions of Americans are checking Social Media profiles multiple times per day
  • On average Americans check Facebook 4 times a day and 8% check it more than 11 times a day
  • 76% of Twitter users are actively engaged/posting

4) Avoid cloaking and sneaky tactics

As this neat article from SEJ states pretty clear, the time’s over for all the sneaky tricks, the cloaking of text/links and the excessive exact match anchor text usage. If you don’t want to be the target for the next Penguin 1.2, 1.3, etc updates you should avoid these at all costs. Better to miss some spots in the top rankings rather than disappearing from the index! ;)

I see this Google Penguin update not so bad as a lot of people have described it, it’s a step forward in the right direction where spammers and heavy link building get penalized in a way that we’ve never seen before and that helps good content and good writers stand out and reach the light that they deserve.

Mauro Mazzocchini

Mauro Mazzocchini is the founder of TwizzyWeb an Internet marketing company which is specialized in SEO, PPC, CRO and online reputation management. Mauro works daily on the web operating in various fields and he has a strong passion for search engines. You can reach him on Google+, you can tweet with him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

10 Responses to “4 Quick Steps to Beat Google Penguin”

  1. Joe June 10, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    Hi Mauro,
    What you are writing about is the kool aid.
    All my sites that lost ranks had top quality content, all hand written, and didn’t engage in link buying or sneaky tactics and I had hundreds of facebook likes which were by real people.

    Now, my site is no where to be seen, the main page has been replaced by sites who buy links, sites who don’t have unique content – it’s all duplicate content and sites that have tons of advertising above the fold and below.

    What these sites have in common is 1 thing, they update their sites 6-10 times per day with crap content.

    So to me, the only thing google looks for is tons of updates, all the other thing you wrote about doesn’t matter.

  2. Mauro Mazzocchini June 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    Hi Joe,
    thanks for your comment.

    I totally understand what you’re talking about, as a matter of fact since the release of Panda in 2011 Google has had lots of problems with false positives during each algorithm update.

    As you said there are also many low quality, thin content and full of ads websites that are on the first page.

    What should push you in continuing with your efforts is the fact that Google is continuously fine-tuning and re-rolling out it’s algorithms which means that low quality web sites are going to be penalized/devalued sooner or later, while the ones with good quality content are going to stand-out.

    Of course in the meantime it’s very frustrating seeing how many of these low quality websites are reaching the first page…

    By the way, if you want to tell me your website address (also privately) I can give you my opinion about the penalty/ranking drop so in case that I find anything I can tell you.

    Best,
    Mauro

  3. SN June 20, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    Very useful piece of writing with good references,Thanks for that.

    As we already know Penguin update mainly deals with poor quality backlinks and there is no roll back process in SEO. In many cases you’ll find if a website home page has hit by the update, Google ranks the next relevant page from that website on the Result page.

    So in that case if I create a new home page, e.g if the penalized page is http://www.domain.com and I create a new home page like http://www.domain.com/Home and 301 redirect the old one to the new URL and promote the new URL only, In this way I would be able to present Google a fresh URL for my site to consider. So do you think this might be a factor to consider inorder to get out from the penguin radar?

    Thanks
    SN

  4. Mauro Mazzocchini June 21, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    Hi SN,
    well, doing a 301 redirect is like telling Google that the old page is now permanently located at this new URL.
    This also means that your link profile (and link juice) will be totally transferred to this new page.

    We can deduce that a bad link profile, which has been penalized by Google Penguin, will then stick to the page and be transferred to the new URL too.

    Of course this is just an assumption since Penguin has been released recently and at the moment there have been only a few recoveries.

    What looks as the most important thing after all is to try to clean up your back-link profile (spammy links, fake edu/gov links, exact match ratio, etc).
    I can suggest you to check out http://www.removeem.com/ which can help you by automating and outsourcing some of this work.

    Cheers,
    Mauro

  5. Archana September 2, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    Hi Mauro,

    Thanks for the important info.

    I need your advise related to web marketing.

    If I post a copied content in my website blog with source includes then also Google Penguin will effect the visits on my website.

    Waiting for your reply.

    Best,
    Archana

  6. Mauro Mazzocchini September 2, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    Hi Archana,

    regarding your question, I’d be very careful implementing such actions from an SEO perspective.

    The main reason is because you should be able to provide unique, compelling content to your users (and to Google too). Of course, it can be very useful providing citations by indicating the source of your information – but after you should work on this material in order to enrich it and add a unique value that makes your webpages different from any other content that you can find online.

    While Google Penguin wouldn’t affect your website, since it’s more related to link building and over-optimization – you should definitely be aware that Google Panda hunts down for low quality websites, content scrapers, excessive ad rich websites (especially above the fold) and so on.

    So, as I mentioned above, instead of just copying the content on your website I suggest you elaborate it by adding something that I’d call your “Unique Content Proposition”. ;)

    Cheers,
    Mauro

  7. Arlene Aranzamendez November 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    A very Nice tips Mauro! It is really frustrating for me seeing websites that are actually over optimizing their website but still rank on top of Google or still on the first page of Google. Actually, I have a new client and really needs help because his website have been penalized by Google last May after Google Penguin have been released. I found out that his website content stuffed with targeted keywords with a link and with lots of unnatural backlinks. I have started to change the content and removed the targeted keyword links with only a keyword density of 2%.. There’s actually an improvement with its ranking for the keyword of “wholesale clothing from 103 position to 75 and wholesale apparel from 100 to 59. But, he’s competitors are still dominating even if they have the same techniques before the Penguin update and that pisses me off..

  8. james uk February 7, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

    thanks for the interesting post on Penguin, I can understand why Google is doing this but I like the idea of linking to content whilst using keywords. If for example you are reading an article with a large section of content I don’t see a problem with linking from within the content with keywords. That way the link can be part of the flow of the document.

  9. Timothy R. Srobenhorst June 26, 2013 at 4:55 am #

    There is going to be an argument about how every update is unfair. Here is the bold truth. Ready for it? Google controls the internet. If you stop complaining and actually put that effort into your website you will see your results. There is no magic spell and sometimes yes there will be people that slip through the cracks, but guess what? There is nothing you can do but focus on yourself. That is when the magic happens….

    Food for thought.

  10. Kamlesh June 27, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    Hi Mauro,

    What about the previous submitted links which are low authority ?

    If our sites fall down after Google penguin update and now we create quality backlinks than Google will consider ranking back ?

    Thanks

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