Monday, 14 May 2012

How to survive in a post-Penguin world

Penguin = cute aquatic bird ideally suited to cold temperatures; chocolate biscuit and staple of the 1980's kids lunchbox; Google algorithm update which is not at all cute or chocolatey.

Unless you have been living underneath a rock for the past few weeks you will have heard about, come across or quite literally been wiped out by the latest in Google's algorithm updates.  Panda 3.5 was rolled out a few weeks ago, followed hotly by another black and white creature the Penguin.  Between the two of them they have changed what you may now be seeing when you search online for anything from window blinds to festival tickets, so just how do you and your website survive and move forward with SEO in a post Penguin world?

Well to begin with let's just clear up the fact that we are not talking about one huge Penguin alone - rather this should be seen as the Emperor penguin having his say followed closely by a series of other smaller adult and young penguins all hell bent on having their little impact on SERPs.  And when these fluffy creatures have finished shaking up search you can bet that there will be more fiendish furries to cause further chaos.

SEO needs to evolve to meet the needs of the customer but more importantly to meet the demands of the Search Engines at the same time and in doing so I guess the end result ought to be better results for the online consumer?

There are certain things which have always been bad in terms of SEO (think keyword stuffing, spammy links and cloaking) and there are others which used to be good and are now sinful such as having a lot of backlinks or optimising static keywords to static pages.  In this post-penguin world we need to be a lot smarter if we are to survive.

Gone are the blog networks of yesteryear and moving back to the forefront is on page SEO.  I'm not just talking about meta data, though it is a good idea to keep this fresh, relevant and unique to each page, but also the onsite content.  Great wording, useful information, unique content - these are all things that could set your site apart today, plus not only are you playing into Google's lap but you are also giving your website visitors a better customer experience and that can only lead to improved sales in the long term.

One final point - penguins are the most social of all birds - perhaps this is a clue in itself to what Google is looking for in its latest algorithm shift.  Social media integration is not important now it is vital - so make sure you have your Google +, your likes, your tweets visible and integrated with your website.

So how do you survive Penguin? You think like a penguin :)

Posted by Frances Berry