The Penguin Update And The SEO Ideology And Process

May 15th, 2012

Penguins in bronze
Penguins in bronze (Photo credit: LodewijkB)

We all know that Google is all out to fight spam and is aggressively working for improving the quality of search results like never before. Since, Feb. 2011 we have had a series of Panda updates and now the Penguin Update is the latest antidote added to the search algorithm for devaluing the sites which adopt manipulative methods and spam inbound links to deceive Google to get high rankings.In simple words I can say that Google is penalizing sites which have broken their rules and guidelines. Google has always considered SEO as a positive and constructive action for achieving good search visibility. According to Google SEO IS NOT SPAM . But, there is a very thin line between SEO which is positive and constructive and SEO which uses manipulative methods to achieve the desired result. It is usually referred to as the white hat v/s black hat SEO strategies.

White Hat Methods for SEO are very simple and straight forward, Black Hat techniques on the other hand are, the ones which are complicated and understood only by people who adopt these techniques as they are not the standard norm.

Post Penguin update the SEO blogosphere is filled with posts on Over Optimization, Link Pruning, Natural way of acquiring links, etc.

But, first of all ,’To Optimize’ means to achieve a perfect balance – nothing more and nothing less. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, to optimize is to make as perfect, effective, or functional as possible. In engineering, optimization is a collection of methods and techniques to design and make use of engineering systems as perfectly as possible with respect to specific parameters. So, if you have been optimizing sites as per the Google guidelines and have been adopting the right white hat off page and on page techniques then I don’t think this kind of an update should worry you as an SEO and let all the pandas and the penguins play to the glory of Google.

The Google Peng
Antarctic: Signy Island – Adelie penguins (Photo credit: ¡WOUW!)

Google is becoming more and more efficient in detecting low quality content , duplicate content , innumerable low quality inbound links acquired with unfair means, doorway pages, keyword stuffing and non-reasonable use of footer links with anchor text stuffed with keywords to manipulate and misguide Googlebot. But, again if you have not been doing this in the name of SEO then there is no need to worry.

The Penguin Update if there is any (or just a false alarm by Google to instill fear and initiate self correction) then it is basically making the SEOs who have been following the above methods go crazy as it is affecting their guilt conscience and making them go for a rectification spree else I think the others do not have to bother at all. We have not made any changes on the sites managed by us and practically 90% of our sites have shown an increase in targeted traffic and improved rankings from 29th April 2012.

I believe these series of the Panda and Penguin updates will still take atleast another 6 more months to effectively churn out stable quality results and penalize sites using manipulative methods to deceive the Googlebot.

Many people have been writing about how SEO should be an invisible layer which should enhance the search visibility of the site but should not show on the site. I think SEO is that technical layer which is applied on the site to make the search engine bots read and index what your visitors are reading. Your site communicates with the search engine bots not only via the HTML tags in the <Head> and <Body> section but via other files too like the robots.txt, sitemap.xml, .htaccess, HTTP headers, etc. and the medium of instruction used is the search engine web master tools available for that. Hence, the off page optimization also includes how well you communicate with the search engine via these tools. Even the analytics used by the search engine to give you reports of the progress of your site gives a lot of information to the search engine regarding some quality metrics. As in the long run once the on page optimization is set up and if you focus on the natural way of building off-page SEO, you will see that the better your site performs and the online sales, likes, +1s and links from your site get shared on social media the site gets an automatic momentum as all these metrics and signals boost the potential energy of the site which in a way gets reflected in the kinetic energy flow in SERPs.

The initial on page and other SEO techniques give the initial push to the site but for the site to go on doing well, the users have to show that they like to be on the site and complete the call to action of the pages on the site. For instance if it is an ecommerce site then the online sales show and increase and there are more and more repeat visitors buying online along with the new visitors then for sure your site is going to get a boost from the search engines as this proves that if the visitors can trust you with their credit cards then the trust factor of the site is high.

I think if we optimize the site and update the site with great content continuously and share it on the web and make it capable of being shared further by others then the SEO is like the initial push that a body in the state of rest gets and keeps on going ahead unless it is faced by the unbalanced force. The Panda and the Penguin updates are that unbalanced force which are applied by Google to stop the momentum and motion of the sites using unfair means and not to the sites which are optimized according to their guidelines.

You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else. Albert Einstein 

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About The Author

Founder of WebPro Technologies a Web solutions company based in India which focuses on building quality web presence for businesses. Bharati Ahuja is a SEO Trainer and speaker, Web Entrepreneur, Blog Writer, Internet Marketing Consultant.


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