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Google Penguins Shouldn’t Piss You Off (This Time)

It’s been about a week and a half since Google Penguin 4 (or 2 according to Google) rolled out. It’s common for the big SEO publishers to start writing as soon as the rollout is announced & the same goes for the applications companies. But I prefer to wait a bit, check my numbers and see what data comes up.

Here’s are a few things I’ve found based on my own review and some research from sources I trust.

1. Big brands and popular sites came out ahead.

This seems to be a trend with all the Google updates, so no surprises. The main takeaway is that brand authority (maybe, domain authority?) is becoming more and more important. I suggest you get a Google+ profile setup in the near future and continue cleaning out questionable links. You should also make sure that your internal links are in good shape.

2. Having a lot of (low-quality) links doesn’t help you.

SearchMetrics pointed out that adult sites took a whoopin’ in this update. SEOClarity saw something similar with lead gen sites. With both segments, you see sites and pages that have amassed thousands of low quality links from blogs, funnel pages and social media. What Penguin shows us is that those types of links are not trusted enough to defend your rankings. You need to be investing in higher-quality links even if you can’t immediately scale your link-building program.

3. This was a tremor not an earthquake.

I’m going to trust in Dr. Pete on this one, but you can also find verification from Google, forums and comments around the event. It seems like very few people really felt the impact from this. Even the so called “winners” didn’t see a huge change in traffic. The losers may be licking their wounds now, but I’d say that most of them were living on borrowed time to begin with. Don’t start spouting doomsday prophecies until you check your numbers and don’t assume any change around that date is Penguin-related.
MozCast Temperature Readout
From Dr. Pete’s research. You’ll need to read the post to get the nuance, but Penguin 4.0/2.0 didn’t set the world on fire.

4. Weak pages have the highest risk.

Related to #2 & #3, the keywords (and more importantly pages) most at risk are going to be those with weak link profiles and weak content. You are unlikely to have seen big movements on your head terms and their target pages unless you really dropped the ball on links. Product pages, tag pages and other under-developed real estate are more likely to be impacted. This is good in that you probably didn’t get a big hit to your traffic, but bad because you might have several small leaks undermining your acquisition strategy. Use page segments and non-brand keyword segments to dive deep and find the multiple little leaks that are going to add up to big losses over the rest of the year.

I’d suggest you follow @dr_pete, @searchmetricsde & @SEOClarity

Image by Chris Nystrom (cnystrom) via Flickr

Published in Marketing Ideas Working Blog

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