How to Beat Google Penguins and Pandas: SEO 2012 and Onward


When Google updated its algorithm with Google Panda and Google Penguin updates,

Image via CrunchBase

many SEO professionals started to sweat. Were these updates going to affect site rankings? What changes needed to be made to beat these new updates? Nick Stamoulis of Brick Marketing gives some helpful details regarding the Panda and Penguin updates, but what do these updates really mean for your SEO strategies?

Content Marketing

Here’s an important thing to remember. In the midst of all the panic associated with Penguin and Panda updates, one SEO tactic has not changed. That tactic is the creation of genuine, helpful, informative, and engaging content. This is what Google loves to see in its high-ranking websites. The more helpful your content, the more likely people are to share your site, link to your site, and visit your site on a regular basis. Point Click Productions, a successful SEO company in California, recently wrote a blog post about the use of high quality content. According to this forward-thinking company, scrambling over SEO tactics is not necessary when your site is filled with high quality content. Focus on the consumer instead of the algorithm robots, and you’ll likely be in good shape.

Social Media Presence

Your social media presence can be the biggest SEO advantage in the midst of the Panda and Penguin updates. Google determined that the vast majority of social media accounts that are updated regularly are managed by real people trying to provide helpful content to consumers. So, if you’ve got a consistent social media presence, Google automatically assumes that you’re doing it right. It will likely help your website search engine ranking.

Still, it’s important to post only high quality content via social media. The Google algorithm updates do evaluate social media posts and links. High quality content, above all else, will keep your SEO strategy sound and effective.

All About Linking

Linking is one of the SEO techniques most affected by the latest Penguin algorithm updates. In the past, cheap linking strategies were one of the most common ways to manipulate SERPs and get rankings that weren’t deserved. Penguin, however, is cracking down on this, and it’s important to adjust SEO strategies to accommodate the changes.

One big change is the emphasis on varied anchor text in your links. The anchor text is the text that represents a URL in a link. If you have keyword-heavy anchor text that doesn’t read well, Google may penalize your site. Instead, use anchor text that is the same as the site’s domain name, or use text such as “click here.”

Another potential linking problem is the location of your website’s links. If Google determines that poor quality websites are linking to your page, they may penalize your rankings. Check to make sure that your content has not been lifted by content mills. If this happens, your live links could be discoverable on website pages that are determined to be ineffectual and poor quality.

Recognition From Niche Competitors

One great way to beat the Panda and Penguin updates to the Google algorithm is to write content that is recognized by competitors in your same niche. It’s quite easy to submit links and poor content to other websites that have nothing to do with your niche. You can purchase shady links, sell content to businesses that have no idea what you’re talking about, or form symbiotic relationships with businesses outside your industry and trade links for SEO. Google, however, doesn’t like any of this. Instead of focusing on SEO practices that are bad, however, Penguin and Panda updates have focused on SEO indicators that are hard to fake or manipulate.

One of these indicators is the presence of site links on competitors’ pages. When a competitor decides to feature a link to your content on his or her own website, Google assumes that the content you are creating is especially helpful. Imagine the relationship between two florists who work on the same street. If one florist respects the other, she may direct customers to the other florist shop if she doesn’t have the flowers that customer is looking for. If, however, she didn’t respect the other florist, she would never send her valued customers to a low-quality establishment. The same holds true for online presences. If a competitor believes that your content is fresh and engaging, he or she won’t hesitate to post links to your site and send consumers in your direction. Google picks up on this and reward it.

It’s Not a Trap or a Trick

Many companies, businesses, and marketers are frustrated with the new Panda and Penguin updates to the Google algorithm. They complain that Google is changing the game once again, making them jump through hoops, and destroying years of SEO efforts that are now irrelevant. If you look at these gripers’ websites, though, you’ll likely see the employment of a lot of black hat SEO strategies. Black hat SEO is low-quality search engine optimization. These individuals have tried to trick the system and manipulate SERPs into believing that their websites should get top ranking.

The website designers and content writers who have focused all along on white hat SEO, real content improvement strategies, and designing websites with the consumer in mind are not complaining about Penguin and Panda updates. Why? Because these algorithm updates have not been designed to trap or trick you. Google is simply adding updates to its algorithm to try and sift through websites more effectively. Individuals who are going the extra mile to write high quality content that is valuable to consumers will have no trouble with Panda and Penguin. In fact, they’ll likely see their rankings increase as low-quality competitors start slipping on the search results pages.

Google is a search engine giant. Billions of searches are performed every day on Google, and this makes it especially important that the results featured on Google are high quality and accurate. The algorithm updates that Google has released will not necessarily change SEO for the future. They’ll just come closer to guaranteeing that you have to optimize correctly in order to succeed.