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I’m Jacob Cass, the founder of JUST™ Creative. I’m a multi-disciplinary graphic designer, working with clients all around the world. My specialty is logo & brand identity design. JUST™ Get in touch.

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The Perils of Google Panda and Penguin & How To Overcome Them

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Since the recent Google Penguin, and Panda updates, some webmasters have been penalized due to changes in Google’s algorithm, including my blog which went from PR6 to PR3, which I am working to fix. There has been some changes to what is considered to be good SEO (search engine optimization), which is why it is of paramount importance that you know how to recover from these updates if your website was affected, hence this article.

Penguin

Firstly, one must make sure that their website has good quality content. Here are some things mentioned on Google Web Master Central that they’re looking for when it comes to quality content.

Quality Content

  • If an article is written, make sure that it was written by an expert or enthusiast on the subject.
  • Ensure that you don’t have duplicate, or redundant content. (Google views this as being spammy, also make sure you don’t plagiarize other people’s content).
  • Check your grammar, not only will people not take you seriously if you have improper grammar, but so will Google. Also make sure every thing on your website is factually true.
  • Don’t have excessive ads on your page that will bog down a user’s experience.

Reliability & Speed

Since the update, Google has changed the way that they view web pages and now things like over optimization can be a problem for some people. Since Google has moved away from overly optimized content, you want to focus on making your site extremely user friendly. One big factor is reliability and speed. Improving your speed can be very easy by making some simple changes like combining your javascript and CSS files, and choosing a good company that can provide you with fast and reliable web hosting services & website hosting.

Google+

As most people have noticed by now, Google has introduced a social networking service. (Follow me). With this, they have also introduced +1 button for pages once you’ve signed up for it, like you can see on the bottom of this page. It’s a button that when users click on it, they notify their friends on Google plus that they like that website. Since Google Plus’ inception in June of 2011, it has accumulated over 250 million users.

The more +1s you have, the more Google’s search engine will like it.

Keeping this in mind, it is definitely something to consider, but don’t think that this means it’s a good idea to spam your page with thousands of +1 clicks a day. Google isn’t stupid, and can see when people are being manipulative and exploitative.

Quality Backlinks

Make sure that the backlinks that you have to your website, are good quality. In recent updates. Google de-indexed several pages that were spammy and used for black hat SEO tactics. Blog networks, and paid link allocators like “buildmyrank” were predicated on the idea of writing articles that were keyword rich, and blasting them all over the web for link juice.

Panda

Think of their tactics like trying to fill a bucket with water, one shot glass at a time. Except you’re using 1000 shot glasses. Their sole purpose was to have an aggregation of different articles for all different types of websites that had no relevance to one another to try and accumulate mass back links to whomever payed them. This type of black hat tactic used to work, but no longer. In fact it will severely hurt your website’s rankings, and you can be penalized for it. Stay away from websites that offer instant rankings, because SEO doesn’t work like that and you will only be hurting yourself.

De-Index Pages

As crazy as it may seem, it is now a good idea to de-index, and no follow superfluous pages on your own website, or even reviews of products you may sell. These pages are intended for the user, and typically wont have any content that has any relevance to Google. The important thing to note about doing this though, is that you will only ever want to de-index pages like this if you’re in the process of starting up a new web page. If you have an existing website, then just leave it alone. It’s better for Google’s spiders to gradually realize that they don’t need to follow these types of pages, than doing it all at once which could put the rank of your domain in detriment. Also you will want to de-index low quality websites that have linked to your pages. When it comes to SEO it is always better to have quality over quantity now more than ever.

Link Older Pages With Newer Pages

Lastly, it is a good idea to link older pages to newer pages with newer content, as long as they’re relevant. This practice is called interlinking, and Google’s current algorithm likes to see this. This will ensure you spread out your link juice all over your page, and will give the links that you use more synergy with each other and more meaning. If your rank on the SERPs is important to you (it should be), then it is a good idea to stay up to date on updates in Google’s algorithm.

More SEO related articles:

Have you noticed a dip or rise in your ranks? How did you overcome them?

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17 JUST™ Creative Comments

  • Andrew Kelsall Reply

    Hi Jacob, I thought your website went from PR 6 to PR 3 because you moved your URL from http://justcreativedesign.com to http://justcreative.com ?? I’m sure I saw that when you changed the URL you were at PR zero and now you’ve gone back up to PR 3; surely this is just the natural process and eventually you will go back to PR 6? Great tips on the article by the way :)

    • Jacob Cass Reply

      Andrew,
      That could be a reason as well, however I did everything in regards to transferring all that juice over, according to their guidelines… SEO went slightly down but the biggest drop was the PR6 to PR3. Either way, it made me look into it!

  • Nathan Reply

    The Penguin update was aimed at cleaning up web spam and affected about 3% of the search results when they rolled it out in April. The shake up continues as more updates continue to come out. The main issues are sites that Google view as being over optimised through unnatural and low quality linking processes. The SEO trend seems to be heading towards focusing on business brands which is a good thing.

    • Bea Arthur Reply

      Penguin update was a effort to reduce the spamming but unfortunately some quality website are somehow get effected by these effects. Reasons are still un-predictable and they are finding it hard to over come from this. Hope fully if the above mentioned measures can help them out. Now the term SEO spreads to all directions every means available by which a business can attract traffic and customers is appreciated.

  • Chris Edwards Reply

    Thanks Jacob for the advice. I too have a PR4 blog that has taken a huge hit on the last few Panda & Penguin updates. All my content is original and of good quality, most written off the top of my head. My ranking dropped for most of my pages.

    One of the things that happened before the big drop was allowing many guest blog posts. Guest blogging works, however, I think I may have gone overboard. I had 15 guest blog posts in a 4 week period, with only one original article posted. Thing with most guest blog posts is that they are mostly spins on articles already out there, and contain links that are not alway relevant to the topic.

    Would this type of content affect the ranking of the rest of my site, including several articles that are ranked PR4? Would removing some fo these articles hurt me, especially the ones that do not get any traffic? Should I just de-index those articles? Would love to hear some opinions.

    • Jacob Cass Reply

      Hi Chris,
      Are you using the in built system for authors on WordPress or simply having a bit about the author in the article section? I don’t believe have that many guest authors is going to have a negative impact on the site… you just want to make sure the content is original, not scraped from elsewhere. I wouldn’t deindex them unless you find out they are scraped. Let me know how it goes.

  • Tommy Stephansen Reply

    Interesting stuff, I haven’t been paying very much attention to “optimizing” SEO for my own site until very recently.

    Do you know if reader comments make a difference for pagerank at all? I’m currently using the Disqus commenting system.

  • Oliver Reply

    If you were subverting Googles search engine in the first place it is your own fault really.

  • SEO Company Reply

    The more +1s you have, the more Google’s search engine will like it… it is a myth.. because if the content weight of a site is poor, no matter how many +1s you have.. you cannot optimize.. rather it will lead to spamming

  • Vladimir J Reply

    Panda wasn’t so cute anymore when I first heard about that Google update… But it isn’t so bad if you follow simple rules – work on your content, get quality links and never think that you are smarter than Google.

  • Website Design Mansfield Reply

    Some very good information on this article and very helpful, but like Vladimir stated as long as you work on writing the best content available for your website and gaining good quality relevant links you always have a good chance of ranking well on major search engines – Just make your site useful to the user, simple as that!

  • Eltuistye Reply

    Due to Panda update lots of website PR ranking vanished in a night. Now Google is looking for quality not quantity. You said correctly that we should work on quality. Any way thanks for the tips and guidelines.

  • Justine Reply

    “The more +1s you have, the more Google’s search engine will like it.” – This is EXACTLY why Google is in hot water with the FTC right now. They prioritize their company-owned web properties such as Google Plus and YouTube which means…

    They’re organic listings ARE NOT organic.

    I also feel for site owners like you and others who got “slapped.” You didn’t even do anything wrong. There’s nothing spammy about your site. What does this mean? It means that Google’s algorithm is super flawed.

    It seems like every since Larry Page came back to take the reigns, Google has been doing some really stupid crap.

    Mark my word… Within the next 5 years Google will be split up by the FTC. They simply own WAY too much control over the Internet, and they have FORCED their users into becoming members of their other site properties.

    I’ve really grown quite distasteful of Google in the last year. Hopefully they get their stuff back together.

    Last thing on this Panda Penguin thing.

    I have a huge theory and belief that Google (as a result of their 15% decline in PPC prices) is intentionally manipulating natural search listings to create a dependence on Google Adwords to stay in their search listings.

    Think about it. If you’re a big business and you keep getting slapped out of organic listings, you will eventually decide to just advertise in advertise to stay ahead of the competition and guarantee your spot in the serps.

    So anyways. Yeah. That’s my conspiracy theory. Take it or leave it. I’m tired of web masters having to just “take it” from Google, especially since they’re so obviously acting out of pure financial self-interest and are breaking the very seo rules that they require others to follow.

  • geothermal heat pump Reply

    I’ve really grown quite distasteful of Google in the last year. Hopefully they get their stuff back together.

  • Caleb Reply

    Think about it. If you’re a big business and you keep getting slapped out of organic listings, you will eventually decide to just advertise in advertise to stay ahead of the competition and guarantee your spot in the serps.

  • cosmetic dentist in chicago Reply

    So anyways. Yeah. That’s my conspiracy theory. Take it or leave it. I’m tired of web masters having to just “take it” from Google, especially since they’re so obviously acting out of pure financial self-interest and are breaking the very seo rules that they require others to follow.

  • John Reply

    “The more +1s you have, the more Google’s search engine will like it.” – This is EXACTLY why Google is in hot water with the FTC right now. They prioritize their company-owned web properties such as Google Plus and YouTube which means…

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