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May 15, 2012

Bulletproof Strategy to Benefit from the Google Penguin Update

I’m sure by now you’ve heard all of the hoopla over Google’s recent Penguin Update. The forums are buzzing with SEO-ers up in arms over the carnage. Matt Cutts has been whisked away to an undisclosed location (not really) while Internet Marketers by the gigabyte are showing up at his front door with torches in hand looking for an explanation.

At least that’s what you might think if you were to read the forums. Believe it or not, there are plenty of people benefiting from the Penguin Update as well. It only makes sense. For every site that gets bounced off the page there is a new site replacing it. Yes, they are out there and they are quietly celebrating Google and their beloved little monochromatic friend. So, how can you be one of those celebrating? Easy, sort of. Here’s a little something to get you started.

Step 1: Stop Complaining

Let’s get this out in the open first and foremost. This most recent update to Google’s search engine algorithm is not perfect. That’s right. Google did not take the time to personally test all 88 billion possible searches that take place over the course of the month to make sure each one is ordered exactly as you would like. This was a sweeping change that touched pretty much every possible term searched. Of course, if you are going to cast out such a big net, you are bound to catch a few shopping carts, tires, and dead bodies. Over the next few weeks the algorithm will likely be tweaked and things will begin to settle a bit. It happens every time. Stop whining about it. Google isn’t going to all of a sudden reverse the update because Bob from Nebraska isn’t happy.

Step 2: Get To Work

Whether or not you have been affected, if you are currently residing on the dark side, it’s not too late to join us over here on the light side (or whatever the heck you call the opposite of the dark side). If you were not given a smack from Google this time around, your day is coming if you think you are going to keep getting away with shady link building, keyword stuffing and spammy content. You are going to have to change your ways at some point, so why not now? If you are looking for a bulletproof solution to your search engine woes, here it is – Become an expert.

That’s it. It’s simple logic. These updates are nothing more than Google’s commitment to return the most relevant results for the term being searched. If someone is searching for a dentist in Hopeulikit, Georgia (yeah I know, that’s a real town – I actually looked it up) Google is not going to want to show 10 dentists that are the best at link building. They want to show the 10 best dentists in town. The experts. As an expert in your field you can’t be ignored – not even by Google. Here’s a start on how you do it.

Write Extraordinary Content

You are not going to be able to get away with that same old regurgitated drivel if you want to be an expert. You are going to have to come up with extraordinary content on a regular basis. It’s tough. Not everything you write is going to be a Pulitzer Prize winner. We’re all guilty of writers block or phoning it in every now and then, including me – I mean, have you seen this post? The important thing is that you can regularly get some wood on the ball and write a really valuable blog post, e-book, white paper, or case study that you can post on your website at least once or twice a week.

Give It Away

Stop acting as though you are solely responsible for splitting the atom and that you can’t share your secrets with anyone. You should be giving away as much content as you can through blog posts, e-books, webinars, videos, podcasts, seminars and workshops. Get your message out there so people will know who you are but more importantly so Google will know who you are. If you have hundreds or even thousands of pages of QUALITY content with your name all over it, isn’t it safe to assume that you are going to be seen as a valuable resource by human and robot alike? Don’t just take my word for it, in his post entitled “Where Should You Put Your Content,” Chris Brogan puts it best in saying “I tend to put my content out here as a faith walk, I give away 90% and charge for 10% – it’s the Open & Free Business Model I preach & teach.”

Social Media

Get out that flute and start practicing your pied piper routine. You need to be leading the charge towards a better tomorrow and social media is a great tool to get you in front of the proverbial room and preach your gospel. That doesn’t mean to oversell, harass, annoy or “friend collect.” It means to build a substantial community. Then be an outstanding member of that community. Be the one giving away tons of good information. Be the one that helps others get what they want. Be the one that is always accessible. Be consistent in your message. Eventually, they will hold you up as their expert.

Build Quality Links for the Right Reason

Like it or not you still need other sites linking to yours. It’s one of those things that still stands at the core of the Google algorithm. That doesn’t mean that you have to hire a link farm to create a bunch of spammy links. I know that’s the easy way out, but experts don’t take the easy way out just because it’s easy. Start visiting blogs in and around your industry and start commenting on their posts. But here is the key – sound intelligent, create value and add to the conversations in all of your comments! This accomplishes a few things. It creates a link to your website on a like minded blog with a lot of valuable content. It also introduces you to a new audience that wouldn’t normally have found you had you not said something that triggered them to want to check you out further.

Write for Human Beings on Your Site

The content on your static pages like home, about us, services and products needs to be compelling and written for a human being. Don’t over SEO these pages by stuffing them with keywords, making them longer than they should be or linking every other word or phrase to another page on your site. Google won’t like it and your visitors won’t understand it. Google is smart enough to understand what the page is about if you write it well without having to drill it into their heads.

Step 3: Keep Going

Look, this whole expert thing is not the easy route, I get that. In fact, I’m sure there is a short cut in the Penguin Update just waiting to be found and exploited. Don’t fall for it. What happens when that hole gets filled by the next update and you’re back to fighting for your life again? There is one thing that short cuts, gray areas, and questionable techniques will never have that being an expert will always. Sustainability. In the end, there will never be an algorithm update that removes websites for being too valuable. That’s your goal.


Marc Ensign is an Internet Marketing geek specializing in ‘search engine optimization, social media and digital design. Marc’s approach to success is based on embracing the rules as opposed to finding the holes. While everyone else is looking for the easy way out, Marc’s methodology is based on putting in the work and building sustainable and significant results.

14 Responses to “Bulletproof Strategy to Benefit from the Google Penguin Update

    avatar Andy says:

    Very interesting article, make me rethink my seo strategies.

    Thanks for the help

    avatar Tonyg says:

    Hi Marc,
    I enjoyed reading your Article.
    I agree in what you say about giving more than you receive,although it has taken me a long time to understand this.I am slowly starting to implement this on my Site.I am not a “Guru” just simply a Person looking for a little Income to supplement my Pension and hopefully help someone else avoid some of the get rich quick schemes out there.
    Keep up the good work.
    Warm Regards,
    Tonyg

    avatar Bert says:

    This was an intersting post for me being quite a newbie (numpty) at this IM and to be honest reading a lot of the negative talk in the various forums was making me think too myself why should I bother, sounds like affiliate marketing is going to be doomed but after reading this article, I started to remember when I had a business and we went through recessions and bad times, I just got up banged on more doors got more advertising out, by word of mouth and media,it was hard work and I mean real physical and mental hard work, everything said here I can relate too as being fairly similar too my experiences, but with IM and the computer age it is a lot easier a bit frustrating at times, most certainly not physically tiring…

    avatar MyBidMonster South Africa says:

    This is soothing and calming and should really calm down not a few aggitated nerves about big G’s unending updates.

    Work, work smarter seem to be the way to go. thanks for the peice.

    avatar Athol Foden says:

    Given a sea of choices and lots of confusion, humans always drift back to the known brands for comfort and security to spend their money. So go back to some basics on building your brand and creating great brand experiences to really drive traffic to your company.

    avatar Phil Kane says:

    Penguin SOLUTION……

    Bing/Yahoo

    avatar Yatin says:

    Good and straight forward article. I witnessed few websites those were affected by this update and now they are working hard to get same rankings prior to that update. Short-cuts are good to gain quick benefits but right and ethical approach always give long lasting results.

    avatar Jennifer says:

    I can see I need to get involved with social media. I have always had my head in the sand when it came to using it…another learning curve…

    avatar Kathryn says:

    Thank you for posting your article – it has been a real eye opener and I will certainly act upon your tips and suggestions. As an above poster says short cuts do gain quick benefits but those that put in the real hard word will continue to see the benefits for a long time to come. Thanks again.

    Good article. It reinforces that there are no shortcuts to Google positioning. We tell our clients, if there are 1 million results for the keyword you want, what is it worth to you to be No. 1? That’s the investment companies need to make for their content to be viewed that worthy by Google.

    avatar Nicholas says:

    SEO is and always will be a delicate balance. As people have said and from my experience, write your content as if you were writing a letter by hand. The more genuine and easier it is to understand the more likely you are to gain PR. Google can tell when you stuff your content with key words.

    I wrote an article one SEO last weel actually and you can view it by going to http://darleywebdesign.com/3-seo-tips-you-have-to-know/

    Hello Marc, I have found this blog while searching some interesting articles related to Google Penguin Updates. Suddenly I have landed in this blog. I have gone through your article and quite impressed with it. As being an Social Media Professional, I am totally agree with my previous commenter @Yatin – that “Short-cuts are good to gain quick benefits but right and ethical approach always give long lasting results.”. I think we – the SEO people – should stop the short cut methods of getting and creating low quality links for the sake of our site. We should concentrate on QUALITY then quantity. Don’t you think so?

    avatar Mark Donovan says:

    Been doing all of the above for 8 years on HomeAdditionPlus.com, and been reading these “expert opinions” for years. I can unequivocally say you’re wasting your time chasing after a moving target, and more specifically a cloaked target (Google Search Algorithms).

    Bottom-line, anyone who operates a business that allows himself to be controlled by one company (Google) is a fool. The most important thing to think about when attempting to build an online business is how to get site traffic without relying on search engine results. Do this, and you won’t be shocked and financially broke when the search company monopoly inks its next biz deal with your big-boy competitor that guarantees them most favored website traffic status.

    So what is “do this”?? It’s coming up with a way to really connect with site visitors whether it be via good, unique and tangible products, personality, or some form of imagery. It’s not about, “keep going” and doing the same thing you’ve been doing but even more often and longer.

    To conclude, step back and review your business model when the next animal search algorithm update comes down the pike. And make no mistake it will. If your biz model is no longer working at that point either find a new product or way to adapt your biz model, or find a new business.
    Most importantly, don’t waste your time playing a game where the nebulous rules are always changing.

    avatar GaryJohnson says:

    This article is a year old and it’s still fresh and important for all online marketing. I just wish I had realized this sooner, back in 2011.

    I wasted an awful lot of time seeking out irrelevant backlinks for my sites thinking the more I got, the better my ranking would be. It worked back in the day, but as you say, that hole was plugged and I got hit.

    Knowledge of your subject is far more important than backlinking these days. A website with great informative information will collect links on their own, and that’s the best kind of link, social or otherwise.

    Great article, it should be a sticky somewhere!

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