Many website owners were shocked and dismayed to find their sites had suddenly disappeared from page one of the world’s most popular search engine after Google launched its Penguin 5 Update at the end of April. While Google’s recent action has left many website owners blindsided and scrambling to recover lost rankings, the move, while ruffling more than a few feathers, was hardly unprecedented. So, if you have suddenly fallen out of favor with the 800 lb gorilla in the room, what you need to ask yourself is whether you want to get mad, or whether you want to get even.
Even Gorillas Get the Blues
More importantly, you need to ask yourself what is it that the gorilla wants that you aren’t currently providing. For the most part, the Penguin Update was seeking to redress issues regarding link spamming, where sites rely on paid links that have little relevance in the real world and only exist to game the search engines. So if you have been dabbling with link farms, or otherwise engaging in building links with questionable sites, it is time you stopped this practice.
Google also took issue with such tactics as keyword stuffing, where keywords are dropped without rhyme or reason throughout a site in order to influence the search engine spiders. If your text is peppered with keywords that have little relevance to your storyline, or you have hidden text readable only by the googlebots, then you need to clean up your act.
Time to Spring into Action
In fact, one of the best ways to get back in Google’s good graces would be to conduct a bit of spring cleaning in order to prune old or irrelevant content, links and keyword spam. Instead of crying over spilt milk, perhaps you should look at this as a wakeup call that could be put to good use. If it has been more than a year since you updated your site, this would be the perfect time to add some sizzle by dropping in a video or two, or adding Google+ to your social networking scheme. Both these tactics and additional blogposts will help boost your links and ranking, as well as giving your site a fresh new look.
While there are a few additional and highly technical details that the Penguin was designed to curtail, for the most part what every website owner needs to know is that if you are more interested in gaming the search engines than you are in engaging your audience, then you can only expect to get as good as you give. What I mean by that is that if you provide consistent, relevant content on a regular basis that improves visitor experience and delivers value to your customers, then you are going to wind up not only wooing the search engines, but wowing your audience as well, which is why you should be working the web in the first place.
So, if you really want to create a web presence that is more or less bulletproof to the ever changing whims of search engine operators, then you need to stay focused on creating the kind of site that people will want to come back to read time and time again. And always beware of booby trapped umbrellas.
Carl Weiss has been working the web to win since 1995 and has helped hundreds of companies increase their online results. He is president of W Squared Media and co-host of the weekly radio show Working the Web to Win which airs Tuesdays at 4pm Eastern on BlogTalkRadio.com.