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5 Ways to Make Your Business Penguin-Proof — A SPN Exclusive

In the weeks since Google first unveiled its Penguin update, I have seen smart business owners turn into Chicken Little. They’ve ripped apart their home pages, designed new layouts, added new pages — all in hopes of recovering their lost rankings. Plenty of the “Good Guys” were hit hard by Penguin, and hopefully, Penguin 1.1 is the first of many tweaks that will get the “Good Guys” back on top.

Whether you were hit hard by Penguin or not, you’re probably now wondering what the next algorithm change will bring. What cute animal will it be named after? How will it affect your web traffic and sales? And how the heck do you brace for it?

There’s actually a very easy way to make your business Penguin-proof (or Panda-proof, or Anteater-proof, or Mongoose-proof).

Stop obsessing over Google. Seriously.

Penguin is proof that just about anyone’s rankings can disappear overnight — whether they deserve it or not. Even if you got your rankings back this time, you may not be so lucky next time. That’s why you need to rely on other marketing outlets — ones that have nothing to do with big G.

Sure, target some keywords, and include them in your articles, blog posts, and videos. You can certainly make Google a part of your marketing arsenal, without making it the only tool you rely on.

But… But… How is that possible? Isn’t Google the only way to “see and be seen”?

If you’re one of the many website owners who thinks that Google rankings are only slightly less important than oxygen, it’s time to step back and try to see the forest from deep inside the trees. There are plenty of ways to market your business without Google’s help.

In fact, here are 5 great ideas that your business can start working on today:

1. Article Marketing

No, I’m not talking about “blasting” poorly-spun articles to thousands of low-level directories all over the ‘net. That method is sooo 2005, and it’s become totally extinct thanks to Penguin’s buddy, Panda.

Instead, I’m talking about publishing high-quality articles and getting them syndicated on authority sites in your niche.

How do you do it?

Think about the websites you visit on a daily basis. Think about the email lists you subscribe to. Chances are their owners would jump at the chance to publish an article of yours that’s interesting, informative, and an overall good read for their audience.

Having trouble finding syndication outlets?

That’s where resources like the Directory of Ezines come in. As a member, you’ll get listings of ezines (different from garden-variety article directories) that are organized by niche. You’ll have access to publishers’ contact information and their number of subscribers. The DOE even has its own directory where you can publish articles, so that other members can find and syndicate them.

2. Tap Into the Power of Guest Blogging

Bloggers are a hard-working bunch. If you can offer them a post that’s insightful and compelling, they’ll likely jump at the chance to give their fingers a rest for a day! In exchange for your guest post, you’ll get to be front-and-center in front of their audience — and a short bio at the bottom that’s similar to a resource box. All you have to do is wow people with your guest post, and you could wind up with a ton of new, loyal readers on your own blog!

Not sure how to find guest blogging opportunities?

Check out Cathy Stucker’s Blogger LinkUp and Ann Smarty’s My Blog Guest. Both are free to join, and they can connect you with all kinds of content-hungry blog owners!

3. Lean More on Your Email List

Why not turn those old customers into repeat buyers? If you’re not taking full advantage of your email list, it’s time to start. But, remember, great email newsletters don’t just send out sales pitches. Instead, they’re designed to build a relationship with your subscribers. By sharing new developments and interesting finds, you’ll be at the forefront of your subscribers’ minds — and they’ll remember to tell other people about you.

4. Connect With Other People

No, this isn’t the same ol’ “find forums in your niche and post there” advice. Instead, use your time wisely by becoming a bonafide expert.

How?

Question and answer sites like All Experts are always looking for new experts to volunteer some time. On All Experts, there are dozens of different categories that need experts. Plus, all of your answers will feature a “signature” where you can insert your link, so that readers can head to your website if they want to learn more.

5. Behold the Power of Word-Of-Mouth Advertising

The more you make the rounds, the more people are going to be talking about you. And if people are talking about you, that’s way more valuable than your Google ranking.

Don’t believe me?

Sara Blakely, the creator of Spanx, turned $5,000 worth of capital into a billion dollar mega-business. When she first started, she didn’t have any money to advertise — so she relied on word-of-mouth advertising. All of that talking was so successful that the company still doesn’t advertise today!

How can you make sure that people talk about you?

Think about things from your target audience’s perspective. Come up with clever ways to answer their questions and solve their problems. Prove to them that you understand their problems. Become an expert in your niche. Add a “human touch” to your blog posts, newsletters, articles, Tweets, and Facebook statuses, so that people see you as a real person and not just some corporate entity.

Remember, your target audience is the one who really makes or breaks your bottom line — not the spiders over at Google. If you can develop an arsenal of marketing weapons, you’ll be able to consider any search engine traffic you get to be a bonus. That way, instead of obsessing over the latest Google update, you can focus on ways to build a stronger business!


Nicole Beckett and the team at Premier Content Source provide a variety of content writing services that can make your business much less dependent on Google — and make you a happier business owner!

About the author

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Nicole Beckett

Nicole Beckett knows that content marketing will always play a huge role on the web.  That's why she spends her time helping business owners come up with the very best strategies.  Find out how she can take your web content to the next level by visiting Nicole and the team of journalists at Premier Content Source.

8 Comments

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  • An interesting article, but like nearly all that I read on the same topic, it doesn’t seem quite relevant to our site (a Spanish school in Quito), and to many millions of other sites that are smaller, niche sites that offer a particular service in a particular place. We need good advice on SEO and online marketing too!

  • Thanks for chiming in, Andy! I’m curious, though, why do you think you can’t take advantage of marketing tactics like these? No matter how small or how localized your niche might be, your target audience still has questions that need to be answered and problems that need to be solved.

    Why not write some guest posts for a blog that’s popular in Quito? Why not write some articles on how to pick the perfect school? Why not start up a Twitter page or a Facebook page for your school and use them to interact with current and former students?

    Granted, it may not be quite as easy to find opportunities in tiny niches — but the opportunities are certainly there.

    Hope it works out for you! 🙂

  • As always Nicole, you’ve produced another great and informative article. 🙂

    The ideas are all great, especially for newbies trying so desperately to get traffic to their blogs / sites.

    Personally, I don’t stress over Bing; Google nor Yahoo messing with my sites, as I always try to make sure my CSS; HTML and links are correct and valid thru W3C standards and verification, which I’ve stressed to thousands of site owners for many years.

  • Thanks, Marine! 🙂

    You used the perfect word in your comment — “stress”. That’s exactly what the search engines (especially Google) are causing for millions of site owners out there! By making them less of a focus, you get to have more control over your business, instead of letting a spider over a Google headquarters dictating how much success you see.

  • It comes to this, if your doing what is supposed to be done and not trying to out fox Google then, thing’s should be just fine. If you were hit by the penguin then it is possible your outsourcing your SEO services to a company and the company they are using is not doing it right. The tips provided are not anything new, but can actually be considered more of a reminder that this is what you should be doing. Refreshing your skills is always a plus.

  • Ty — I wish it were that simple. For the most part, yes, the sites affected by Penguin were doing *something* wrong.

    Unfortunately, though, there were also alot of good sites that got hit, and they don’t know why. Many of them recovered during the Penguin 1.1 update over Memorial Day weekend, but some of them are still trying to figure out what’s going on.

    With all the talk of inbound links playing a role in Penguin, it’s scary to think that not-so-great sites can link to yours and affect your rankings, because you have no control over who links to you. You may be doing everything right, but if a random Russian bride website links to you (or if a shady competitor posts your link there), will that raise a red flag with Google? It’s a scary thought!

    Even though my site hasn’t been hurt by Panda or Penguin (in fact, it’s thrived!), I still don’t like the idea of Google having control over the bulk of my traffic and, ultimately, my sales. It’s just too risky.

  • Nicole, you will now be a regular read for me.

    FINALLY somebody tells the truth about it all. It sickens me to see people wetting their pants every time G snorts. Another thing I like about you, Nicole, is you are no Google arse kisser! (so unlike most who write articles here) That means volumes to me.

    I agree with you totally – stop stressing over Google. It should never be that a site linking to you can bring your site down. This is outrageously ridiculous. It’s as if relevancy has no place, meaning or value any more.

    Where can I sign up to receive your articles and insights?

  • Thanks for the kind words, Barb! Personally, I don’t believe in kissing anyone’s “arse” 😉

    Honestly, I feel bad for the people who freak out over the slightest Google change, because they’re missing out on so many other great opportunities to get themselves out there. Don’t get me wrong — I have keywords that I target, and I certainly don’t mind getting traffic from Google. However, I like to think of it as a bonus, rather than the end-all-be-all to my entire business.

    While I love to post here on Site Pro News, I’ve also got my own blog (http://premiercontentsource.com/blog) where I share thoughts on the content writing world (sometimes in a sarcastic kind of way, but all in good fun!). I try to update it twice a week or so, and if you’d like, you can sign up for the RSS feed at http://premiercontentsource.com/blog/?feed=rss