Surviving the Penguin Update

Whether you site engages in link spam or not you had a good chance of getting hit hard from this update. While Google seems to still count this update as successful, many of the results seem to prove otherwise when good sites bite the dust.

One of the key parts about this update is that it is designed to combat websites that go too crazy with their linking efforts. Huge amounts of links using the same link text pointing to your site can actually lower the credibility of your site.

So, if you were one of those submitting to thousands of directories by some automated means where most or all were accepted with the same link text, you probably got penalized. Same goes with if you were buying free wordpress theme footer links (where you add your link to the footer and hand out the theme for free). And the same goes with any other method of mass link acquisition.


Not only Spammers were hit

Unfortunately this update not only affected spam sites but also higher quality sites that you would have thought to be immune to this update. This write up from wpmu.org pretty well proves this point. Like them or not, it would be hard to debate the fact that wpmu.org is a pretty good site and not exactly what you would consider web spam.

Penguin Update Relief

So, if you were one of those that got penalized by the Penguin Update, what should you do? One thing that MAY help, is if you were engaging in questionable link building methods, email those locations to ask them to remove your link. Your goal here will be to make you link profile start to look more natural and No, thousands of links from spammy sites with the same link text to the same page doesn’t look natural.

Concentrate on getting a lower number of high quality links instead of a high number of low quality links. While getting some links from directories, article marketing and other quick link building method will likely not hurt your site, doing this exclusively or doing large amounts of it will. Google has always said (OK, Matt Cutts has always said) One good link is worth a lot more than hundreds of poor quality links. Something to consider when acquiring links, “If you wouldn’t consider going to the site to research information on a subject than you probably don’t want a link from it".

But I don’t link Spam

I have several sites that have done well right from the beginning so I have done pretty much no link building; I only have a few links from some sites that are very strong on the subject. No directories, no article marketing, almost all the links same naturally. These are larger sites with unique content but they got the wrath of the Penguin. What do you do if you have a quality site that suffered the same fate? Best I can say at this point is to continue to build good content and slowly acquire some high quality links and wait it out. DON’T be tempted to engage in any quick link building schemes.

If you have a good site you likely receive new links naturally and in time you should get passed this penalty. I’m guessing that even though Google is publically stating this update is a success, they know that it did a lot of damage. As more and more sites surface to show their failings with this update they will no doubt make adjustments.

In the mean time, take this as a sign to diversify your website portfolio. It’s not a very good idea to put all your eggs in one basket, as seen with this update; Google can tip that basket at any time. Make sure that your website traffic comes from as many sources as possible. In addition make sure your revenue comes from several sources, if you are only using AdSense you’re setting yourself up for a fall.

As with the rest of Google’s updates, the dreaded Penguin is not the end of the world. Keep writing, and keep building your sites. Look for new ways to attract visitors and new ways to keep them on your site and eventually, while you may continue to have a scar to show for it, the Penguin will be a thing of the past.