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March of the Google Penguin

June 4, 2012

Many people have probably been wondering, “Why is the Google update called Penguin?”  As opposed to the previous “animal” update called Panda (which was actually an algorithm named after a Google engineer named Navneet Panda) the newest update called Penguin was actually named two days after the April release.  This time it actually seems that there is an animal theme that Google may be going after.

So is Google’s flightless bird going to peck a bunch of holes in your site or is it going to be a cute animal who just wants to swim around your site with little or no effect?  That really depends on what you are currently doing and have done in the past in regards to your website design and the type of sites that are linking to your web properties.

google penguin udate

There has been quite a bit of buzz concerning Google’s latest update.  The first version of this update debuted on April 24, 2012.  The Internet Marketing community was overwhelmed with news about Google ruining many online businesses.  In reality, Google has been on a constant march towards delivering its users the most relevant, high quality websites for what they are searching for.  There is little way around the fact that if a potential consumer clicks on your website and does not like what they see, then Google is not going to look highly upon it either.

Penguin was designed in a way that would penalize the “over optimization” of websites.  To some people this may sound strange, like their website is too good looking, and wonder how something could be over optimized.  The early case studies tell us that Google is on the lookout for any sites that seem to be trying too hard with their optimization techniques.  The bottom line here is that Google is trying to push webmasters to be more user-centric, and to not to spend all their efforts optimizing for the search bots.

So what does Google and its continual march of animals want you to do about your SEO?  Below is a quick list of what a good website and SEO program should focus on.
If you are searching for something on the Internet you want to go to a site where there is an instant sense of trust and credibility.  If your site looks like it is from 1998 and does not establish in 4 seconds what you do, then you will not only risk being devalued by Google, but your visitor conversions will be subpar.
The copy you see on the site should be relevant and of high quality.  If visitors find no value in what you are saying, neither will Google.
The website should use up to date code and be designed correctly.  Everything from website load time to missing pages are all being considered by Google.  This comes back to the concept of giving your visitors the best experience that you can, which is the best way to design and maintain a site in the first place.
Have sites with value linking to your website.  If you know what you are talking about and actually have information that people might want to read, then other sites will want to link to you.  There are thousands of sites vying for attention and high quality SEO is about establishing those relationships.

Just like so many things in life there are no easy solutions on how to be successful.  The same is true with elevating your rankings on Google and staying in the good graces of the continual algorithm updates.

The lesson that this surly Google bird has taught us is that you need to make sure your clients and potential clients can find what they want and/or need on your website easily and without over-optimizing.

If you would like more information about Google’s Penguin update or would like a complimentary website analysis please feel free to contact us.

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