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How Google’s Panda and Penguin Changed the SEO Landscape

The world of search engine optimization has evolved in the past few years. Each time Google rolls out an update, panic spreads like wildfire across forums, blogs, and social networks. For marketers, knowing the date of these updates can help explain changes in organic website traffic and rankings. Google’s recent Penguin and Panda algorithm updates have dramatically affected search results. No one knows what Google’s next move will be.

Why the Updates?

Achieving high search engine rankings has become critical to business success. Google aims to deliver the best user experience. Panda and Penguin updates are a boost for marketers who have worked hard to provide quality content. Their goal is to identify websites that use questionable SEO strategies and improve search engine results. It is important to understand how these updates affect your website so that you can optimize your pages and make sure you don’t lose out.

Since Panda and Penguin target two different issues, it is essential to know the exact algorithm that hit your website. Penguin targets unnatural backlinks and spam, while Panda is all about low quality content. Both updates will be rolled out periodically. Therefore, you have to continuously improve your SEO strategy and provide the highest quality content. In order to be successful and maintain your search engine rankings, it is necessary to make a few changes to your website, including:

– Remove poor quality content
– Create fresh, interesting content
– Build relevant links
– Eliminate unnatural back links
– Vary your anchor text
– Ensure proper navigation
– Optimize pages for multiple keyword phrases
– Remove duplicate content
– Avoid over optimization and keyword stuffing

The best way to determine whether you have been hit by Penguin or Panda is to launch Google Analytics and check your stats. You must know the problem in order to address it. Based on how Google rolled out these changes recently, many marketers are confused about which update hit their websites. These updates force people to keep producing quality content and use ethical SEO techniques.

Google Panda Update Overview

Google Panda was released in February 2011. This update aimed to lower the rank of “thin sites” and “low quality sites” that provide little or no value to users. At the same time, Google Panda provided better rankings for high quality websites with original content and fresh information. This change to Google’s search results ranking algorithm has had a great impact on content farms. These website were loaded with hundreds of low quality, keyword stuffed articles.

According to Google, over 12 percent of searches in the United States were affected by Panda. This update is just one of more than 200 different factors that Google uses to rank pages. In the last year, Panda began to have a monthly schedule. As a result, many websites tried to diversify their content beyond search engines and create better quality articles. To lose the penalty, webmasters must remove or improve low quality content.

This update made people realize that some widely used practices were actually going against Google’s recommended Best Practice guidelines. Panda affected web pages that don’t have relevant content, but simply exist to push users to cloned sites, landing pages, parked pages and more. Many websites hit by Google Panda are loaded with intrusive ads or provide duplicate content. It takes just one or two pages of poor quality content, and your entire website can be penalized.

How to Recover from Google Panda

The best thing you can do to recover from Google Panda is to constantly update your website with fresh, relevant, and informative content. Webmasters should also avoid over optimization. Try to keep the optimization ratio around 70 percent. Every time you write a new post, ask yourself a few questions. Is it well researched? Is it useful for readers? Are you providing information from reputable sources? Focus on creating unique content. For example, if you have an ecommerce website or an online store, write unique product descriptions.

What Is Google Penguin?

Google Penguin was released on April 24, 2012. This update affected over three percent of English-language search queries. It aimed to decrease rankings of websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by using black hat SEO tactics, including content spinning, link schemes, cloaking, and keyword stuffing.

Many SEO experts agree that Penguin was just the official word that Google is taking action against people who are trying to cheat the system and use unnatural linking practices. Website owners should check their Google Webmaster accounts for any messages from Google warning about a potential penalty. Some contributing factors to Penguin may include:

– Keyword stuffing in internal/external links
– Blog spam
– Low quality article marketing
– Overuse of exact-match domains
– Excessive links from poor quality websites’
– Aggressive internal linking
– Unnatural inbound links
– Paid links
– Link exchanges

Google Penguin is cracking down a common black hat SEO strategy: abusing links to achieve higher search engine rankings. If your website has links from low quality directories, link schemes, and dubious sites, you may receive a penalty. It is estimated that 94 percent of Google Penguin victims did not fully recover. Overly-optimized websites will continue to be targets. For now, the best approach is to focus on the quality of your site in terms of content value, link value, and visitor interaction.

How to Recover from Google Penguin

The first step to recover from Google Penguin is to analyze your website’s traffic data and identify the problem. Check the backlinks pointing to your site and determine which of them are contributing to your penalty. Remove as many bad links as you can. Send out link removal requests to webmasters and then start a new link building campaign. Safe post-Penguin link-building anchor types include hybrid-branded anchors, universal anchors, and branded anchors.

Focus on link quality. Work on collaborative projects with reputable webmasters. Offer you services in exchange for relevant backlinks. Publish guest posts on high quality sites. Spend your time building connections with industry influencers. Keep your bounce rate low and write great content. Make sure your website has a diversified link building strategy.

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