On May 22, 2013, Google announced its next generation of Penguin webspam algorithms, Penguin 2.0. It impacted approximately 2.3% of English-US queries and focused largely on external links.
Sites that had relevant, valuable, authoritative and natural links were rewarded. Sites that had built manipulative links only to increase rankings or that had links that weren’t natural or relevant to the site were punished. Many sites were penalized and saw a dramatic drop in their rankings.
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This October, Google rolled out the much-anticipated Penguin 3.0 update. But despite the hoopla leading up to it, Penguin 3.0 seems to have had very little impact so far. In fact, many webmasters have seen little or no change in their rankings, even among those who have cleaned up their sites considerably since last year’s update.
Pierre Far, a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google UK, recently called Penguin 3.0 more of a “refresh” than an actual update. If that’s true, many wonder if there is a bigger update coming in the near future – perhaps Penguin 3.1. If there is another update coming, what will that mean for those companies fighting and clawing for a good spot on the SERPs?
Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to improve your site’s ranking. Continuing to try to trick Google will only result in further penalties. The best way to organically improve your website’s position in the SERPs (and to make sure you are not knocked down by Penguin 3.1 in the future) is to make the switch to inbound marketing once and for all.
Here are three ways that inbound marketing will protect you from Penguin 3.1.
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1. Inbound marketing focuses on high quality content. Your content should intelligently answer the questions and challenges that your customers face. Select long tail search terms – those that are actually used by people searching for information – to inform the subject matter of your content. This will draw people to your site and therefore go a long way toward improving your rankings.
2. Inbound marketing doesn’t rely on keyword stuffing to rank in the SERPs. Abandon the practice of keyword stuffing once and for all. If you are still trying to find ways to incorporate a word or phrase into your content as many times as possible, stop! SEO is no longer ruled by keyword density. Users hate it and Google hates it.
3. Inbound marketing gets links naturally, from sites with authority, because of the value it provides to its readers. It doesn’t rely on paid links to draw users to your site. Get rid of any outside links from sites that Google might perceive as spammy, and focus on building real relationships through the quality of your content.
If there is, indeed, a Penguin 3.1 just around the corner, utilizing an inbound marketing strategy will pay off by protecting you from any penalties that might ensue. Plus, it will provide long term dividends by building a stronger foundation to protect you from any further Google updates in the future. And let’s be honest – we all know there will be more.