Demystifying Google Penguin and SEO Strategies Part 1
In light of Google Penquin, the latest update, I’ve been reading a lot about the new marketing strategies that should be used for effective search engine and content optimization, or as Scott Frangos of WebDirexion.com puts it, “social environment optimization.”
I think Frangos hit the nail on the head – the new marketing strategies to be used, to appease the marketing gods (search engines), is all about social networking, connections. SEO was always kind of a popularity contest, but now even more so, but on a somewhat fairer playing field.
Penguin is about links.
Before, search engines simply connected searched keywords to related websites. Simply put, the more links back to your site, the higher your status. Quality links were always better.
Now, while keywords offer a ‘pointing finger,’ it’s the content itself and its shareability that matters. The more quality ‘like-minded’ sites linking in and visitors you get the more Google will like you. The quality and relevancy of the links matter.
The new update is a good thing for writers who provide useful information for their readers. The content itself is ‘worthy’ and packs the ‘ranking punch.’ It doesn’t need lots of special optimization tricks.
But, Google’s new update does raise some questions:
• Do effective titles and content still matter?
• Are keywords still needed?
• What about ‘tags?
• What about anchor text?
• What does Google penalize for?
• How do you rank with Google?
Let’s go over each one:
1. Do effective titles and content still matter?
Yes they do. It’s the title that will attract a reader’s attention and help turn attention to interest. Having a relevant keyword in the title helps the search engines categorize it and lets the reader know if it’s what he is looking for.
It’s the content that will keep the visitor on your site and motivate her to SHARE. This is the social connection.
2. Are keywords still needed?
Again, yes. Keywords help search engines categorize your content and help searchers find it, as mentioned in number one.
But, the keywords should be content relevant and not used primarily for money-making optimization. Sites that heavily use ‘money keywords’( keywords specifically used to make money through strategies like PPC), will most likely be penalized.
3. What about tags?
Yes, to this also. Tags, like keywords, help search engines categorize your content.
4. What about anchor text?
According to MicrositesMasters.com, “Google has issued a link over-optimization penalty (or at the very least over-optimization link devaluation).”
This pertains to anchor text linked primarily to ‘money keywords’ and that brings incoming links specifically to make money. These sites usually lack valuable content.
Using anchor text to give your reader more bang-for-the-buck, a broader reading experience is a good thing. Along with helping your reader, if you’re linking to other valuable articles on your site, it keeps the reader on your site longer – raising your perceived value in the ‘eyes’ of the search engines.
So, bottom line, anchor text used ethically is a good thing.
5. What does Google penalize for?
This is pretty easy. Google penalizes for content manipulation to make money.
SmashingMagazine.com says, “Google fights content spam by emphasizing quality in its algorithm and by being transparent in how quality is calculated.”
So, worthless and/or overly monetized content is penalized and content that is valuable, relevant, written for the benefit of the reader and shareable is rewarded.
To read Part 2, which covers,: How to rank with Google with your content marketing.
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