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Google Penguin Update: 12 Tips Directly From Google

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Google Penguin Update: 12 Tips Directly From Google
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In case you haven’t heard the news, the official name for the Webspam update Google launched this week, is reportedly the Penguin update. Google’s Matt Cutts even tweeted a picture of a stuffed Panda hanging out with a stuffed Penguin. How cute.

Now, we don’t know exactly what all Google takes into account with this Penguin update. But Google made it pretty clear that it’s about targeting those violating its quality guidelines. Here’s an exact quote from the announcement:

In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines.

There wasn’t this much apparent clarity with the Panda update. There was (and frankly, still is) a lot of speculation about how to survive Panda. Google did release a list of questions that webmasters should ask themselves related to how Google assesses quality, but it wasn’t completely black and white.

Luckily, Google lists exactly what the quality guidelines are. In other words, Google tells you exactly what not to do.

There are 8 “specific guidelines”. They are (verbatim):

1. Avoid hidden text or hidden links.

2. Don’t use cloaking or sneaky redirects.

3. Don’t send automated queries to Google.

4. Don’t load pages with irrelevant keywords.

5. Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.

6. Don’t create pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware.

7. Avoid “doorway” pages created just for search engines, or other “cookie cutter” approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.

8. If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.

Some of them are more black and white than others. For example, avoiding hidden text or hidden links seems like a pretty obvious thing. Just don’t do it. The duplicate content one is a little different. What does Google consider “substantially duplicate content”? How much is too much?

Beyond the specific guidelines, Google also lists 4 “basic principles”. These are:

1. Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Don’t deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, which is commonly referred to as “cloaking.”

2. Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”

3. Don’t participate in link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or “bad neighborhoods” on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.

4. Don’t use unauthorized computer programs to submit pages, check rankings, etc. Such programs consume computing resources and violate our Terms of Service. Google does not recommend the use of products such as WebPosition Gold™ that send automatic or programmatic queries to Google.

Google provides plenty more guidelines and elaboration on the quality guidelines in its help center.

Of course, none of this is new. It’s just that now Google has a better way to enforce them (or at least, it hopes it does).

More on Penguin/Webspam Update:

Google Penguin Update: The New Name For The WebSpam Update
Webspam And Panda Updates: Does SEO Still Matter? 
Google Webspam Algorithm Update Draws Mixed Reviews From Users 
Google Webspam Update: Where’s The Viagra? [Updated] 
Google Webspam Update: “Make Money Online” Query Yields Less Than Quality Result 
Google Webspam Update: Losers & Winners, According To Searchmetrics [Updated] 
How Much Of Google’s Webspam Efforts Come From These Patents? 
Google Panda Update: Data Refresh Hit Last Week

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Google Penguin Update: 12 Tips Directly From Google
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  • Adam

    http://trafficplanet.com/topic/2369-case-study-negative-seo-results/

    Interesting reading………. very interesting.

  • http://www.manojpallai.com SEO Expert India

    Okay, it’s about white hat techniques, where are anything new updated name Penguin :) ??

  • http://www.zone-in.co.za paul

    Hate spammers. The amount of repeditive blog spam I need to deleat daily drives me insane!! So thank you for creating an update that will have a negative effect on sites that function on those irritating principles. Its finally feels like the flies can now get swatted.

  • Sabina

    I’ve been doing SEO for some time now and I’ve been dissapointed in Google so many times I can not even explain. Not because Google didn’t put my site on No. 1 position. Because they were “preaching” that the formula (if you wish that word) is unique, relavent, useful content. That’s so far from truth like East from the West. I’ve seen my “competition” sites being with so pure content, stuffed with keywords, no usefull stuff but still ranked high. I personaly think Google is a Global Police which scares me to death by owning so much information. Hey, that’s just me…

  • http://articleodyessy.norpachost.com Barry Scott

    I followed google’s advice from the last update concerning keywords,
    backlinks and other seo’s, began to gain traffic and am now gone. No pagerank at all now. Looks like it’s time to forget about google, let them dry up and wither, see how they like it.

  • http://www.greenleaf-net-solutions.com/ Colin Crawford

    With the update as of yesterday I gained a spot on page one (for three keywords) and moved to position 2, but today I have been moved back down to position 4. Although a website called Freeindex took my 2nd spot with my advert so really I have gained with being mentioned twice so near the top of page one.

    And to be honest some of this SEO stuff gets me confused in what you are supposed to do. I have used these software programs and they say my web pages need to be improved and need at least 95% to get to position 1 on Google. The person at No. 1 only had 65% when I checked their website, mine was just below that on 64% and what gets me is the third spot had 79%. Sometimes I just think it is all just a con.

    I stick with the basics and try to refine it so to make sure I stay where I am at. It would be nice though to be found with 2 or maybe 1 keyword but at the moment that is beyond me.

    Maybe I’m confused with what you are supposed to do and what other people advise you to do.

  • mukesh

    i had seen many results after google update now Wikipedia results are on the top. Google is very selfish, always thinking for google adword , he want to shut down seo and link building business. there is a fear of unemployment all over the globe might be economy goes down again after this update…. i am very afraid.

  • http://www.syednetworks.com Azanshah

    Damage is done and i don’t think google is ready to recover the individuals, as the given the penguin feedback doc. Now the question is how to recover from this sh*t? And even I made changes to my blog as per google guidelines, when will next Peng.. come up to take my traffic back to normal?

    Also what if next update gonna love my previous SEO stuff i changed from? So better way would be to keep different blogs with different approaches.

  • http://www.croatia-tourist.net Charlie M

    It seems to me that google is working so much to show relevant sites, that those results are becoming less useful. Yahoo and Bing gives more relevant results then google lately (after “Penguin” and “Panda” release).

  • http://whatswithjeff.com PC Enthusiast

    Oh no, another update. Last year was Panda, now Penguin, what next? Panther?
    I hope my site will not get hit by Penguin. Last year my blog http://whatswithjeff.com was hit by Panda. Visitors significantly went down in just less than a day.
    I hope penguin will have a good effect on my site since I have made major changes to my blog.

  • http://www.sempris.be SEO Marketing Sempris

    Matt Cutt’s team likes to tweek and twist at the algorithm to use their valuable time wisely. That’s why SEO will never be boring.

  • http://www.diarywriter.com Koundeenya

    Google Penguin is also wild. It punishes nice blogs and encourages poor ones. We all know about the recent update. But anyways, we must keep it at a distance. Agree with your tips

  • http://www.vrdnik-smestaj.com Vrdnik apartmani

    Anyone knows what new Google penguin algorithm respects in SEO? Does links have value as it once had? What should be done to restore the position of sites on the results?

  • http://www.intenseblog.com Jenni Ray

    I released a free WordPress theme that everyone need to linkback to me when they use it, and will it hurt my website too? Something like “unnatural link scheme”?

  • http://blogaude.com Brian

    I have a links page on my website (French Holidays Aude) where I have quite a number of links to other sites. The page itself is actually PR2 and holds the afore mentioned links plus a few articles that will be of use to visitors.
    But it is clearly a resource page. I don’t really do reciprocal links on the page as such, although there may be some, but I do try and make most if not all the links relevant to travel. Today I received a request from one of the sites I was linked to asking me to remove the link to his site, which I did. He was concerned that as the link was on a links page that he would be being penalised due to Penguin.
    Surely though if the page is carrying PR2, and it has been higher, that shouldn’t really be a concern should it, or have I got it wrong?

  • http://www.best-condoms.org Pete

    Has anyone tried starting from scratch with a brand new site, after the hit?
    Should I use redirect 301 from the old website to new one or not?

  • http://www.unpoo.com UnPoo

    penguins, pandas, cats, unpoo ): , pigeons and I wonder what will happen the end of this business?

    • http://www.webmasterbulten.com Webmaster

      lol :)) very good

  • http://www.allhotelsinthailand.com All Hotels in Thailand

    It amazing for search engine. Thanks you for good stuff.

  • http://www.ellysdirectory.com/ Ellys Directory

    aw…meybe with this website directory is no more have value..T.T

  • Keroro

    can i have a full copy or list of google’s panda and penguin on email ? id like to read more about these guidelines.

  • http://www.toysdiscounts.com Baloon

    Matt Cutt’s team likes to tweek and twist at the algorithm to use their valuable time wisely. That’s why SEO will never be boring.

  • http://www.ehlinelaw.com Michael Ehline

    It seems to be a page only phenom. It also looks like Panda can really drag you down if you simply overuse just one KW. Anyone agree?

  • http://diwali2012.org Jeshal

    cool tips, very useful article to novice like me.
    thanks to you and to Matt Cutt’s team also.

  • http://golalaa.net joss

    yeah i just recently read article from google official blog that next upcoming update will be BIGGGGGGG so consider this as a warning and only follow guidelines of google itself :( but lets hope ALL LZZ WELL :D

  • http://freekaaoffer.com sujeet

    according to me penguin update is good for those who are not spammers like me i really appreciate this work of google. It will drive more clearity in search result.

  • http://www.pagalblogger.in Jim

    I will try to recover from Google Penguin update soon this year. It was very hard update by Google search engine.

  • http://www.gauryamunacity.org Neha

    Thanks for the new update for SEO..its really informative…Wonderfull…great..Thanx

  • http://www.patelssportscity.co.in/ Angelina

    Really great guidelines for us..thanks for awesum guideline and tips for seo job…wonderfull ..Informative..!!!!

  • http://www.justprop.com Neha

    awesum article…cut all the useless thing and you will be done .it will surely help many… thanks for the article…!!

  • http://www.ajnaraambrosia.co.in/ Angelina

    really informative article..great …!!keep rocking with good work…!!

  • http://www.mahagunmeadows.org sharma

    Thanks for the new update for SEO..its really informative…Wonderfull…great..Thanks…!!!

  • http://www.gauryamunacity.org sharma

    If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.”….it’s ok !

  • http://www.mahagunmeadows.org sharma

    I don’t really do reciprocal links on the page as such, although there may be some, but I do try and make most if not all the links relevant to travel. Today I received a request from one of the sites I was linked to asking me to remove the link to his site, which I did. He was concerned that as the link was on a links page that he would be being penalised due to Penguin.

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