Duane Forrester (often thought of as Bing’s Matt Cutts) has offered some tips for recovering from Google’s Penguin and Panda updates, or at least avoiding getting hit by them. While he never mentions “Google” in the post, the post is titled “Penguins & Pandas Poetry,” and is largely about diversifying your traffic sources.
“Seriously folks, if you want to lay a smack down on the animal kingdom that’s taken over your life, you can do it,” he writes. “Get the basics covered, leverage your unique strengths (or create new ones) and focus, like a laser, on the single thing that matters most: your visitors. Get religion on this point and never let go. The engines are very focused on those visitors: what they like, what they dislike, what they click on and what they avoid. We’re watching them closely so we can learn what they want and bring exactly that to them every time. You should be, too.”
Forrester talks about anticipating change, because algorithms and rankings change all the time.
“If your plan was to make sure your content ranked well across all the major engines, then your plan of action would already be in effect, protecting you from the loss in one area,” he writes. “True, its not an offset that matches what could potentially be lost at the same level, but the option is losing everything and having nothing suddenly.”
He talks about “preventative work,” or taking care “all those projects you know should be done,” as well as doing “the obvious,” which apparently includes using Pinterest. He also lists the following as “other obvious stuff”:
- Do you have a webmaster account activated at the engines?
- How’s your robots.txt file doing? Blocking the right stuff?
- Got clean sitemaps?
- Still have duplicate content issues?
- Have you integrated social sharing features across your site?
- Got the best practices of SEO covered (remember, we like SEO…)
- …and the list goes on.
I’m going to suggest that you also take a long, hard look at Google’s quality guidelines, if you were hit by Penguin. If you were hit by Panda, you should analyze this list of questions Google put out last year.
Remember, Penguin and Panda will both be returning on an ongoing basis.