How to Kill Pandas and Penguins but NOT People
This post is not about killing cute animals. In search a Panda and a Penguin are different types of Google updates or rather penalties. In case you own a website or two I will help you deal with those later on the post.
When I first started collecting material about SEO 2.0 and what it might be about I had no real idea on my mind yet. It was just a set of techniques I recognized as the new SEO vs the old one.
Over the years it became more and more clear that SEO 2.0 is about people.
Now isn’t that what Google told us all long you might ask? Didn’t they always preach to optimize for searchers not search engines? Yes, they did, but that’s not SEO 2.0 yet. That’s what Google wants from us, give Google all your great content for free to monetize etc. People out there do not want to read dozens of essay-like articles on SEO each day.
People want quick fixes. People don’t want to read the history of the Panda and Penguin updates in 10 chapters
they want to get right down to the nitty-gritty and get straightforward actionable advice. People out there want get the 5 step plan to for your Google Panda and Penguin issues. You just need to compare the numbers of what gets shared from your blog with what your subscribers read. Your returning visitors really care about your writings and really read your advice. People who share may not. I often share stuff that I don’t use myself because I know that it rocks and that other people can make use of it.
Your real audience, the actual people who will follow your advice are often NOT the people who share your content on the Web.
These people are far too busy studying your advice and attempting to follow it. Some of them may comment when they stumble while trying. The sharing happens elsewhere. That’s not the main topic today. Today I will devise the 5 step plan to deal with a Panda and Penguin penalty.
I’ve seen and worked on sites hit by both Panda and Penguin penalties and I even mean sites hit by both updates, first Panda and then also Penguin. So let’s start with the simple 5 step plan to kill Pandas and then take a look at the Penguin plan below.
BTW: the plan itself is simple the things you have to do are not, they are pretty tedious and require both time and effort. Ideally you also have someone with the expertise to implement that plan.
Review every single piece of content on your site. In case you don’t know what content is or don’t have it at all provide content. Nowadays you have to. Delete completely outdated articles. Enrich shallow articles (add resources, images, expert opinions, outgoing links, a stance). Fix and update the remaining articles, check outbound links, whether what you’ve written still applies.
Provide new quality content from industry experts or at least gifted writers. I have written numerous postings on what quality, killer or flagship content is, so please peruse my blog and use the search box.
Check your site for duplicate content both onsite and off. Are other sites ranking with your content? Just search for your headlines to find out. In case they do, fight the copycats with take down requests and make sure your content gets recognized as the original source by using XML sitemaps, authorship markup, sharing content right after publication while postponing the publication of your RSS feed for half an hour so that scrapers don’t get it first.
Are you indexed with the same content more than once on Google? Check by using the “site: ” search on Google. Make sure that there is just one URL per content piece. Clean your URLs. Something like site.com/content.php and site.com/content.php?ref=x can already lead to duplicate content issues.
Change your business model from providing cheap keyword-rich fodder for search engines to providing valuable insights and resources for people. I know it’s difficult. I had to ban Google search on this blog right here to learn it again.
Be human. When writing use metaphors and real language not just keyword gibberish. Practice social networking with real people, don’t just exchange links. Link out (low quality sites do not link out to others). I could go on, but my blog is full of such techniques so just read my other articles on improving your site so that people love it.
Check every single link that leads to your site. Does it have artificial anchor text like [best seo company india]? Do you have site-wide links from domains that link to you thousands of times because of this? Do people link to you in their footers? Do sites link to you as partners or sponsors without using a nofollow “link condom”? Do you have bought one of those miraculous “SEO services” promising 10k comment links for 19$? Do low quality, ugly, empty, outdated sites link to you? Remove, fix, disavow all the links that look strange.
Brand yourself and your links. Make sure that people know your name, brand name and the names of your products. Make them use those names. Just look up how people link to Amazon (hint: amazon amazon.com, www.amazon.com are the most common anchor texts).
Provide incentives for people to link to you of their own accord. Blog regularly. Create flagship content people would like to share. Make something happen and write about it or let others spread the word. This might be charity or a give away or a real life event.
Reach out to people. Provide customer service on social media. Answer questions on social media sites. Be helpful. No man is an island. Connect with like-minded individuals and businesses, they are not your competitors. They are your colleagues. Share their content. Compliment them on their achievements. Ask them for their opinions. Publish articles about your colleagues, by them or featuring them. Make sure you get recognized in your area, niche or industry.
Become an avid community member. Join a forum, a niche social news site, a trade association. Meet your peers in real life. Use your real name and brand wherever you can. Make yourself an ambassador for your business. In case you don’t know how, learn from Lee Odden.
As you see some of the techniques are more or less the same to fight both Pandas and Penguins. Also done right they will make you popular among people. Ideally the people will flock to your site directly instead of by proxy of using the search box in Google. Than you have succeeded. Make sure not to kill people along the way though.
Some people will brag how big experts they are, they will make others in their industry look stupid, they will bash things and other people, they will create attention bombs to become well known over night.
You don’t want to gain notoriety, you want to collect true fans and brand evangelists. You don’t need huge traffic, you need real dedicated people to visit you. Implement quick fixes but don’t go after quick wins. SEO 2.0 is a marathon not a sprint.
* Creative Commons image by Martin Fish.