One of my favorite pictures online is of a sticky note with the message, “If ‘PLAN A’ didn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters. Stay cool!” This is certainly how I felt after Google released Penguin 2.0 and my rankings took my site from hero to zero overnight.
That’s because Penguin 2.0 was designed to reward websites that followed Google’s SEO guidelines, and penalize the ones that strayed. Unbeknownst to me, my website was contributing to web spam!
While many small to medium sized businesses were helped by the update, sites like mine saw a drop in rank. Somehow I had escaped detection by earlier versions of Penguin. This made me feel even worse about the issue.
So when I found out I was part of the problem, I turned feelings of panic into progress and immediately began researching how I could become part of the solution instead. I started by putting my current webmaster on hold and taking my site’s SEO into my own hands.
Digging Yourself Out of the Bottom Rankings
The announcement of impending web changes often turns webmasters inside out with frustration, and that’s before hearing the nitty-gritty details. Hearing about Penguin 2.0 was no different, but a lot of people saw no change in their websites at all. These were the people whose websites met Google guidelines.
If Penguin 2.0 had the same effect on your website as it did mine, then here are some steps you can take to start pulling yourself back up to the top of the rankings again. It will take time and patience, but in the end you will be glad you took these steps.
First of all, don’t panic. When you see your rankings fall, you feel your heart fall into your stomach. Is all that hard work really down the drain? Of course it is not! Let the other sites panic and throw in the towel, but slow and steady does win the SEO race, in most cases.
Secondly, think long-term. While it is absolutely true that things can change overnight (Just consider the fate of Google’s Affiliate Network!) some things remain the same, like publishing fresh content that links organically. These are both qualities of a great website!
Third, stay active on social media networks. More people than ever are using mobile devices to stay connected to their social media networks, like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and a plethora of other online communities. The best way to reach people on the go is to stay connected to social media.
Fourth, do away with crooked SEO practices like keyword stuffing, content spinning, and other things that Google frowns upon. The quicker you follow Google’s guidelines, the quicker your rankings will head back up to the top of the search engine listings.
Rebuilding Your Website to Regain Your Rankings
Google is continually changing and adapting to try and provide the best results possible in regards to search engine rankings. The best way to appear at the top of those rankings is by placing relevant keywords in fresh content that reads naturally.
Once you get rid of the suspicious SEO practices that destroyed your rankings with the release of Google’s Penguin 2.0 then it’s time to start rebuilding. Although your rankings might seem to have dropped overnight, it will take time to see progress so be patient.
Use the time in between to do things like sign up for social media networks that you previously overlooked. One network that webmasters overlook is Google Plus local, formerly called Google Places. This branch of Google not only allows you to utilize SEO in a new way, but also helps people find your business.
When setting up a Google Plus local account, be sure that you put the keyword in the title of the Google page as well as the description and category. However you should change it up slightly. For example if the keyword is “Seattle dog walkers” then in the category a better choice is “pet professionals”.
Penguin 2.0 is Google’s way of tightening the algorithm to cut back on web spam. If you were hit by the new release, focus on the positive aspect of the situation. Use this as a learning experience and tread lightly into the future, staying within Google’s guidelines.
About the Author
Colorado freelancer Benjamin Baker is addicted to two things – writing and spending time with his family. A regular research hound, he used sites like www.tvsinternetmarketing.com to fact-check when writing his current series of articles about Google Penguin. In his free time he enjoys camping, fly fishing, and checking out junk yards with his sons.