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Google Penguin Update: Is Your Site Ready?


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The next Google update, Penguin, has been a hot topic for search marketers and there has been much anticipation of its launch. Google recently announced that Penguin will launch “as soon as it’s ready,” but remains vague on the specific timing. So what does that mean for marketers and what should they do now?

Merove Heifetz, Associate Director of SEO & Digital Strategy and Bonnie Herman, Senior Account Manager of SEO & Digital Strategy will discuss what the Penguin update may entail, how to prepare your site and why it’s so important.

In this webinar you will learn:
• What you need to know about the upcoming Penguin update
• What necessary steps to take to prepare your website for Penguin
• How to identify if your site has been negatively impacted
• How to manage the negative impacts on your website

Published in: Marketing
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Google Penguin Update: Is Your Site Ready?

  1. 1. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins GOOGLE PENGUIN UPDATE: IS YOUR SITE READY? MEROVE HEIFETZ & BONNIE HERMAN MARCH 23, 2016
  2. 2. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins INTRODUCTIONS 2
  3. 3. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins TODAY’S AGENDA • Google Algorithm Updates: Background • Penguin:What Is It,Why Is It Important & When Is It Coming? • HowToTell IfYour Site Is Impacted • HowTo Prep for Penguin and/or Combat Its Impact • More Recent Google Updates: RankBrain, AMP & Mobilegeddon 3
  4. 4. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins 4 64%21% 12% 3% Google Bing Yahoo Other (AOL, Ask) *comScore SEARCH ENGINE MARKET SHARE (FEB 2016*) GOOGLE ALGORITHM UPDATES: BACKGROUND
  5. 5. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins GOOGLE ALGORITHM UPDATES: BACKGROUND • Google’s focus is on delivering the highest quality content to users. • Updates to Google’s algorithm happen 500 – 600 times a year, some reports note up to 2000 times per year! • Most changes are very minor – public will not notice. • Major updates that impact search: 5
  6. 6. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins MAJOR GOOGLE ALGORITHM UPDATES PANDA & PENGUIN 6
  7. 7. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins MAJOR ALGORITHM UPDATE: PANDA • Initially released February 2011. • Importance: Seeks to reward sites with higher quality and valuable content and results in down-ranking of pages that are considered low quality. • Penalizes websites with: • Low quality content • Duplicate, thin or poorly-written content • Keyword stuffing • Off-topic content 7
  8. 8. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins HAVE YOU BEEN PENALIZED BY PANDA? Look for sudden drops in organic traffic & organic keyword positions around the time when previous updates have occurred. 8
  9. 9. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins 9 HAVE YOU BEEN PENALIZED BY PANDA?
  10. 10. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins “ RECENT PANDA CORE ALGORITHM UPDATE Panda is an algorithm that’s applied to sites overall and has become one of our core ranking signals. It measures the quality of a site, which you can read more about in our guidelines. Panda allows Google to take quality into account and adjust ranking accordingly. JANUARY 12, 2016: GOOGLE OFFICIALLY CONFIRMED THAT PANDA IS NOW PART OF THE CORE RANKING ALGORITHM. 10
  11. 11. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins 11 • We will never see another Panda update like we have in the past because it will run with Google’s main core algorithm. • Websites with low-quality content now have an ongoing risk of being impacted. • Quality, unique content continues to be extremely important - both technical SEO and on-page content for the user. • Note: This is important for both your own site AND your content on third-party sites like Amazon, Walmart & external blogs. RECENT PANDA CORE ALGORITHM UPDATE
  12. 12. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins MAJOR ALGORITHM UPDATE: PENGUIN • Initially released April 2012. • Importance: Seeks to reward quality websites and penalize sites using black hat or “over optimization” techniques. Primary focus is on link quality. • Penalizes websites with: • Spammy link profiles (links from “bad neighborhoods”) • Off-topic link profiles • Overly optimized anchor text links • Keyword stuffing • Forum spam (linking from comments) • Paid or Sponsored Links 12
  13. 13. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins MAJOR ALGORITHM UPDATE: PENGUIN PENALIZES: SPAMMY LINK PROFILES Links from “bad neighborhoods” or spammy websites linking to your websiteAvoid links from “Bad PPC” websites: Pills, Porn and Casinos 13
  14. 14. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins MAJOR ALGORITHM UPDATE: PENGUIN PENALIZES: OFF-TOPIC LINK PROFILES Off-topic links are when sites that are unrelated to you are linking to your site. YOUR WEBSITE Topic cars (example) Linked Site 1. Topic Travel Linked Site 2. Topic Food Linked Site 3. Topic Health Blog Linked Site 4. Topic Hair Styles Linked Site 5. Topic Viagra Linked Site 6. Topic Insurance 14
  15. 15. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins MAJOR ALGORITHM UPDATE: PENGUIN PENALIZES: OVERLY OPTIMIZED ANCHOR TEXT LINKS Roughly 80% of the anchor text of your links should be your brand name or the website URL 15
  16. 16. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins MAJOR ALGORITHM UPDATE: PENGUIN PENALIZES: KEYWORD STUFFING "Keyword stuffing" refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site's ranking in Google search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group, or out of context (not as natural prose). 16
  17. 17. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins MAJOR ALGORITHM UPDATE: PENGUIN PENALIZES: FORUM SPAM Unrelated links with optimized anchor text found on forums 17
  18. 18. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins MAJOR ALGORITHM UPDATE: PENGUIN PENALIZES: PAID OR SPONSORED LINKS Buying or selling links that pass PageRank or “link juice.” This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links. This does not include paid ads like Google AdWords, content syndication through tools like OutBrain or affiliate marketing links. 18
  19. 19. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins MAJOR ALGORITHM UPDATE: PENGUIN WHEN IS IT COMING? • Last updates: • Penguin Everflux - December 2014 Google announces continuous Penguin updates going forward (Search Engine Land) • Penguin 3.0 – October 2014 • Next major update: Penguin 4.0:??? 19
  20. 20. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins 20 MAJOR ALGORITHM UPDATE: PENGUIN WHEN IS IT COMING?
  21. 21. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins MAJOR ALGORITHM UPDATE: PENGUIN ACCELERATION PARTNERS’ HYPOTHESIS Given Panda’s integration into the core algorithm, it’s likely that Penguin will be integrated within the core algorithm at some point, too. 21
  22. 22. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins HAVE YOU BEEN PENALIZED BY PENGUIN? We don’t know what impact Penguin 4.0 will have – it may be a one-time filter like it was in 2012 & 2013 or it may be an ongoing update like the recent Panda update to the core algorithm. 22
  23. 23. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins HOW TO PREPARE FOR PENGUIN Your site can potentially benefit from the next Penguin update if you follow best practices before it launches: TOOLS Use a variety of tools to check your backlink profile – we will note some options in a moment. ANCHOR TEXT DISTRIBUTION Vary your anchor text keywords to make sure most are branded or URL. MONITOR BACKLINKS Look for sudden spikes or anything out of the ordinary. 23
  24. 24. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins 24 HOW TO PREPARE FOR PENGUIN
  25. 25. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins FREE SEO TOOLS HOW TO PREPARE FOR PENGUIN 25
  27. 27. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins DISAVOW LINKS For the super spammy links you cannot remove, disavow the links in Google Search Console. It’s absolutely critical to follow Google’s disavow directions exactly, or you can do some damage. BUILD AUTHORITATIVE LINKS Combat the negative impacts of negative links with gaining positive ones –those that are highly relevant from sites that have higher domain authority than your own site. OPTIMIZE INTERNAL LINKS Make sure that your internal links flow in a natural way. Add related products to product pages, maintain as much of a hierarchy as possible, use canonicals. HOW TO PREPARE FOR PENGUIN 27
  28. 28. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins COMPETITOR BACKLINK ANALYSIS One of the best places to find relevant, strong inbound links is by looking at the backlink profiles of your competition. Use Moz’s Open Site Explorer. CITATION MANAGEMENT On a weekly basis, check the web mentions of the brand to ensure that all citations are linking to the website. Use Moz’s Fresh Web Mentions. 28 BUILDING LINKS NATURALLY HOW TO PREPARE FOR PENGUIN
  29. 29. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins OVERALL TAKEAWAY Your website will be re-evaluated by Google when the next Penguin update hits. Your site may potentially benefit from the next Penguin update: • If you have been consistently monitoring your backlink profile and following best practices and white hat techniques. OR • If you have recently addressed negative backlink issues (in advance of the update). Your site may be penalized if you have negative backlink issues that aren’t addressed… HOW TO PREPARE FOR PENGUIN 29
  30. 30. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins MORE RECENT UPDATES FROM GOOGLE: RANKBRAIN, AMP & MOBILEGEDDON 30
  31. 31. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins GOOGLE RANKBRAIN • Rankbrain, which was rolled out in early 2015, is Google’s name for a machine-learning artificial intelligence system that’s used to help process its search results. • It is part of Google’s overall search algorithm. • Machine learning is where a computer teaches itself how to do something, rather than being taught by humans or following detailed programming. 31
  32. 32. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins GOOGLE RANKBRAIN • RankBrain is the third-most important factor for ranking web pages (according to Google). Although Google won’t tell us what the first two factors are, people speculate that links are number one and content is number two. • What does it do? Everyday, 15% of queries are ones that Google has never seen before. That is 450 million new searches a day. • Among those searches can be complex long-tail queries. RankBrain is designed to help better interpret those queries and effectively translate them, behind the scenes, to find the best pages for the searcher. 32
  33. 33. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins GOOGLE RANKBRAIN WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR SEO? • There is no affect on crawling nor indexing of websites. • RankBrain may weigh existing algorithm signals differently. • RankBrain is so complex, Google has said they don’t fully understand how it works. • More information: the-new-google-rankbrain-algorithm-234440 33
  34. 34. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins ACCELERATED MOBILE PAGES: AMP • Officially launched on Feb. 23, 2016. • A Google-backed project intended as an open standard for any publisher to have pages load quickly on mobile devices. • Supported by Twitter, WordPress and other publishers. • WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR SEO? Google will be encouraging its use by integrating it heavily into its platform - websites using AMP will see a ranking boost as early as May. 34
  35. 35. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins ACCELERATED MOBILE PAGES: AMP Currently, there is a green lightning bolt next to AMP pages on the SERPs. 35
  36. 36. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins HELPFUL AMP RESOURCES 36
  37. 37. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins MOBILEGEDDON…AGAIN! 37 • Initially released April 2015. • Importance: Rewards mobile-friendly websites and penalizes mobile unfriendly websites. • Up next: May 2016 • Google: “…beginning in May, we’ll start rolling out an update to mobile search results that increases the effect of the ranking signal to help our users find even more pages that are relevant and mobile-friendly.” • Is your website mobile-friendly? Check here:
  38. 38. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins OVERALL TAKEAWAY Your website will succeed if you consistently produce high- quality content that addresses your users and searchers needs, which in turn will inspire high-quality and relevant backlinks. Spammy or black hat techniques will backfire! GOOGLE ALGORITHM UPDATES 38
  39. 39. @accelerationpar #freethepenguins ARTICLES • Search Engine Land How to Get Started with AMP • SEO Roundtable AMP is Live • Search Engine Land FAQs About RankBrain • Moz Major Google Algorithm Changes • Search Engine Land Penguin Shift Continuous Updates TOOLS • AMP Project How To Get Started with AMP • Google Mobile Friendly Test • Moz Mozcast RESOURCES 39
  40. 40. @accelerationpar #freethepenguinsBoston 617.963.083 9 New York 646.664.103 6 San Francisco 415.523.039 Chicago 312.973.386 4 QUESTIONS? MEROVE HEIFETZ Associate Director, SEO & Digital Strategy m BONNIE HERMAN Senior Account Manager, SEO & Digital Strategy bherman@accelerationpartners.c om 40
  41. 41. @accelerationpar #freethepenguinsBoston 617.963.083 9 New York 646.664.103 6 San Francisco 415.523.039 Chicago 312.973.386 4 THANK YOU! 41 Visit the Acceleration Partners blog for more tips on SEO, User Experience, Site Strategy, Paid Marketing & Affiliate Marketing: