If you have been working at an Internet business for a while now, then I probably don’t have to tell you that the only thing guaranteed is change. It’s inevitable, so we might as well accept it and keep an open mind.
For me, the lifestyle that my wife and I have obtained through working from home is worth putting up with the multitude of changes that have occurred over the 13 years. Now, I am not saying that I am always happy to see them, but I have accepted that it’s part of the Internet world. And the payoff surpasses the inconvenience of having to keep up with change.
We no longer have to worry about getting stuck in daily commutes to the office, or missing kid activities. In fact, we can help out with our new granddaughter during the day, and still enjoy a successful career. It’s because we are not tied to a 9-5 schedule and have the flexibility to work around our life, rather than our life worked in around our job.
But, if you have been at this for as long as I have, you probably already know this. Whether you are a blogger, affiliate marketer, or sell retail online, you know the benefits outweigh the inconvenience of the many changes we have all seen, including the latest…Google’s Penguin.
Let’s take a look at this latest change and what you need to do to survive it.
1. Penguin is not Panda in Disguise
On April 24 of this year, Google launched Penguin, their latest algorithm. Not to be confused with Panda, which focuses on poor quality content, Penguin was designed to target spam.
Panda will nail your site if it has poor quality content, even though it’s not spam. In other words, if your content is loaded with keywords, or is ‘thin’ in substance, it’s not necessarily spam. But, Google doesn’t like low quality content either, regardless of your intent.
I have been in the world of affiliate marketing since 1999, and have gone through many changes the Internet has thrown us since then. Google was barely off the starting block at that time. I knew more about WebCrawler, Excite, and AltaVista.
However, Google’s dominance in the Internet world now is obvious, and has been for over a decade. So, when they make changes, I want to know as much about the change as possible.
2. Penguins’ Primary Goal
Penguin’s ultimate goal is to target pages of content that are spamming Google, primarily through backlinking. This latest salvo has targeted the low (or no) quality blogging networks that, for example, have been designed to ‘sell’ backlinks to webmasters looking to increase Google rankings.
As crazy as it sounds, some ‘networks’ consist of 2,000 to 3,000 WordPress sites. Management of these networks purposely set up these sites with several different server locations, IP addresses, and names. Their goal is to trick Google into thinking they are not the same entity.
They then set forth in selling subscriptions and links, so they can load an overwhelming amount of articles to their varied sites. Unfortunately, it seems they dropped the ball in terms of quality, instead focusing on quality and profits.
Google is highly protective of their algorithm, and it seems they are targeting, and in some cases, delisting and removing these sites from the BIG Google search results entirely.
In turn, those receiving ranking ‘benefits’ links from these types may be seeing major drops in ranking, all thanks to Penguin.
3. The Impact of Penguin on Your Website
The bad news is that Penguin won’t interpret your intent. You might not have any intent in participating in these backlinking schemes, but might be receiving links from them anyway.
It seems to me that “Penguin” is taking out the blogging networks and other SPAM content containing backlinks. Needless to say, it’s more important than ever that our inbound links (aka “Backlinks”) are embedded within quality content.
In contrast, Panda is focused on low quality content, whereas Penguin is focused on pages that are spamming Google.
4. The Necessary Steps
Unlike Panda, Penguin is an algorithm, without any human element in the detection process. If your site has been flagged, that is actually good news for you then, as the penalty could be temporary …if you do some work on your site (and clean up the offending backlinks).
As troublesome and time consuming as it is, you will need to remove as many of the incoming spam links to your site as possible. While it can be a real pain to do that, it should pay off in the end.
Matt Cutts, from Google, states that once the characteristics are removed that caused the flagging in the first place, your page will be re-indexed. At that point, your page will pop up again, and start increasing in its ranking.
Removing the spam links is up to you. Then, let Google do its job in getting it back up and functioning the way it should.
5. Protect Yourself from Further Incidents
In addition to removing the links, you need to focus on making sure your new backlinks are embedded within quality content on quality sites. Make sure it’s relevant to where it sits, and not stuffed with keywords and phrases. Here’s 4-things what to avoid:
1.) Article directories
2.) Blog networks
3.) Footer and sidebar links
4.) Crappy content
If you want to know where you stand with Google, check your traffic activity. A significant drop after April 24th would indicate a problem (but you probably already know that). I suggest that you simply clean it up and avoid the list above.
If you continue to focus on quality content and take the efforts to be careful of how you are linked, you should be fine. Google’s intent is to improve our business, not hinder it. By weeding out the spam, those of us with legitimate businesses will benefit.
About the Author
Starting back in 1999, James Martell has enjoyed a successful career in affiliate marketing. He and his wife Arlene have taught others make money with affiliate marketing through various methods, such as speaking engagements, eBooks, seminars, and podcasts, including the 1st ever, and longest running, in the affiliate marketing industry called the “Affiliate Buzz” in early 2003. James and Arlene reside in a seaside community in Vancouver, and enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren.