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Is It Actually Possible To Recover A Website Hit By Penguin?

Penguin

Penguin (Photo credit: jaci XIII)

Just in case you haven’t been paying attention, there was a Google update named Penguin that was released a short time ago. This update was part of Google’s aggressive campaign to put a stop to SEO marketing techniques that were used to manipulate Google search rankings.

 

While Penguin didn’t quite catch every site that used SEO, it caught enough that quite a few sites saw their Google search rankings plummet. This event caused a bit of a panic in the SEO industry and there were a lot of people who claimed that Penguin was the death of SEO.

 

Google Only Wants to Help

 

While this feeling is understandable, the fact is that Google isn’t at war with SEO, they simply want people to follow practices that are designed to keep Google search results relevant. For Google to remain the dominant search engine on the internet, it has to make sure that the search results are as accurate as possible. While some people in the SEO industry decry Google’s release of the Penguin update, what they don’t realize is that SEO is not dead.

 

Google could not survive without the actions of the SEO industry and they know it. The release of Penguin wasn’t about stopping SEO as much as it was about returning relevance to their search rankings. What Google wanted to get rid of were sites that were simply piles of keywords that had no real relevance to the search terms and this is exactly what Penguin did.

 

Keyword Stacking is the Enemy

 

While Google wanted to get rid of sites that were simply stack upon stack of keywords, Penguin did snag quite a few legitimate sites as well. It was these sites losing their hard earned ranking overnight that led to the panic in the SEO industry and left many of us wondering if SEO was no longer a legitimate marketing technique.

 

The answer is that SEO is still just as valid as it ever was but that it has to be done according to Google’s best practices. While this means the days of keyword stacked sites are probably gone for good, this actually presents a new opportunity for the SEO industry and the people who rely on those techniques to compete with the massive websites like Amazon.

 

Study Google Harder for Recovery

 

If your site was one of the many sites hit by Penguin, then you need to take a look at how Google wants you to work. Read their best practices and get to know what it is they are looking for. Google doesn’t have a problem with SEO, they just don’t want it to affect their search result relevance. While this means that we all have to learn a different way of using SEO, it does not mean you can’t still use it.

 

The principals behind SEO are still the same, but in order to achieve and maintain a high ranking on Google you have to follow their best practice guidelines. The great thing about this (and yes there is a big upside) is that if you read those best practice guidelines you can learn everything you need to know about how to get a high ranking.

 

 

Sally Frain is a website designer and freelance writer who has studied much about Google and Penguin. She has worked with many to make a website recover from this update and get back to where they were, and in many instances better.

 

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Improving “Best Practices”

Although I know we need to employ “Best Practices” when possible, I have always hated that tow-word phrase.  Why?  Well how the heck can something be a “best practice” – if its the best then how could it ever be beaten…it is like the word impossible, man I hate that word too.

Anyway – a recent post from Signal vs. Noise shed some light on how this can be a very poor idea, to always follow these so-called best practices.  It lends itself to improving “best practices” and breaking the norm, or at least refactoring it.

The post is called “How ‘The Fighter’ shot 35 days worth of fight scenes in only three days” and goes on to tell the story of the recent movie the fighter and how they basically took 3 days and held “actual” fights to record the ring scenes with multiple cameras.  They said:

“…how all the fight scenes were filmed with an actual HBO fight crew. He mentions that going this route allowed them to shoot these scenes in a fraction of the time it usually takes.”

This makes total sense – I mean, why do in 35 days (which is how long a ‘normal’ Hollywood fight scene takes) and drag it out…HBO only has one chance to record the fight scenes they put on their network and people seem to enjoy it.

How does this relate to technology?

Its a perfect match in my mind…there are absolutely things we need to do each time we build a site, or market a product or talk to a customer.  Those are tried and true – but what are the things we are doing which seem laborious and how can we find matches in the ecosystem which can improve our process and look to other arenas for inspiration?

The one motto I try to look to when I am trying to decide which ‘way’ is better than another…is one of simplicity – the simple solution, in my opinion, is often times best solution.  Less moving parts will be less burden and cause less maintenance than a complicated series of ‘moving parts’ and processes.

Take a look around – what can you simplify?  How many wheels are you greasing each day?  How can you fix them?

The good kind of Fail

EPIC FAIL.
Image by locusolus via Flickr

Some say the only kind of fail that is bad, is to not fail at all.  I had saved this post from unstructuredadventures for a while – and now seems like a great time to pull it out.  It’s called “How to fail: 25 secrets learned through failure” and it is GOOD!

As I was reading, I really wanted to put them all down in my highlights…but I settled on these.  They are my favorites considering the current climate I work in.  But they may be different for you, Taylor Davidson is the author and he kind of puts up the “normal” analogy and then tells you what we should be looking at “instead”.

5. Solve your problems.
Instead: Solve their problems.

Tom’s comment:  How true.  How many times are we looking to fix our issue or increase our revenue.  That will last only as long as WE want it to.  When we give up passion – the idea will wither.

6. Focus on the long-term.
Instead: Focus on the short-term.

Tom’s comment:  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve built a process/data manipulation/system which took longer to build than the project actually lasted.  It gets you down.

7. Build prototypes, mockups and samples.
Instead: Start building in a format and medium as close to the finished product as possible, and iterate, iterate, iterate.

Tom’s comment:  Guilty as charged.  :)

15. “We can build a successful business by capturing just X% of the market.”
Instead: Sell to one customer. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Tom’s comment:  How many times are decisions made for a huge group.  If we went out and solved an issue for one mom, student or business owner – then repeated.  How would that change the outcome?

19. Hire resumes.
Instead: Hire people: curiosity, passion, interpersonal skills and drive.

Tom’s comment:  I’m a gut feel kind of guy.  So this is a no-brainer to me, the smartest person who cannot function on a team will ruin us all.

22. Meet to discuss.
Instead: Meet to decide.

Tom’s comment:  This hit me like a ton of bricks.  Wow, how many times have I facilitated a meeting which resulted in discussion – when it could have been decision!

Please take a look at the full post, there are 19 more which are as good as these.  If you have more – please share.

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