After Panda struck terror in the hearts of webmasters, now it’s Penguin’s turn. Online forums are literally afire with posts about how webmasters are not taking to Google’s Penguin as they did with the tap dancing Happy Feet.
It is understandable that Google wants to continually improve the search results for its users, but each time there is an algorithm update, the webmasters take a beating when the changes affect their hitherto well-performing websites. Judging from the forums, Penguin has not left as fierce a trail of destruction as Panda had, nonetheless many webmasters seem to have been affected.
Even those websites that do everything by the book have been hit. But it is all part of the game as far as Google is concerned.
Penguin algorithm update targets webspam. You may think that you are not doing anything to create webspam and from your perspective you may be right, but nobody really knows what Google’s definition of webspam is. This may perhaps be the reason why even many good quality websites were hit by Penguin.
This is what Google says about its Penguin update: “The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines. We’ve always targeted webspam in our rankings, and this algorithm represents another improvement in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content. While we can't divulge specific signals because we don't want to give people a way to game our search results and worsen the experience for users, our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics.”
For those who have been hit badly by Penguin, we go back to the same old Internet marketing fundamentals: Never rely solely on search engines, or a single search engine. Search engines may be the most obvious way that new customers find out about your business, but there are also other methods such as print and TV advertising, word of mouth, web directories, forum discussions etc.
These other methods in fact create a stronger and more stable online presence for your business. So unless you are someone who relies solely on Adwords to pay your bills, you must start looking at drawing in traffic from sources other than Google. Don’t neglect optimizing for search engines, do the basic stuff and also concentrate on alternate marketing practices.
When you don’t depend entirely on search traffic brought in by Google, you can take any hit by any algorithm change. With the changes your rankings may slip for a while, but your business will not take a nosedive just because Google stops sending you traffic. You will have enough traffic and/or customers coming in from other sources, while you concentrate on cleaning up the mess left behind by pandas and penguins.