How Will Google’s Penguin Affect Your Social Media Marketing Efforts?

How Will Googles Penguin Affect Your Social Media Marketing Efforts?Google continues its quest to provide searchers the most relevant results (and anger SEO and site managers who make a living avoiding these efforts) with its new Penguin update. And, just like the Panda update last year, people aren’t happy. Here’s what Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz (a premier SEO provider) has to say:

It’s done a nice job of waking up a lot of folks who never thought Google would take this type of aggressive, anti-manipulative action, but I think the execution’s actually somewhat less high quality than what Google usually rolls out (lots of search results that look very strange or clearly got worse, and plenty of sites that probably shouldn’t have been hit).

You can see more of what he has to say on the firm’s Google+ channel.

To understand the impact of Penguin, we need to look at how Google works – without all the technical stuff you’ll find on these other sites.

How Google Serves up Results to Users

As a user, you type in a search query into the Google search engine hoping to find something valuable — sources for that term paper you’re writing, that great pair of shoes you saw at Macy’s last week, or contact information for an old colleague. The web consists of billions of pages of content and adds a massive amount of content every day.

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Google knows you don’t want to sift through 1000′s of results possible — you want what you want. So, instead of acting like a huge library card catalog that serves up results in alphabetical order that means nothing to users, Google uses a complex algorithm containing over 200 different factors to filter the results for you. And, that’s how Google came from two guys working in their dorm room to a major, multi-billion dollar company. They do it better than anyone else.

Google needs to know a lot about a website so it can give you the BEST results to your search query. But, with such massive amounts of content added every day, Google uses automation to categorize (index) every page it finds. When the users types in their keywords (or key phrases) to find stuff, Google uses what it knows about the website to give the user what it thinks they want.

How Google Categorizes Website

Google spends a lot of time and money trying to understand what makes a website a “GOOD” website. First, Google looks for sites containing the keyword (or key phrase) you searched for. Sites that use this keyword frequently and feature it prominantly, get served up first. Google figures more recent information is better than old information, so it uses factors like how frequently the site is updated (which is why a blog is SO important to showing up in search results). Google also tries to assess the quality of the information, so it looks at whether other sites link to your website; assuming that if you’re posting quality stuff, other sites will want to reference your stuff. Social sharing and commenting also mean folks find your content valuable.

Now, Let’s Look at What Penguin Did

Although Google carefully guards it’s algorithm (and tweaks it all the time), SEO experts track how different sites perform to make educated guesses as to what’s included in the algorithm. SEO experts then manipulate the algorithm so their clients’ websites perform better than other websites. This helps their clients draw more traffic to their websites and more traffic translates into more sales.

Penguin (and several updates to Panda) attempts to “punish” efforts to manipulate it’s algorithm and ensure users are getting the best stuff when they search with Google. So, websites using the keyword in an artificial way got punished (by getting less traffic). The same with sites that traded links so they had a lot of links pointing to their sites, especially if the links come from outside your market niche. Posting duplicate content so you can easily publish content frequently gets punished.

How to Deal with Google’s Penguin Update

That means those spammy sites that steal great content from others are getting bit penalties. Sites that bought links or used artificial means to increase their perceived quality, get punished. Loading your site with “money” keywords gets you punished.

Hausman Marketing Letter actually did BETTER after the Penguin update. That’s because I keep content CLEARLY focused on my target audience and providing YOU with the BEST tips I find, analysis of marketing and social media trends, and expert advice to make your social media marketing efforts a success. In other words, I’ve always done exactly what Google wants — providing valuable, high quality information that folks are looking for.

Comments: 10

  • Kerry Dye says:

    I read this with interest, but I’m afraid that it failed to deliver on the promise of the headline because it didn’t tell me how my social media efforts will be changed as a result of Penguin.

    • Sorry, I guess I wasn’t clear on my recommendations. First, create great content and update it frequently. Second, don’t buy, trade, or otherwise solicite links. Earn you links naturally by creating great content, engaging with customers and other businesses in your niche, spread your content extensively through social media and through contacts. Third, use keyword research, but don’t overdo addiing keywords in your content. As long as the keywords appear natural, you shouldn’t be penalized. Also, change up your keywords, so you’re not using the same ones all the time and make sure they fit with the overal nature of your website.

      As I said, HML has improved with the new Penguin update — I’m getting about a third more traffic than normal because I NEVER bought into the artifiial SEO tactics that Google is now penalizing.

      I hope this more directly answers your question.

  • chris says:

    “So, websites using the keyword in an artificial way got punished…”

    What does that mean? What is considered an artificial use of a keyword?

  • I really liked your article. I know business’s spend tons of money to fool Google’s algorithms. I try to steer my clients away from doing this. In the long run, they will lose out. Google is just trying to produce results that are what their customers are searching for. I provide blog content for family law attorneys and believe in reaching their their audience through organic searches by providing relevant fresh and frequent content. I wrote an article that may be of interest to your readers. Hope it is okay to link my story.

  • You guess is as good as mine, Chris. No one really knows. Check out the Google blog. Also, as more information and testing becomes available, great SEO companies like SEOMoz and SearchEngineWatch will provide more detailed information.

    Mainly, when Google thinks about artificial usage of keywords they’re referring to overusing the keyword — keyword density. No one knows exactly how many is TOO many, but I stick with 4-6 per post. Fit is also important. If the keyword is just dropped in without an attempt to integrate it into the post, you’ll like feel the wrath of Google. Also, use variations of the keyword phrase in your post. That looks more natural to Google.

    I hope this helps. Thanks for asking.

  • matt says:

    Good stuff, with this latest update I think sites need to look at what they are doing and make sure they avoid any spammy tactics which is good for the end user.

  • jenny says:

    I think the seoer are worrying about their websites causing by the penguin, seo has became a big problem.
    I agree with your idea.

  • Nick says:

    If you are really so anti-spam, I suggest you take a harder line on some of your blog comments! If matt’s generic comment which he’s linking back to his site isn’t web spam, I don’t know what is…

  • The explanation on how Google ranks and categorizes sites was fantastic – very straight to the point and written for the “lowest common denominator.” And thanks for clarifying how social media can impact this new update in the comments. Like Kerry I was a bit confused about how social media played into it.

    Do you think meta-tag keyword stuffing would also be one of the things Google is cracking down on more with this new update?

  • ABCnumbersgame says:

    Yes, everybody…let’s do some good old Adwords!! ;)

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