I like Penguins as much as the next guy, but make sure to watch out for Google’s new Penguin update. If you’ve been doing anything fishy (pun intended) to try and take advantage of your site’s Google ranking, it could come back and bite you. You may not necessarily be doing anything “fishy”, but you might be over-optimizing your site with excessive on-page and off-page SEO factors. With the Penguin update in mind, here are two of the main things you can do to avoid getting dinged by Google:
1.) Quality Content – You hear this from me time and time again, but quality content is king. Don’t over-optimize every on-page element with the keywords you’re targeting and certainly don’t stuff your content with those keywords. Just focus on writing great content people will want to read. People will come!
2.) Quality Link Building – I get emails everyday about how I can get thousands of “white hat” back links for $99. I have news for those people; even if those were once considered white hat links, the Penguin update 100% officially nixes these linking schemes. Avoid these schemes at all costs! Any tactics that involve grabbing tons of back links to manipulate page rank are a bad idea and simply a waste of money. Take your time building quality back links with other web sites you can build 1-on-1 strategic partnerships with.
Even if you’re doing SEO by the book, something kind of scary about the Penguin update is Negative SEO. You can avoid linking schemes, but there have been stories of competing sites using linking schemes with their competitor’s websites. Their hope is that their competitor is caught by Google and penalized in their rankings. To keep an eye on this, I highly suggest using Google Analytics to see where your traffic is coming from and Google Webmaster Tools to see which sites are linking to you.