What is all the fuss about with “Penguin”, Google’s new search algorithm site ranking update? In short, it exposes the flaws that are bound to result whenever a formulaic or artificial approach is taken to optimize visibility and site rankings of a website based on known aspects of Googles search engine algorithm. In other words, Google is penalizing people who are using tricks to improve their site rankings.
To be more specific, the Penguin update penalized sites that over emphasized links of one form or another, particularly those who tied links to key words in an effort to “trick” Google search engines. The goal of the Penguin update was to demote the ranking of sites that were using unnatural links to boost their site rankings in Google searches.
Thus, sites that were using things like paid text links with exact match text, comment spam with exact match anchor text embedded, and low quality content, either from questionable guest posters or via links to sites marketing articles on the cheap with (again) exact match anchor text links – either disappeared from searches, or dropped dramatically. As it should be.
However, there were plenty of legitimate and small sites that weren’t quite so overt in their intent to leverage the former search algorithm, but were nonetheless hurt by the change because they emphasized one form of link or another to a degree that make them suspicious, especially if they weren’t sophisticated enough to use anything other than an exact match anchor text link.
As should be clear from the explanation above, one of the results of Penguin is that it tends to interpret a lack of variety in the type of links on a site as an attempt to manipulate its searching function.
The long term cure is the same as it has always been, to create a site with relevant, original, interesting and regularly updated content with authentic links to related content. And part of that is to make sure you mix up the various types of links that are found on your site. (If you aren’t using SEO tactics and are growing your site rankings naturally through a variety of marketing methods, you won’t have to worry about this).
There are four basic types of links:
Exact Match Links – these are where the anchor text is the same as the link text and is the exact keyword phrase you are optimizing your site for. For example, if I’m optimizing my site ranking for “Truckee Web Design”, I could use the link Truckee Web Design.
Broad Match Links – these are where only some of the anchor text words are the same as the exact keyword phrase you are optimizing your site for. For example, if I’m optimizing my site for “Truckee Web Design”, I could use this link best website designer in Truckee CA.
Generic Links – these are where the anchor text is something like “click here” for the link. If you click the aforementioned link, you’ll be able to send me an email and get a FREE website analysis!
Naked Links – these are similar to Exact Match links, but include the full URL text as the anchor to the link. For example http://www.truckeewebdesign.com/
In order to avoid scrutiny it is wise to mix these sorts of link styles up on your site. Even though exact match anchor text links were commonly found in suspicious links that doesn’t mean you should avoid them altogether. Nor should you rely on them exclusively either. The secret to good site rankings is to make your site content as easy to read and valuable as possible, and if you’re working the system, make it as natural as possible.