SEO Success Factors After Penguin 2.0

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  • 6/12/2013

    Search Engine Land has been nice enough to update their Periodic Table of SEO and while we feel it is 100% worth seeing, reading, downloading and maybe even framing and putting on your desk to gaze at lovingly all day, most of you may not have time for that. So what we’re going to do is break it down a little for you. 

    Google Penguin: A Quick Refresher

    To overly simplify it, on April 24, 2012 Google Penguin was released as a way to combat people trying to cheat their way to the top. It targets things like keyword stuffing, using a link-building scheme, buying links, deliberate duplication of content and cloaking and lowers a website’s authority if they attempt to use those tactics. What Google aimed to do was make results a little better.

    Introduced in May 2013, Penguin 2.0 simply kept on in the same approach. The reality is that it almost felt like a further tightening of the lessons that you should have learned in 2012.

    So What Should a Good SEO Focus on Now?


    Content Marketing, content creation, content strategy. Your content is your lifeblood. People have to actually WANT to read what it is about. Did you do your research to figure out what people are looking for? Are you putting your research to good use?

    Since we know that we want people to actually see your content – are they in fact reading it or are they leaving quickly? Are they bouncing or are they wondering what else you have to say? Are you, in fact, as interesting as you think you are?

    Main SEO Question to Ask: “Would I trust this site with my credit card based on content alone?”


    Does it make sense? Is there a natural flow? Does your site easily take users from point A to point E? In this process does it take users through B, C and D? Are you doing everything you can to make sure users know this and understand why they need to take that next step?

    Main SEO Question to Ask: “Does my architecture make sense and progress in a logical and thought out order?


    Who is actually linking to you? How are people going to find you? If you saw these links would you trust them? Are they from people who honestly like what you have to say or are they from your neighbor’s kid down the block you gave $20 bucks to?

    Do they have ANY reason at all to be linking to you or are you out of place? Your links always need to be from places and people that are seen as knowledgeable in your area. If chat::ter links to your site about skydiving equipment, then that wouldn’t make all that much sense would it? Why on earth would that be in any way valuable to you as a consumer?

    Main SEO Question to Ask: “Will the traffic from these links legitimately be inclined to use me or will they just be another way for me to get a shiny new bounce?”

    Social Media

    Odds are someone on some forum or social media site has already mentioned your brand in some way, shape or form. Maybe it was positive, maybe it was negative, maybe neither. But people are most definitely talking about what you have to offer. What are you doing to establish yourself as a dominant brand?

    Companies that know social media don’t just obey the rules, they drive the conversation and offer unique and interesting insight. They bring something new, innovative and thought provoking to the table. They don’t just throw their products into their Facebook timeline and hope someone clicks. They understand their audience and help them to grow.

    Main SEO Question to Ask: “Am I actually improving the conversation or am I just throwing my stuff out there?”

    So What Should a Good SEO Avoid Now?

    The easiest and simplest way to know if you’re heading down a bad path is to simply ask, “Will a search engine view this as potentially bad?” If you’re asking that, you already have your answer. The answer is an emphatic yes. Don’t do it, walk away, find a better way.

    Then just avoid dishonesty.

    Be honest with yourself. It’s hard, we know it is. Everyone knows they’re the best that’s out there, but what are you doing to really be the best? What are you doing differently? Marketing is about helping people make decisions based on needs. What need are you meeting? Will the user really know that?

    Be honest with a search engine.

    Don’t try to show them something different than you would Jim from Poughkeepsie. You’re trying to appeal to Jim. So is every single search engine. If they catch you showing Jim something different than you show them, that’s a search engine catching you in a lie. Why should they trust you at all if you’re going to lie to them?

    Penguin 2.0 scares a lot of people, but it shouldn’t. These are rules we’ve always known. Just be the best you that you can be and you’ll be fine.

    About the author::
    Joshua Mathe leads thunder::tech’s Optimization team and his infatuation with SEO and PPC began six years ago. He is a lifelong Clevelander with a love of all things #CLE. In the rare moments that he's not online, he’s spending time playing with his dogs, cooking, cheering for Cleveland sports and practicing kendo.
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