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How Does Penguin 2.0 Affect Content?

The penguin is one of nature’s most peaceful animals, but when it’s viewed in the world of SEO, it becomes extremely frightening.  Penguin 1.0 demoted websites guilty of a number of webspam practices, including keyword stuffing.

Penguin 2.0 does more of the same, plus it addresses a number of other content-related issues.

What exactly does it affect?  It’s hard to say, but the update has been out a couple weeks already, and here’s what some other industry experts note:

Blog comments are taking a hit – Commenting on other blogs is an often-used link building practice.  It’s okay to do, as long as the blog is somewhat related in topic to yours and it’s of decent quality.  Hint:  stay far away from SEO companies that offer to do 1000s of blog comments in your SEO strategy – they only hurt your search engine rankings.

Low-quality guest blogs – Those poor blogs are taking a beating in Penguin 2.0.  Guest blogging is a great way to get links and targeted traffic.  But, now more than ever, you have to make sure you only post on quality blogs.

Google will look at the number of ads, quality of the content, and the links pointing to the blog, among many other factors, when determining if it’s a quality blog or not.

Be careful with link anchor text – Experts say 10 – 30% of your anchor text should exactly match your keywords.  Now, however, you should also use your URL, company name, and blog name also as part of your anchor text.  Google is all about authority these days, and using branded anchor text helps it recognize you as an authority in your niche.

What You Should Do

Even before Penguin 2.0, you should have been creating quality, useful content, and sprinkling the keywords throughout where they feel natural.  Penguin 2.0 just makes it that much more imperative that you compose your content in that way.  In addition to writing content that offers additional value to your target audience, you should also:

Set up Google Authorship.  This allows you to claim ownership of particular content, whether it’s on your site or not.  It helps Google see you as an individual, an authority.  It helps searchers with that too.  It’s fairly easy to do – you’ll have to Google it to learn exactly how because it’s more than we can explain now.

Add long-tail keywords to your content.  Long-tail keywords will become even more important post-Penguin 2.0 because of Google’s emphasis on quality content.  You can take advantage of this by designing landing pages and blog articles that focus on 1 long-tail keyword.  It makes it easy for you to create a useful article that doesn’t sound keyword-stuffed.

Research your content and make it authoritative.  Some signals to Google that your content is authoritative include:

  1. Proper spelling, grammar, and sentence structure
  2. Lengthy content – 1000+ words (but make sure it’s all useful, not just to fill space)
  3. 1 link to another page on your website
  4. 1-2 links to authority sources outside of your website
  5. Diversity – adding in graphics or video to your written content

Do it Right Now – Don’t Try to Game the Search Engines!

At no point should you try to game the search engines in any way.  Don’t fall into the trap of creating more pages of content because Google wants more words.  It does want more words, but they have to be useful for your users.

If  you try to manipulate the search engines now, it always burns you in the long run.

Make sure you focus on what Google really wants to reward over the long haul:  a quality user experience for everyone who visits your website.

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