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StrategyMay 24, 2013

Penguin 2.0: Why You Must Be Managing Your SEO Now!

Kyle Wahlquist

THE PENGUIN 2.0 SLAP HEARD AROUND THE WEB 

This week in search engine optimization (SEO) Google rolled out Penguin 2.0 and slapped Sprint with a “user-generated content spam” penalty causing havoc to their organic online traffic. It’s an important time to make sure you’re on top of your SEO strategy and up to date with the latest changes.

WHY PENGUIN 2.0 SLAPPED SPRINT

An unmoderated forum causing a build up of spam led to this penalty, which resulted in Sprint falling in many of their keyword rankings.  More often than not, forums are targets for spammers to create “ads” directing users to non-topic related sites.

In the case with Sprint’s forum, spammers were creating accounts on Sprint’s site and posting replies that directed users to various sites leading to more mature products and content that I am sure Sprint would not condone.

When talking about Penguin 2.0, Google’s Matt Cutt specifically stated, “It’s going to have a pretty big impact on web spam.”

The Monday penalty for Sprint is too close in timing and focus for me to believe it was not related to Penguin 2.0’s intent.

 2 WAYS GOOGLE FIGHTS SPAM

In a continued effort to diminish the presence of web spam and make the Internet a cleaner, more useful tool, Google is actively finding ways to lower the value of spam for spammers.  There are two ways they can systematically make it harder for spammers to gain value or ROI on their time and investment:

1) Change the ROI for Spam Google can change the algorithm to lower the ranking of links in less trusted places.  This can be seen from an initiative back in 2005 when Google started utilizing “no follow” tags for links.  In 2011 no follows became the standard applied to links in comments generated on various blogging platforms such as WordPress and Drupal.

While Google can always strive for the perfect mathematical algorithm to make the web a better place (without spam), there is another way they can use their algorithm.

2) Change to Call to Action Google can not only use the algorithm to fight spammers, they can also use it to jolt webmasters into action.

That’s right, Google can punish sites that do not appear to keep up with Google’s standards.  They give you tools to monitor your sites’ health for free, they give many, many updates on how to play by the rules, so if you are obviously not following these rules then you’re going to lose ranking with these types of algorithm updates. If that happens you’re either becoming careless like Sprint, or you don’t care that much about where you rank in the first place or you are a link farm and deserve what you get.

WHAT DOES PENGUIN 2.0 MEAN FOR YOU?

The days of not concerning yourself with SEO are over.  No longer can you take a hands-off approach when it comes to SEO.  Google is now calling you to arms in the fight against spam.  If you have anything that allows users to input data and leave it unmoderated, you will get dinged.  If you are not manning your stations to ensure your content is monitored, managed and up to date, you will get burned.

Getting dinged with an algorithm slap has serious affects on your ROI.  As discussed in my previous article on the basics of SEO, ranking highly in the search engines can drive a large to majority share of your online traffic.

Assuming you are converting your organic traffic, you could be losing serious revenue!

Have you experienced a drop in keyword ranking or organic traffic since the Penguin 2.0 update?  Do you know how to check these things?  Let me know in the comments below.  I would love to hear how you are fairing during this rollout.