Emperor penguins

Penguin assassins out to get your website’s blog? You would think from the many movies that have come out recently that these critters are by no way, shape, means, or form mass-murderers.

Yet that’s what many SEO folks would have you believe. Penguins are natural-born website killers.

Google announced the new Penguin algorithm last April. The algorithm was meant to knock down the ranking of websites that used black hat SEO such as duplicate content. Another reason was Google wanted to let websites that had some really great content but were not using all the best practices of SEO to rank higher.

I thought to myself, finally, Penguin will get those mediocre, uninformative websites.

As a web copy writer, I’m pretty much adept setting up search queries so I don’t get a whole bunch of irrelevant stuff in my results. Occasionally, when I do get unrelated sites, they’re irritating. I really don’t have those precious seconds it takes to click on the link to the site, wind up on an affiliate marketing web page, and then click on the back arrow. It slows me down. I’m happy that Google has unleashed the Penguins to terminate such sites with extreme prejudice.

Mind you, I’m not against affiliate marketers (commissioned sales people) making a living, either through their own blogs or guest blogging efforts. I just don’t want them showing up in my research results. I’m researching, not engaging in a shopping spree. As a frequent flyer on the World Wide Web, I’m annoyed by all the bolded, underlined, keyword links every fifty words or so. I can find out what I need to know on my own. Unless it’s something a rocket scientist wouldn’t understand.

Then I stumbled on Google’s Matt Cutts’ YouTube video early last month. It caught my attention, because it was Google’s take on blogging – guest blogging to be exact. Cutts made it very clear that spammy guest blogging would attract the attention of the Google penguin assassins. By spammy, he was referring to article spinning and including unrelated links in the content. Furthermore, linking to sites Google considered mediocre could get your website included on the penguin hit list.

I love writing blogs for my own websites and guest blogs for other websites. I wondered how Google’s Penguin algorithm update had affected both my own and my clients’ sites. After all, it’s my job follow the best practices in SEO as a web copy writer. I am extremely careful not to write duplicate content and I link only to established, authoritative sites that add value. But then, I don’t read or speak every last language known on earth.

I decided to test my idea. I checked the analytics since April 24 on a few websites. The sites were still doing well, so it appeared they were unaffected by Penguin. Then I wanted to find out if I could get a .info URL ranked, even with the Penguin assassins lying in wait. I have a dot info that I was using to learn code, so I hadn’t bothered with a site map or meta tags or anything else related to SEO.

Take note that .infos are not as easy to get into the SERPs as .com, .net, or .org sites. Dot infos are used by a lot of folks with less than savory topics and with the intent having the website up for a short time. This is reflected in the couple of dollars to buy the .info domain name.

A new challenge for me. I created about 18 pages of high quality content pages and a blog that I updated about twice a week. I even signed up as an affiliate for a product, Imon Thencide’s Ultimate SEO Trafficking Guide (not the real name) which I promoted on my blog. I managed to get the site ranked and in the search results near the end of the tenth page.

My conclusion?

Penguin doesn’t banish your website or blog to the cyberspace black hole, at least not in my opinion. For the most part, it’s doing what it was meant to do — decrease the rankings of low quality, misleading websites. Wouldn’t you agree that your web surfing should be an easy and pleasant experience? Shouldn’t blogs be informative and entertaining?

If you have questions about your website’s blog or content, want to design a new website, or just find out more about SEO under Penguin’s laser sights, give Directory One a call.