Here Comes the Google Penguin—Watch Your Back (And Your Links)!

Have you been spamming Google? If so, you might get punished. Google released its latest algorithm update on April 24th, and it's designed with a specific goal in mind: to target websites that are violating Google’s policies. Not playing by Google’s rules might not be a crime, but you better believe there is a stiff penalty for it. If Google feels that you are engaging in spam, say goodbye to a lot of your website traffic.

A little less than a week ago, in what has been termed the Penguin update, Google rolled out a change to its algorithm, the software system that ranks websites. Originally, the update was called the over-optimization penalty, but it goes well beyond that. In addition to targeting websites that practice questionable search engine optimization (SEO) tactics such as keyword stuffing and hidden text Google is also looking at the links that are pointing to a website.

Links to Avoid

The links you should be avoiding haven’t changed all too much following the Penguin update, but they are worth mentioning. Below is a short list of links to stay far away from:

  • Junky directories: In the past, online directories were the way to go to get links fast—it didn't matter if the directories were questionable. Not anymore. However, industry-specific and other relevant directories are still okay, such as Nolo, Justia, and Avvo.
  • Article marketing websites: If you are still submitting articles to article marketing websites, it is time to stop. That technique no longer works.
  • Link networks: Link networks are also a thing of the past and should be avoided. Don’t get involved in a link network.
  • “Spammy” websites: Google is paying attention to what websites are linking to yours. Don’t position yourself with websites that Google considers to be spammers. You will be considered guilty based on association.

Basically, Google wants your links to be natural and to make sense. If it appears that you are trying to manipulate the system by using artificial links, your website could be hurt.

Your Relationship With Google

What you have to always remember about Google is that it doesn't owe you anything. It is a business, just like your firm, and including you in its index is a privilege. It is not your right to be included. So, be sure to play by Google’s rules.

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