If you have a business website, then you will have certainly encountered Google’s Panda and Penguin updates. Many SEO experts claim these dramatic updates have transformed the basic principles of a successful SEO strategy. Within this article, we will be assessing the impact of these updates on the practice of article marketing and asking the questions: What do these changes really mean for article marketing? And what can we do?
Google Panda & Penguin: The basics
Google’s most recent updates to their ranking algorithm are called Panda and Penguin. While they may have cute and cuddly names, their impact within the World Wide Web has been colossal. The primary purpose of these updates is to improve the relevance of search results and create a better experience for end-users. Essentially, Google determined that its customers preferred sites with high-quality content. As a result, they wanted to rewards sites that adhere to certain criteria, whilst punishing those that do not. Therefore high quality sites are promoted and achieve a higher ranking, whilst low quality sites or “thin sites” are demoted.
Google created the Panda algorithm, which looks at pages of a website to determine its quality. The significant feature of Google Panda is that it is a site wide penalty, so if a number of pages on your website are deemed low-quality, your entire site is down-ranked. Google Penguin looks at off-site factors such as the content you create to generate backlinks to your site. The Penguin update, unlike Panda is not a site wide penalty.
How do the updates affect article marketing?
There are two key ways in which article marketing has been affected by the Panda and Penguin updates:
- Keywords: The first is a change in SEO practices such as keyword density and keyword stuffing. Google Panda now views keyword stuffing as spam and this has seen a decrease in the rankings of Content Farms and similar sites. Keyword density has also been decreased from the previously accepted rate of 3% down to 2%. While Google is still placing importance on keywords to determine ranking, it is focusing on the quality and relevance of content too.
- Mass Reproduction: The second change directly affects article marketing. The practice of submitting a single article with the same keywords and anchor text to hundreds of article directories is being penalised by the Google Penguin update.
Duplicate content is also a focus for the Panda update. Duplicate content presents a quandary for Google, which will show only one version in search engine results.
According to Moz – “To provide the best search experience, search engines will rarely show multiple, duplicate pieces of content and thus, are forced to choose which version is most likely to be the original (or best)… When duplicate content is present, site owners suffer rankings and traffic losses and search engines provide less relevant results.”
Link relevancy has become a focus for the new updates too. The update penalises sites with many backlinks from unrelated sources, such as articles published in irrelevant categories or published on websites in a completely different niche. The punishment by Google for sites not adhering to its strict criteria is a dramatic fall in search engine rankings and a possible suspension of the site’s Google AdSense account. These punishments have a huge impact on a websites organic traffic levels and could spell disaster for an online business.
If you are an article marketer who manually submits unique, high quality articles to reputable directories, then you should have nothing to fear from the updates. Only those who use controversial practices to boost their rankings are at risk.
How to avoid penalties
If you are still concerned about the possibility of being penalised by Google, there are several practices you can follow:
- Only submit your work to reputable article directories. Ezine Articles is considered the number one option – it regularly makes changes to its own standards to stay in line with new Google updates.
- Keep keyword density to around 2% and do not stuff title tags with keywords.
- Only publish quality, valuable content that reads well. A good trick here is to only publish something that you would genuinely enjoy reading and find useful.
- Inbound links should have a variety of anchor texts. Do not use the same text multiple times as this is seen as spam by Google, even if the rest of your article is unique.
- Publish only to categories relevant to your article. If you are writing about soap, do not publish in the medicine category in the hope that you will gain new readers.
Since the Google Panda and Google Penguin updates, article marketing has changed for the better. Time, care and quality is rewarded, whilst those who produce throw-way, useless article to thousands of sites are discovering a new ball-game. The playing field has been levelled and only those who are prepared to play fair will succeed.
A strong Article Marketing strategy is essential for any online business, with enormous benefits to be gained from a cost-effective, low-risk form of advertising. If you’d like to learn more about what we do, check out our services. Or get a free, no obligation quote for your next project today!