What Google’s Penguin Update Means For Content Writers

Ever since it was first developed, back in April 2012, Google’s Penguin update has been the main focus for SEO experts all over the world.

The Penguin update is a filter that forms a part of Google’s core algorithm. While the core algorithm takes over 200 factors into consideration to determine page rank, the Penguin update focuses specifically on the links related to website content.

Link Building

To explain link building in a nutshell – the more links that point to your website, the higher your website’s ranking. However, Google does not treat every link equally. This means that getting random websites to cite your content won’t improve your Google rankings.

This master search engine goes into more detail and tries to determine the authoritativeness of the website that cited your link. Say, for example, Forbes cited a link to a piece of your content that related to finance and investing. Since Forbes is an authoritative website, and both the content is related, your website will go up the ranks of Google’s search engine.

But over the years, SEO experts have figured out how to rank on Google by devising ways of manipulating the system. Today, they have created software that practically automates the link-building process, helping them to improve their page’s ranking.

Thanks to this, SEOs have begun to spam links and help their content become more popular on Google. But with the latest penguin update, link spamming is not an option anymore.

Penguin 4.0

The Penguin 4.0 update was officially put into effect on 23rd September 2016. It’s the latest update, and, according to Google, will be the last.

Penguin 4.0 works in real-time and forms a part of Google’s core algorithm.This is perhaps why it will be the last Penguin update from Google.

The previous updates would crawl and index the websites that Penguin had affected and the results of all the websites would be refreshed at the same time. This reflected the link optimization that various websites had at a certain point in time.

However, Penguin 4.0 works in real time and in sync with the Google algorithm that crawls and indexes a piece of content on a website. This means that changes will be reflected much sooner and page rankings will be far more optimal.

What This Means for Content Writers

Penguin updates have always required website owners and content producers to step up their game. But this latest update completely revolutionises the way a piece of content is ranked by Google, and it means a number of things for content writers.

No More Link Spam

As a content writer today, you need to be careful about the kind of pages and websites that link out to your content. If you’re generating links, ensure that they come from high-quality, highly-relatable websites. If your content isn’t related to the linked website, Google won’t consider it for your website’s ranking.

Even while guest blogging, it’s extremely important to use the right anchor text and ensure that the content is relatable. Also, since the Penguin 4.0 is updated in real time, it’s important for content writers to stay on their toes and ensure that they’re constantly producing high-quality, relevant work.

Recovery is Difficult

The latest Penguin update differs from its predecessors as Google hasn’t mentioned the percentage of search queries that will be affected. They’ve also withheld information on the mechanics of this latest update and how it functions.

The secrecy means that writers need to constantly churn out high-quality, SEO-optimized content if they want to rank high on the Google page. The latest update poses a challenge to anyone looking to cheat the algorithm by employing black-hat SEO tactics; it’s nearly impossible.

Thanks to the latest update, there are no simple shortcuts to recover your website and redeem your Google ranking.

Less Stress

However, the bright side of this update is that it’s a lot more forgiving and won’t penalize you for useless links. The latest Google algorithm calculates a website’s SEO ranking based on the links used along with a number of other factors.

But if you happen to have unrelated or blank links, Google simply leaves these links out of the equation when calculating your ranking.

As a content writer, it’s important to stay updated on the latest developments in the Google algorithm. It’s imperative that content writers stay focused on high-quality, relevant content, learn to optimize their content ethically, and make every link count.

How to Build Quality Links to Your Website

Today, Google determines a website’s ranking by taking into account the kind of backlinks along with the organic traffic generated by that website.

But this master search engine is constantly updating its algorithms, and backlinking isn’t as simple as it used to be. Gone are the days when any and every backlink was taken into account to determine the SEO ranking of a page.

Right now, Google rankings are also concerned with the number of authoritative websites that link to your site, and how both your sites are related.

So to receive a decent rank from Google, you need related websites with top-notch content to link out to your website. This is important if you want to be visible on Google.

So here are a few basics to help you build quality links to your website.


Get Indexed

Before you think about how to rank on Google, you need to get your website indexed by them.

Let’s say you’ve created a website; now it exists on the world wide web. Sure, it’s out there, but this doesn’t mean that Google automatically knows about it.

The Google spiders need to crawl the web and discover your page among the many websites scattered across the internet. Upon finding your site, Google will index it and begin to consider it for Google rankings. The same procedure needs to be repeated for every bit of content you produce online.

Even without being indexed, your website will still show up on a Google search. But when comparing it to related sites, yours will not receive a ranking.

Instead of waiting around for Google to discover your site, it’s best to proactively try and get the search engine to notice it.


Use Alexa

Every time you generate fresh content, input the URL on Alexa, which is a tool that shows you the metrics of your site. Google is always crawling Alexa to discover new content on the web, and once you’ve entered the URL, your content will be picked up as well.


Use Social Media

When your content receives a good social response, Google starts paying attention to it. A supportive response tells Google that you’re providing relevant, useful content that people are choosing to share. If your content receives strong social signals, it’s sure to fall under Google’s radar.

You can use all social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin. But If you want to be really effective, share your content on Google+. Since it’s one of Google’s own websites, it’s highly likely that your content will be indexed quickly.


Create Infographics

Online consumers love visual data and are more likely to share it or post about it. A popular form of visual data is infographics, or pictures that convey information.

Using infographics is a highly effective way to get other websites to backlink to your site. Most websites require visual data to supplement their content, and if you can provide that data, you’ll receive a few backlinks in the bargain.

Of course, you’ll need to design an infographic that’s eye-catching, engaging, and highly-relevant to your audience. And as insurmountable as this sounds, it’s really not.

You’ll find thousands of talented designers willing to create the perfect infographic for you. And, contrary to popular misconception, creating an infographic is relatively inexpensive. The initial cost may be high, but if you split the total expenditure among the number of backlinks you’ll receive, it’s totally worth it.

Once you’ve got your infographic ready, you need to distribute it. Websites like Reddit Infographics and Flowing Data contain a storehouse of infographics, and you can use their platform to showcase yours.


Start Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is an effective way to build your online reputation and give your content the exposure that it needs.

The best part about guest blogging is that you can include links to your website in the articles that you write. But be sure that the content on your website is similar to the blog you’re writing for. Otherwise, Google will detect something amiss and you may be penalized.

Google algorithms are constantly changing and adapting to make information more organized and accessible. As the owner of a website, it’s important to keep yourself informed about the current trends so you can improve your SEO and rank higher on Google. This is vital to success in the online market.

This may require you to make frequent, tiny changes, but keeping your website up to date will benefit you in the long run.