Just a week after Google launched the Hummingbird update, Matt Cutts surprised the SEO community with the news of another Penguin update – This time Penguin 2.1. Below is what he tweeted:
According to Cutts, this update affected ~1% of searches. However, as per our in-depth research and comments across the webmaster and SEO community, this was a significant update.
We did a deep analysis of the results appearing on page 1 after this update. Below are our observations after doing an analysis of 3000+ websites:
- Data Aggregators are really dominating the ranks for the spots we checked that went backwards. We even verified this with other heads of global SEO companies and even they are confirming the same. Below are a few examples that you can look at:
1. For these 3 Keywords – “Septic Tank Cleaning Seguin”, “Plumber Timonium” and “Drain Cleaning Seguin” – 100% listings are dominated by Data aggregators & national sites at the local level.
2. “Plumbing Contractor Perry Hall” – All 17 listings dominated by Data aggregators & national sites except 2 sites – one on map and another in normal listing. Even the maps have 6 listings of plus.google.com
3. Moving Companies Camden County – 100% listings dominated by Data Aggregators & National sites with all inner URL’s ranking.
- Below is the list of domains that are ruling the top 10 results (across all verticals targeting GEOs) as compared to last week.Sites like YouTube, Yelp,YellowPages, WhitePages have increased their presence even more. However we did notice a drop for Google Images / News and Maps results.
Top 20 Domains
Increase in %
- As can be seen above, more than 40% of the first page real estate is now captured by Data Aggregators + Local Directories + Industry Specific Directories.
Below is the preliminary plan of action we will be adopting to recover affected sites plus future proof our SEO work.
1. We need to keep reducing link velocity which you have heard us reference in the past. Getting too many links quickly will be flagged easily by Google. Hence we are recommending a reduction in link velocity.
2. We need to continue to focus on more On-Site optimization which includes correcting all possible 404 errors, fix duplicate (thin) content on the site, implementing Google Authorship, etc. Clients need to be willing to either fix or allow us to fix these issues. Internal blogs is also a good addition which we should do when allowed.
3. Vary anchor text and lower the % of specific key terms focus. We have been doing this since the last Penguin update and will continue to work the %’s. As of now, we will be getting 90% of the links for branded terms and the remaining 10% will be a combination of exact match + long tail keywords.
4. We are also including Social Profiles creation as part of our deliverables.
5. We will be balancing followed links to nofollow ones to have a natural link profile. Apart from this, removal of links with problematic history becomes even more important.
6. Social Signals – In order to improve social signals instead of doing social bookmarking of the articles submitted we will be getting social signals to those articles which will include either Facebook likes, Tweets & Google+ Votes. Client participation is encouraged.
7. This has been mentioned numerous times but getting your Google+ local listing verified is of utmost importance.
We have updated our SEO Deliverables to match the Penguin update. Since a varied link profile is the safest bet, we have added activities like infographics creation and distribution, coupon distribution, social networking links, presentation creation and distribution and even premium press release distribution to diversify our backlink profile. Please ask for a copy of new SEO deliverables @ same price.
As always, we will be continuously tracking & observing the effects of these changes to our strategy as well as upcoming algorithmic changes by Google so that we can stay updated with the latest SEO strategies.