The Ultimate SEO Optimization Guide to Comply With Panda and Penguin Updates

Panda and penguin word cloudSince the introduction of Panda and Penguin algorithm by Google, large numbers of websites across the world have lost their search rankings and traffic resulting in huge loss of business. This penalty was not limited to specific niche or area but has affected websites across all domains throughout the globe. Several SEO forums are filled with complains about the loss of traffic and revenue. If you've experienced the same, it's time to rethink your SEO strategy to cope with these new algorithmic changes. Fortunately, the solution is simple and easy to implement provided you're ready to analyze and improve your existing SEO methodology. We're going to discuss generic SEO improvisation techniques that are independent of any content management system used on your website. So let's get started and see how to make our website or blog ready and optimized for the next penguin or panda update.

Panda and penguin word cloud

Fix Broken Links Every Month

This is one of the biggest culprits that results in traffic drops due to recent algorithm updates. Generally, an average webmaster never cares to look for broken links in the archives that can be a huge mess when it comes to SEO health of a website. The more the number of 404 errors on your website, the more it is prone to penalization resulting in a drop in search engine rankings. There are several easy ways to fix these broken links.

You can either use a plugin like Broken Link Checker to diagnose and weed out these links or you can use online broken links checking service. If you have a very large number of posts and pages', using a plugin is a better option else you can safely use online version to clean these dead links.

Cleaning and fixing these broken links is not as easy as it seems at first. Especially if the number of dead links is large, it can consume your several days before you declare your website completely free of dead links. Whenever you find a dead link on your website, there are several ways to fix it.
  • New link with same anchor text - The first and the easiest way to fix the broken link is to insert a new and relevant link either from the same website or from a new source keeping the anchor text intact as it was with the old broken link.
  • New link with a different anchor text - Sometimes, you find a slightly different link as compared to broken link's relevancy and context. This requires a change of anchor text or the entire sentence to keep the new link's relevancy matching with the page content.
  • Complete removal of the link - At other times, the best strategy to fix a broken link is to remove it altogether. If the broken link's relevancy has no value now or you cannot find a good alternative, it's better to remove it from the content.

Prune Dull or Thin Content

Thin and filler content plays a big role in getting wiped out from search engine result pages. Finding and removing such type of content is a time-consuming task and should be done on a regular basis to keep your website's content free of junk. But, the big question is - What exactly is thin or dull content?

Well, it's very simple to detect such type of content. Scan through your archives and look for the following traits in your web pages. If the page has very less content (less than 250 words) or is full of grammatical errors or is irrelevant or is stuffed with massive number of affiliate & advertising links or is copied from some other website, then you must consider either deleting it altogether or fix it by rewriting and optimizing it again.

If you're struggling to identify such type of content hidden in your massive archives, here's a easy way to find thin content from within your Google Analytics dashboard. Needless to say, your all focus should be on creating original and useful content for your audience.

Deploy a Robust Caching Mechanism

Website's speed is now one of the major factors used in deciding rankings and presence in search result pages. No matter what content management system you're using, installing an effective caching solution is must keep your website fast and responsive. Newly updated algorithms in panda and penguin look for page download speeds while calculating the overall ranking score.

You can use PageSpeed Insights to assess how fast your website's pages are rendered in a modern web browser and what are the shortcomings if any. This useful tool is available in the form of extension both for Firefox and Google Chrome. It gives you a detailed report directly related to site speed improvisation. If you get alarming data about the sluggish performance of your website, it's time to consider implementing an effecting caching system.

WordPress users can use one of the good caching plugins available for this popular blogging engine. If your website is powered is Drupal, you can take advantage of page caching functionality built right within its core. You can also use mod_pagespeed Apache module to serve web pages and other resources much faster to your visitors, no matter what content management system you're using for your website.

Rethink Your Link Building Strategy

Whether it's internal cross-linking within your domain or the links coming from external sources, you must be very careful while building links for your website. Webmasters have experienced complete wipeout of search engine index due to illegitimate or black hat link building techniques. Here are some of the important things to look for while auditing your linking efforts.
  • Excessive internal cross-linking - It's very tempting to cross-link your own content. There's nothing wrong in linking within your domain, but unnatural and excessive internal cross-linking can backfire. Check for context and diversify anchor texts while linking same web page on multiple locations.
  • Similar anchor texts - Novice webmasters and bloggers often are unaware of the fact that a large number of backlinks containing the same anchor text can hurt their search engine rankings. Create unique and relevant anchor texts while deep linking your content.
  • Irrelevant outgoing links from guest posts - If you're accepting guest posts on your blog, it's time to change the guidelines to avoid linking to irrelevant or spammy websites. Failing to do so can result in sharp drop in organic traffic due to low-quality outgoing links on your website.
  • Low quality incoming links - Same thing applies to your own efforts to gather links from external sources. Guest post on relevant websites, avoid content farms, do not time waste time in directory submissions and try to get deep links in an organic way from relevant websites.
  • Use a proxy server to optimize your link-building strategy - Proxies will hide your IP address from any website you access, including Google, so you don't have to worry about your IP address getting banned and delaying your progress. It will also allow you to utilize web scrapers without getting flagged by any website you're scraping. You can use private IPs or IP addresses from a free proxy list, as long as it came from a reputable proxy provider.
If you're struggling in your link building efforts and have experienced a sharp drop in your organic traffic due to recent panda and penguin updates, you can try some of these techniques to gain organic backlinks for your website.

Check Ad to Content Ratio

Website monetization has undergone significant changes in the last decade or so. This has triggered aggressive monetization strategies to earn more revenue. But, Google has clearly stated about penalizing those websites that have plastered their web pages with too many advertisements. You must keep a check on some of the following monetization techniques that can hurt your search engine presence.
  • Too many advertisements above the fold - If you're displaying too many ads above the fold, it may lead to decline in your rankings. If you're unsure and cannot assess the number and placement of ads to be shown above the fold, you can use this handy browser size tool to optimize your ad placements.
  • Annoying modal ad popups - Nothing's more frustrating than sticky popups containing PPC and affiliate ads. This technique is considered spammy and may put your website on Google's radar in no time.
  • Massive number of text ad-links - Whether you're embedding static ad text links or relying on dynamic in-text ad link services, the ratio of these links compared to your content must be checked to avoid any penalty from Google. They shouldn't exceed 2% limit to keep a healthy advert to content ratio.
  • Large banners with minimal content - Some over smart webmasters place large banner ads on almost blank pages with negligible content to get rich quick overnight. This is a sure shot method to dry up your organic traffic.

Stick to Basics and Create Awesome Content

And last but not the least is the ongoing exercise of applying all basic SEO principles to optimize your web pages. These on-page SEO strategies form the foundation of your overall strategy to dominate search engine result pages.

All the things discussed till now will have no effect until you come up with great content on a regular basis. That's the crux of building a useful website that readers would love to visit again and again. And that's what Google wants from you to give your website a good presence in relevant search queries.

The combination of good SEO techniques complemented with remarkable content is the ultimate key to counter any algorithmic changes that may affect your search engine rankings.