Penguin update – working with Google, not against it

Ooh, Google know when to upset people, don’t they?  Have you been on the forums, recently, following the latest Penguin update?  People who’ve spent years employing non-native English speakers or writers that simply copy page one articles to scrape them through Copyscape, or paying for build my rank articles and employing people on platforms such as oDesk to get poor quality backlinks are crying into their keyboards, right now.  I’ve got one word to say about that: PAH!

Maybe now it will give genuine, professional writers a platform to raise their prices to make a liveable wage (instead of having to compete with the $1/article employers/Asian writers filling our pages with tripe that only website crawlers can understand).  For the last year or so, I’ve had my rants about Google, but this new update has changed the landscape of the content playing field forever.  Google, you GO, girl!

The point of this article is to provide a summary of what my interpretation – corroborated by two of the webmasters for whom I write – of how to make the most out of Google, Penguin and Panda.  It’s brief and is purely and simply how I’ve explained the changes to my webmasters for the changes in written output for their sites, before they start querying the subtle nuances to work with Google, and not to rage against the machine as has been perhaps my knee-jerk reaction in the past.

Here’s a simple cut and paste of the last e-mail I sent, even offering advice on Amazon Associates – I never set out to be knowledgeable to such an extent but, if you want to be recommended as a writer, you have put in a bit of groundwork yourself and share that knowledge.

You hear it all the time – build trust, do a bit for free, write about what you know.  Again, you think PAH!  But, by adopting a different mindset, I’m at a point now where, with the work people are asking me to do, I’ve not got to trouble the online freelance agencies again all year.  Anyway, here’s the e-mail, pasted verbatim:-

Right – this is as close to a ‘nutshell’ I can get, but I’m 100% confident that, if you follow this, Google will look at the site in a whole new light.

External Links – Authority Domains only, please

Okay. With your external links, they have to be from quality sites, sites with domain authority (DA); Google is now downgrading sites with poor quality incoming links. This is worth bearing in mind as you’re looking to hire external linking capacity on oDesk.

Content is King

The articles have to be unique – it’s no use writers just looking at what’s getting on to page one and re-writing that content – as Google finds more exacting algorithms, ranking articles will only rely on quality, original content even more. If people have had problems with non-native writers or those who simply re-write copy, they’re going to struggle, moving forward. I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say that the articles I write (across all sites) may derive their message from other articles, but are as original an article as you will find on the Internet.


The links in each article that point to existing content have to be few, but relevant – too many links will look like spam to the website crawlers and, once again, Google will downgrade on that basis.

They also have to be varied. Too many links on the same subject is also going to be considered spam. As Martin confirmed, 50% of the links have to be branded. You’ll notice that within the posts of the last week, I’ve been linking to sites such as the OWGR, European Tour, PGA Tour and individual championships off-site – you never know, they may link back to us.

It was my intention over the coming weeks to start linking to product websites; the problem there is if those sites sell direct, or point to an outlet closer to the customer (many golf websites have store/distributor outlet locators on them), there is an opportunity for the customer to buy from that source direct. That really is tricky.

Make the most of the A-Store

The alternative suggestion I would have – and this will take some work, but be worth it in the long run – is have your Amazon A-store as an i-frame on a page, or pages per product, within This type of store display is available within the dashboard of your Amazon Associates account, and will do two things:
1. Protect the business that the customer you have worked hard to attract has to place by keeping them on site, and
2. By clicking on-site, Google will register your site’s usability and the amount of time and clicks the customers expend on your site; Google have always done this, but are now weighting this factor more heavily. The more clicks and time on site, the higher the ranking factors.

I would rather wait until an A-store is in place on site before I consider linking branded products to say, Titleist, Srixon, Callaway, etc. off site.

Social Share – spread the word or get others to do it for you

I’ve been speaking to the off-site SEO and website designer for at great length, today, for whom I also write articles. Having the ability for customers to ‘share’ your pages with their existing audience is perhaps the single, biggest change in the new Penguin update as far as site recognition goes. If people want to share your website with their audience, then Google perceives that it must contain content relevant to that user and their followers.  And it must be simple to do – enable one-click sharing and we’re on to a winner.

As well as the website itself, we are also going to create a Google Plus (Plusses) self-employed mortgage page to really get specific messages across to a filtered audience.

Twitter, facebook, delicious and LinkedIn are important, too, but the bottom line is offering readers the ability to share articles and products from your website articles and A-store on social media platforms through the visitors themselves and/or by writing further mini-articles and posting direct to whichever platform you focus upon (after you’ve built your own audience) is, I believe, the future of Internet Marketing and, more importantly, Google ranking.

And that, sir, I believe, is a template for a successful website and will certainly be the way I go with mine, when I ever get the chance.

So, there you have it.  Many webmasters have already registered the fact that, if you only pay for tripe content and links, you’ll get rewarded as such in search engine listings.  And as Google develops its algorithms, webmasters will rely on content – quality and original – even more.  It’s an exciting time to be a writer.  If you fancy a crack, why not click the oDesk link, above?  It’s free, registration only takes a few minutes (initially) and you can be earning from day one.


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