Google’s Penguin Update: Is It Time to Google-Proof Your Business?

Google Penguin UpdateMuch to the chagrin of many website owners, in April of this year (2012) Google implemented an update of their search engine algorithm that has even Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Experts scratching their heads. The update, which according to Wikipedia, when launched was being referred to by users as “OOPs” and “Titanic”, before oddly being named after a cute little animal, the “Penguin” by Google, has stunned and dismayed website owners (not to mention penguin lovers) around the world. Many sites that have previously enjoyed a spot in the coveted page one positions of Google’s results have now been sent to search engine oblivion, and with them went their traffic and customers. The vast majority of the businesses affected negatively by the Penguin update have seen their revenues fall dramatically, and many business owners are not sure how they can possibly recover.

While these business owners scramble to make changes to their websites trying their best to conquer the dreaded Penguin update, it’s important to remember that Google isn’t trying to give penguins a bad reputation, or ruin poor unsuspecting business owners. In fact, the reason behind this update was to reduce the amount of “webspam.” In other words, it is an effort to do something good by reducing the number of sites listed that use frowned upon techniques to generate their search engine rankings. By attempting to promote high quality content, they inadvertently adversely affected some of the good guys.

But here’s the thing, if you’ve been affected and are now scrambling to make changes to your website to regain your ranking, while you may very well accomplish what you set out to do, who’s to say what the next algorithm update will bring, or even when it will happen? So, instead of toiling away, trying to beat the system, why not come up with some more creative ways of generating traffic? Here are a few ideas to get you started at Google-proofing your business:

  1. Use Social Media. Form relationships with your friends and followers and offer them value in following you. Getting people interested in you through social media is a great way to generate not only traffic to your site, but targeted traffic to your site – which is really the best kind of traffic to have.
  2. Create Press Releases. Launching a new product? Adding a new service? Lowering your prices? Announce it with a press release and publish it via online PR distribution companies. On top of publicizing some great information about your company, this also provides a great way to get out links to your website (in a way Google likes). Even better is the fact that although your site might not rank very well, many of these PR distribution companies are very well positioned in Google, and so too may your release if written well and with appropriate keywords in mind.
  3. Use Your Tribe. Building a list, or “tribe” as it’s being called these days in web speak, is one of the best possible ways to Google proof your business. If you already have a list, that is a list of email addresses generated from your website where people have given you permission, or “opted-in” to receive updates, news, or ezines, then you have a direct line to your target market. If you have a list, you need to start using it, and marketing it. If you don’t have one, then now’s the time to get started!
  4. Start Article Marketing. Like press releases, article marketing is a great way to generate links to your site. It is also a great way to position yourself as an expert in your industry. An article that is well written and distributed to popular and/or niche article banks can produce some great exposure for your business. Very popular websites often gather material for their blogs and ezines from these sites. Getting your article included on one of these sites could generate tons of traffic to your Google deprived website.
  5. Join Stuff. Okay, this sounds a little silly, but if you think about it, joining associations, groups and members only forums related to your industry is a great way to, a) get listed in their directories and get found at a place that people would frequently search for others in your industry and b) mingle with others in your industry to see what they are doing to get noticed.
  6. Get Creative. Who is your target market? Where can they be found? Is there a place that they tend to go online that you could also go and get noticed? Can you create an affiliate or referral program around your product in order to have others promote it for you? Brainstorm some creative marketing ideas and you may be pleasantly surprised what you come up with.

The ideas are endless. If you make use of your imagination and some of these suggestions, you will be ready for whatever fuzzy animal update Google comes up with next.

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