Google Penguin is Good for Web Content Writers

Google is a widely used search engine.
Google is a widely used search engine. | Source

Google Penguin

On April 24, 2012, when Google made changes that updated their data with a program called Google Penguin, there was so much uproar from web content writers that I could hardly see through the madness. But, now that things have settled down a little, I can see Google’s reasoning behind Penguin. Much more, I can see the reasoning behind Google Panda, a previous change initiated on February 24, 2011. I must now admit that, as a content writer for the internet, I am happy that Google is updating their programs.

Panda

Google Panda was initiated on February 24, 2011.
Google Panda was initiated on February 24, 2011. | Source

Google Levels the Playing Field for Content Writers

Manipulative techniques designed to trick search engines to rate web sites higher, resulted in allowing poorly written content to reach the top of search engine results pages. Since people use the internet as a resource for information, it was frustrating to find blatantly irrelevant content showing up at the top of the page.

To counter the issue of poor content ranking high, Google launched Google Panda . The goal of Google Panda was to decrease the value of low quality web sites so that high quality web sites could appear at the top of the search results page. The first “hits” content writers saw with Google Panda was a significant drop in visitors to their web site. However, writers who wrote material consistent in a particular niche, without a lot of advertising, tricky gimmicks, and who did not have a plethora of ads and links to and from their web pages saw less of a decrease than, say, writers whose web pages were littered with ads, links, and promotional material.

Penguin

Google Penguin was initiated on April 24, 2012.
Google Penguin was initiated on April 24, 2012. | Source

Later, to truly clean up the crumbs, so to speak, Google initiated Google Penguin. The Penguin didn’t change any algorithms or anything like that. No. Basically, the Penguin was initiated to clean up the web place a little. By clean up I mean, now search engines look at web pages, first and foremost, for relevancy. They look to see that the title is representative of the content. They look at how many links you have on your web page to determine whether your page is a page that provides useable information or if it is simply a page that provides promotional material. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it is OK to promote your products and services on the internet, I’m just saying, the search engines look at your web page to determine, based upon content, what type of page it is and whether or not your web page delivers on what is promised in the title. If you provide good quality, reliable content, then your web page is more likely to be ranked higher than if it was heavily laden with keywords simply to promote links to affiliate programs and irreverent advertisements.

Valuable Content versus Rich Keywords

Many web content writers were taught the game of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) through keyword analyzation. We even have tools that help us tweak titles and content to assure that we have choice keywords in the title and throughout the content that we write. We are conscientious about backlinks and how they affect our status and ranking on search engine pages. This is all great and it helps us get our web page higher up the scale. We are rewarded with visitors to our web page and our content is read.

All that we learned about SEO was useful and things worked out great until companies started utilizing overzealous techniques to manipulate their rankings. Companies started “hiding” keywords in their content by typing superfluous keywords throughout their site and then making those keywords disappear on the page by having the keywords the same color as the background. Humans could not see these hidden keywords, but search engines are not humans; search engines are digital and could detect these unscrupulously placed keywords. Visitors managed to find these uncanny sites, so companies felt justified in using this technique. Other “savvy” companies hired SEO experts who promised to get their page ranked to the number one position. Some of the techniques used were temporary at best and bogus at worse. In any event, a lot of it was not in the spirit of providing useable content to readers. The name of the game was, “Get this site to the top.” I don’t sit in judgment. Like many content writers, I have occasionally laced content with keywords in an effort to make it more “relevant”, as they say in the SEO world. But, since I have grown wiser, I lean less toward hyping up my content with keywords and more toward providing the best information possible for readers. In other words, I prefer to provide valuable content than rich keywords.

Example of a natural link.

Let’s say you write content for pet owners. A visitor comes to your site and likes it. This visitor happens to be a pet food supplier and places a link on their web site to your web site. This is a natural link. If your web site links to a pet owner’s blog, that’s also a natural link.

Analyze Your Site

Since the release of Google Panda and the subsequent release of Google Penguin, search engines are geared toward searching for web content that provides valuable and relevant information matched to the search criteria. In order for your web content to be found, your web content needs to provide the information readers are looking for. Take time now to analyze your site to determine if your site falls into the danger zone and possibly ignored in search engine results. Make sure you do the following:

  1. Avoid paid links to and from your website. Google engines search to see that the links to and from your web site are natural links.
  2. Avoid spammy comments. Take more control of comments left on your web site. Read all comments prior to accepting them. Make sure comments are relevant to the topic of your content. If you currently have spam on your web site, delete it. It’s not helping you in any way; in fact, it is hurting the relevance of your content.

Google Search Results Page

Search results page for a topic of one of the author's hubs.
Search results page for a topic of one of the author's hubs. | Source

Relevance is the Key

Google Penguin is a moot issue these days. The penguin has already done its job. Now, it is the writers’ turn to do their jobs by writing content worth reading.

Search engines now search for content that is relevant. If you are consistent within a niche, you could likely carve out a place for yourself on the internet by writing consistently targeted material to serve a niche market of people searching for what you have to share.

As a freelance content writer, it is time to start fine tuning your niche. Write about that particular niche on a consistent basis and your content site could have the opportunity to show up, regularly, at the top of the search engine list.

More by this Author


Comments 60 comments

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 3 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello JoanCA. I agree with you, wholeheartedly. I came to HubPages right around the time Google Panda was initiated. I didn't have previous traffic to compare, so essentially I wasn't "hit" with the effects. I enjoy reading and when I am searching for information, I want the content to be informative and well-written. Putting checks in place like Panda and Penguin are actually a good thing for writers and for readers.


JoanCA profile image

JoanCA 3 years ago

I can see why it's frustrating for writers when Google is changing the rules in the middle of the game. But I aim for quality, so even if I take a temporary hit with changes, my traffic always comes back. I've been writing online for 2 years with two HubPages accounts and a blog, so I've been through a few changes. I've experienced a couple of big traffic drops (and earnings drops) but things have always improved. And Google's search results have definitely improved. I'd rather people who find my writing are actually finding exactly what they're looking for rather than have people find my pages but clicking out instantly because it's not what they want. That doesn't look good to Google.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 3 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you prasonline and Brett. Your feedback means a lot to me.

The game is changing! At first, my traffic was affected a tiny bit - nothing significant, but noticeable. But, now I see a steady increase in traffic, so I have to admit that things are changing for the better.


prasonline profile image

prasonline 3 years ago from Sri lanka

"Google Penguin" Today I learned something new. Useful information,


Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 3 years ago from Somewhere in Asia

What you say here is so true. It used to be easy to get a website on to page one, even if the site wasn't good. Nowadays, the site must have good content and draw social signals ... sure, many still play the trickery game, but it is harder and more likely that you will lose. For writers, well ... personally I've noticed a steady increase since the improvements, I hope it is the same for others.

Shared, pinned, tweeted, up and useful.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi Sherry Hewins, I think you are an excellent writer. Apparently, so does HubPages, after all, you have received more than one Hub of the Day award. That is a lot of credit to your name.

At first, when two of my hubs were placed on idle status, I was a little bit taken aback, but I had to stop and think about the fact that as an online writer, I have no choice but to cave in to the king of the internet world - Google.

I don't do a lot of that backlinking activity either and while I understand keywords and all that stuff, generally I just write to write. But, there is a writing format that Google's robots recognize and if I want to stay in the game, I know I need to comply to Google's expectations. So, I went back to my sleeping hubs and fixed them to where they catered to the "format" and now they are fine. I don't like it, but as long as Google is calling the shots, I either need to comply or not worry about it.

When I come across great writers such as you, I do get a little worried about my own stuff. If a writer as good as you gets dinged, then I don't stand a chance.


Sherry Hewins profile image

Sherry Hewins 4 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

Well, I guess contrary to my own opinion, my stuff is crap. I pay very little attention to keyword and don't do any backlinking, much less pay for backlinks. My traffic got slammed with that last update.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you YeastQueen, HALEYLOVES2WRITE, and Vinsanity100 - Your feedback means a lot to me. The more research I do on this subject makes it clear that there are specific things we can do to improve our status in the content writing world. Good content is the name of the game.


Vinsanity100 profile image

Vinsanity100 4 years ago from Michigan

Thanks for the post. I am trying to build my online presence, and although I was not affected by the changes, I can build my sites accordingly.


HALEYLOVES2WRITE 4 years ago

THANK YOU! I found it very interesting to read. this is great info to comprehind.


YeastQueen profile image

YeastQueen 4 years ago from British Columbia

Thank you! Great article! This was extremely helpful and very informative! :-)


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi moiz17. I have to agree that people will work hard to find any kind of loophole. My hope is that updates continue with emphasis placed on keeping good, reliable content at the top of the list.


moiz17 profile image

moiz17 4 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

Yeah Marlene, I hope the same. Still, I have this feeling that people will find a loophole in the algorithm and start exploiting it again to rank highly without even posting original content. I hope that this won't happen but there is a mighty chance that it would.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

peoplepower73, thank you for your feedback. Page links are OK. The critical factor is whether or not we have content on the page that we are linking from. I do the same as you with my blog - linking to my hubs. But, I find that I have more success if my blog is a complete thought with useable information. In other words, my blog is more like an outline/overview of the hub. A visitor could read the blog and be satisfied that they received the information for which they came. While I provide a link to my hub, people don't actually have to click on the link to hub to get the gist of the information. If the reader wants more in depth information, then they can click on the link to the hub.

Also, my blog is single focused. I actually maintain several single focused blogs. I have a blog for each separate subject that I write. When I write about a particular subject, I go to the blog about that subject - write an overview and then place a link to the appropriate hub. This keeps the relationship between the blog and the link to the hub relevant.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you for the compliment, sandrabusby. It took a while, but now that I understand what all the hollering was about, it all makes sense.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi moiz17. Isn't it nice to be able to just write good content and not have to worry about all of the SEO stuff? That is how it should be. And, over time, as long as the people who run the search engines continue to update and refine the search process, soon searching for and finding reliable information is going to be a pleasurable experience.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you for your comments, rajan jolly. I am very happy with the changes. It is likely to take more updates, but I do believe that over time, the internet will become a resource for valuable information.


peoplepower73 profile image

peoplepower73 4 years ago from Placentia California

MarleneB: An excellent article that puts everything in persepective. I now understand why my hub page articles are earning more money and my adsense blog is almost down to zero. It's because my adsense blog basically is a series of page links to my hub pages. There is very little content, but mainly back links to my hub page. Base on this information, I'm going to revise my blog page and maybe my adsence earnings will increase. Thanks for sharing, voting up and very useful.


sandrabusby profile image

sandrabusby 4 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

Thanks, MarleneB, it is nice to hear a sane voice on this topic.


moiz17 profile image

moiz17 4 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

Very true. I have sure seen changes in rankings and I must say I have been impressed by the Penguin update. I can see that my website's ranking has improved for the better without me doing any real SEO. Google must have removed the clatter! Really liked the info. Voted up!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Marlene, this is a wonderfully useful hub as you tackle the Google's Panda and Google's Penguin changes. I firmly believe and thrilled by reading your ratification here, that there's nothing to hold back excellent content. Ranking higher, traffic, views everything will come. Just need to keep posting great useful and relevant articles matching the title and tags.

I've not seen a slump in views post Penguin. I'm glad that in fact the Penguin release ids helping Great content writers.

You have explained it all in so very simple and straightforward terms.

Voted up and all across. Shared also.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi oceansider! Thank you for visiting and for your feedback. I am glad it was helpful. This is one of those cases where change is good.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thanks NetBlots! I appreciate your comment a lot. You are very kind.


oceansider 4 years ago

Hi Marlene, thank you for your informative article regarding Google Penguin and Panda, and what they actually do....The information is appreciated.

Helen


NetBlots profile image

NetBlots 4 years ago from Melbourne

Epic and worth a follow!

Thanks!


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you Melis Ann. The changes make me feel like Google really does care about what's happening out there. I'm glad they are taking steps toward making things better for both the writers and the readers.


Melis Ann profile image

Melis Ann 4 years ago from Mom On A Health Hunt

I was happy to see the changes that Google has made as it can only help true content writers. Thanks for the details and the inspiration to keep on writing!


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you for sharing your feedback, markbennis. I am glad things are clearer now and I hope things do become more level. I am sure there are some future updates to expect before it all shakes out, but now that I know what is happening, I can be comfortable with them.


markbennis 4 years ago

hanks for clearing that up for me as I have always wondered what true effect Panda and Penguin really had on the article writer. Well I hope the playing field is now corrected and will begin to see a better result, take care and all the best, Mark.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi Arlene. If you weren't affected, then it is because you write what readers want to read without a lot of stuff to clutter up your content. I enjoy reading your work, so it is no wonder at all that you were not affected.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi twoseven, the way I understand it is - as long as it is relevant to the content, the number of links are of no concern. One other thing to remember is that photos also count as links, so you will want to always have a caption with a critical key word to go along with the photo to help the search engines recognize the connection between the photo and the content.


Arlene V. Poma 4 years ago

Hey, Marlene. Thank you for your positive (and much needed) views concerning Google Penguin. Unlike many writers, Penguin and Panda did not take me down. But during all these changes and massive complaints, it was the perfect time for me to take a break from the writing. I can't complain because it's back to the writing for me. No worries.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi Cyndi10. You will find it easier to be rated higher, as less worthy sites will be moved down the ranks through the natural process of the algorithms in place today.


twoseven profile image

twoseven 4 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

Thank you for explaining this issue so clearly!

One thing I wonder about - do you think that putting in too many links to Amazon products (using the Hub Pages Amazon modules) - even those that relate directly to the content of your hub - hurts you with Google Penguin? I am never sure about this, and don't want to be overly promotional - at the same time, it seems to make sense to put in Amazon modules for the products I'm talking about. For example, in a hub about wedding presents, I like to put in links to the products I suggest.

Thank you so much for your wise guidance!


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi kelleyward. Yes, it amazes me, too. There are so many stories to tell about what people do to "trick" the system into rising them to the top. Well, now with the new changes these tricksters have fallen toward the bottom.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi cclitgirl. Thank you for commenting. Yes, change is always difficult, however, in this case, change is good.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello Angela Brummer. Thank you very much for reading and for your feedback.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia

Hello Marlene, Great information you have shared with us. I must say, I'm pretty happy about the placement of some of my articles when I Google them. I was surprised to see them placing pretty high in the page rankings. You have given information that will help me with the rest of them. voted up and sharing.


kelleyward 4 years ago

MarleneB, I want to thank you for this useful hub. I can't believe people put keywords all over web pages that were hidden to the reader, it amazed me just how far some people will go to make money! Voted up and useful and shared!


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

Sooo helpful. I think a lot of writers feel "shafted" whenever there's an update. However, I'm a firm believer in great, high-quality content with great pictures, videos and the like. Thanks for sharing!


Angela Brummer profile image

Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

Great hub and information.... Thanks again!


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you CloudExplorer. I really appreciate your critical feedback. I am glad to hear that you received the message so well. It was becoming frustrating for me - not knowing exactly what all the fuss over Panda and Penguin was about. Now that I know, I'm kind of happy about it. The changes are going to force writers to write about things people want to read and in a way that is sensible, without a lot of grammatical and spelling errors - in other words, writers will be forced to write good content if they want to be read. I'm not a perfect writer, and I know that, but I find it difficult to read work that is unpolished. I like to emulate good writers, so I read their work to get better at writing. Typically, I don't read bad writers, because I feel it may lead me astray and cause me to be a bad writer, too. If I read a bad writer, then it is strictly to gain the knowledge of their content.

Once again, thank you for your feedback. By the way, I really enjoyed your latest hub about writing for HubPages. It is a guide that is most helpful to all of us here at HubPages.


CloudExplorer profile image

CloudExplorer 4 years ago from New York City

You have made it so very simple to take a controversial subject that many content writers on the web have issues with by Google, and turned it into a very well written informative hub article.

Lovely job you've done here, and I commend you on doing it with such effectiveness to get such a powerful message across to writers who have failed to make the Google Panda, and Penguin cut sort of speak.

The issue with the search engines and malicious content has definitely been a problem I've also noticed for many years now, but until I became a writer myself online, have realized it even to a greater degree, as I've found it tough to write at times when first starting out.

Thanks for all the useful pertinent info here MarleneB, and also thanks for reviewing my hub as well recently. Great stuff! voted up and getting shared elsewhere.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

girishpuri, thank you for visiting and thank you for your positive feedback.


girishpuri profile image

girishpuri 4 years ago from NCR , INDIA

use, informative and very concise hub, voted up


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you for your feedback, tirelesstraveler. I appreciate your support and hope this hub was helpful.


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 4 years ago from California

Highly informative and written in a clearly concisely. I voted up, useful and interesting.

I am just playing with keywords, but completely agree that quality content is most important.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Angelo52 - You've got it! In fact, one of the reasons I thought I should look into Panda and Penguin was because I noticed some writers were complaining about massive loss of traffic while other writers said they saw no decrease in traffic. I started visiting their content pages and what I found was interesting. The writers who complained had a whole slew of "stuff" on their pages while the writers who were content simply had good content - nothing more, nothing less. So, that convinces me that over time, we're going to see the value in Panda and Penguin.

theastrology - Thank you very much for your feedback.


theastrology profile image

theastrology 4 years ago from New Delhi

Useful information about penguin update!

Vote up!


Angelo52 profile image

Angelo52 4 years ago from Central Florida

Seems if the intent of Panda and Penquin was to give good content pages better ranking than the junk pages found just about everywhere, then authors of good content should embrace Google's changes.

Thanks for the information. Sharing and voted up.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you sandonia. Now, you have just given me something else to study - Semantic Web. I'll be looking into that one now. I have not heard of it before now.


sandonia profile image

sandonia 4 years ago

My favorite Google update was Panda. It hit a lot of the sites which cluttered my search results with low-quality garbage. Penguin was a decent update, and I appreciate that they're attempting to bring more relevance into the game. Though, I'm not convinced we'll have true relevance until the Semantic Web becomes a (full) reality. I can dream though, can't I?

Glad to see others are embracing the changes Google is making though! Good hub.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi nochance. Like you, I have been hearing so much about them I thought it was time I looked into what the talk was all about and now that I know, it makes sense.


nochance profile image

nochance 4 years ago from Duluth, MN

This is very useful. I've been hearing about penguin and panda for a while but hadn't really figured out exactly what each one. Now I know.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

billybuc -Don't feel bad. It took me the longest time to figure out the simplest things. I'm reading a lot and sharing as I go.

glmclendon - Thank you. Your feedback means a lot to me.

Vrijdag Pages -What I am learning through Google's guidebook for web masters is that backlinks are a good thing. But, backlinks must be relative to the content you write. If you have a bunch of people linking to you just for the sake of linking to you, then according to Google, that's not a good thing. If people visit your site and create a link to your site, then that's a good thing. I don't use the sites you mentioned because I don't see how those types of links help me in today's world of SEO. Back in the days of old (before Google Penguin), those back linking sites were common methods to gaining a higher rank. Now, those types of links could potentially harm your ranking. That's how I'm reading it through the information provided by Google.

Nowadays, the most important thing is writing good content. The search engines look at the content and the type of links affiliated with your web page. If it is all relevant, then you are ranked higher. Let's say, for instance, your content is about the benefits of bottled water and someone who sells jewelry leaves a comment and/or a link about his or her jewelry store, then that is not a "natural" link. On the other hand, if this same person leaves a comment about his or her experience with bottled water and leaves it at that, then your page would rate as relevant. This same person can create a link from their jewelry store to your page, but then the search engines are going to look at that as an "unnatural link". Ask yourself how bottled water and jewelry is a naturally occurring link. Why would a person who sells jewelry link their web page to a web page about bottled water? That’s how the search engines are looking at things these days.

Please correct me if I am wrong so that other readers of this comment can receive correct information. Sites like the ones you mentioned create links that could be considered irrelevant. Am I right or wrong in this? I ask because I really want to know. Thank you, in advance, for your follow up to this comment.


Vrijdag Pages 4 years ago

Thank you. Question: so creating backlinks like on social monkee and reddit or redgage is well, "black hat" and drops you from the google ratings?


glmclendon profile image

glmclendon 4 years ago

MarteneB, good work and a lot of info. Good job.

Stay Well


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

That was helpful and informative. I am still a babe in the woods when it comes to the techno stuff but slowly I'm learning.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you, AudreyHowitt. It helped me to understand the reasons for all the changes and now that I know why - finally it all makes sense.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

Good info to know. Thank you!

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