This year’s Google Mayhem event for Internet marketers was affectionately called “Penguin”. And if you have felt the wrath of penguin, it can leave you feeling an icy-chill down your spine. If you were one of the few that got ice-burned by Penguin and saw your rankings plummet, what should you do to fix your site this time around?

For starters, stop thinking “quick cash”. Sites that go up quickly and are aimed at making a few quick dollars via affiliates, product sales, or ads are generally what these updates are aimed at eliminating. Search engines are catering to their readers who want solid information in searches. So the first thing you can do is restart your content from the ground up from the perspective of your reader, not your SEO ranking.

While the definition of spammy sites changes over time and with each new update, penguin is no exception to the general rules of internet conduct. The general guidelines are as follows:

  • Hidden content
  • Flash pages
  • Flash landing pages
  • Excessive use of frames
  • Purchasing links
  • Different content for search engines and readers
  • Cloaking and redirects
  • Repeated titles
  • Repeated content anywhere else on the web
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Excessive use of keyword anchor text
  • Writing for engines and not readers
  • Designs for engines and not readers
  • Generic designs
  • Bad neighborhood links
  • Links from sites that have been penalized

So, if your site engages in any of these practices, fix it immediately! That means today. Then begin the process of engaging your audience rather than writing for search engines. So ask yourself:

  1. How can I improve the reader’s overall site experience?
  2. How can I make my site easy to navigate so that my readers can find any and all pages with no more than two clicks of the mouse?
  3. How can I build a better relationship with my audience?
  4. How can I build a network of relationships for fresh readers?
  5. How can I keep them coming back for more?
  6. How can I contribute to my niche market in a meaningful way?
  7. How can I improve upon my competitors’ offering?
  8. How can I connect in a symbiotic way with complementary businesses?
  9. How can I make my site keyword “organic” and improve its readability flow?
  10. How can I visually improve the appearance and bot usability of the site?


Once you have answered these questions and carry them out, then move on to a long-term action plan as follows:

  1. Use an analytics program to assess traffic, links, rank, keywords, backlinks, outgoing links, and link neighborhoods.
  2. Check your webmaster central account to see if you have any notices.
  3. Create content guidelines to follow and implement on all old and new content immediately.
  4. Create a web-development plan of action to improve your site.
  5. Continually track keywords and adjust as necessary.
  6. Keep a close eye on all in-coming and outgoing links.
  7. Develop a clear, concise, and comprehensive marketing plan that utilizes all healthy forms of networking and advertising.

Even if your site hasn’t been hit by Penguin, or you simply want to ensure it doesn’t on the next wave of updates, immediate and massive action is necessary. Take action on what needs fixing, and then create a solid action plan that addresses any and all issues your site faced or might face. Focus on your readers and relationships, not your rank!