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If you're wondering why your hard-earned SERP (search engine results page) ranking has plummeted since April 24, 2012, then it may have something to do with Google's new brainchild: Google Penguin. Unlike Google Panda, which covers Google's search engine algorithm in general, Google Penguin was specifically created in order to deal with spam.

The good news for Google users is that they're less likely to end up in irrelevant sites soliciting all sorts of unrelated products for keywords barely even related to what they're selling. The bad news for many webmasters out there is the fact that their rankings will now go tumbling down due to false positives and the more draconian standards of Google's spam control.

An Anti-Spam Update with Countless Collateral Damage

The thing that's so tricky about SEO (search engine optimization) is the fact that things that were once considered as a legitimate means of garnering web crawler traffic in the past (Remember tags and web directories?) will eventually turn into a spammer's modus operandi because they're quite adept at abusing SEO techniques. The rule of thumb most search engines follow when it comes to site relevancy is the belief that people will naturally converge to a site that has interesting, relevant content. However, "interesting" content is such a subjective term that it's almost unavoidable for search engine AIs to mark as spam some websites that are using legitimate SEO techniques to gather hits.

At any rate, the latest Google update has rubbed many a webmaster the wrong way, such that they're now up in arms and voicing their complaints in regards to this "travesty" of sorts directly to Google. A lot of legitimate sites and businesses have been hurt by Google Penguin's "shenanigans", such that debates have been raised in regards to how extreme this update is on Google's own forums as well as many other social media outlets. The Google Search Quality Team has subsequently put up a complaint form that webmasters can fill up and submit in order to clarify how Google Penguin has been unfair to their site. Any "unnatural" means to gather traffic will soon be put to rest by the Penguin, particularly the ones that resemble "astroturfing" the most.

How to Survive Google Penguin

There is a multitude of ways to survive the Google Penguin onslaught, chief among them the following methods:

  • Naked URLs: Use of Naked URLs is now the best way to signal Google of inbound links that are natural, such that healthy websites use them to facilitate anchor text
  • Anchor Text Diversification: Diversify your anchor text. Stop using the exact same keyword every time. It's unnatural and Google Penguin views such measures as extreme and suspicious.
  • Knowing What Is Link-Worthy Content: Be merciless when you prune your links. The more unrelated links you have, the likelier you'll be considered as spam by Google Penguin.
  • Going Social: If you still have doubts in regards to the importance of social media in SEO, then just head on over to Google+ to alleviate your concerns. If Google itself wants a slice of the social media pie, then that's your proof of social media importance right there.
  • Focusing More on Quality: A quality page will never have to fear algorithm changes and anti-spam measures because people will naturally flock to it because it's genuinely interesting. The algorithm won't be able to tell quality, but the users will. You can't keep a good website down.

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