Blogging in the Age of the Penguin
The latest major update from Google, coined “Penguin”, has turned out to be mighty controversial. Massive rankings shifts have affected many websites and online businesses, instantly altering their fortunes. Much of what worked previously ceased working with the Penguin update. In this article I will offer advice on how to compose your blogs, and whether or not you should still be focusing on keywords.
Most troubling to me is the reaction within the search engine optimization (SEO) community. Grey Hat SEO techniques which stopped working with Penguin are now being replaced by more Grey Hat techniques. To do this is to completely miss the point of Google’s update. Google doesn’t want anyone trying to manipulate rankings by using keywords at the expense of well-written content. Whether you are in agreement with the changes Penguin caused or not, I believe the majority of web users stand to benefit from a stronger focus on content by blog authors.
The fact that search engines rewarded keyword density at all seemed like Dark Ages intelligence to me. I found it amusing, yet troubling, that there was actually a cottage industry of SEO applications which calculated keyword density to help bloggers increase their search engine rankings.
Should you switch strategies and mention your keywords less frequently, or experiment to find an optimum frequency? Definitely not. Your new content should read naturally, so focus on engaging writing and leave the era of keyword counting long behind.
New Techniques for Optimizing Keyword Usage?
My advice is to ignore all advice for new keyword optimization techniques. As the last couple of Google updates have taught us, any exploits will be shut down quickly. Don’t waste time trying to optimize when these techniques may become obsolete inside of the next six months.
Early indications are that very short article content (a few hundred words or less) is not being treated well in Google search. It’s hard to write a useful article in 100-200 words, so it is not surprising that Google might be penalizing short content.
I draw the line at 500 words as a bare minimum for my blog content. I prefer my articles to be close to 1000 words, which I believe allows me to get deep into a subject without writing an article which is too long for most people to bother with.