Are you one of the webmasters that has been stunned by the Google Penguin update? In our recent article “Stumbling through SEO: 4 Search Engine Optimization Pitfalls Internet Businesses Should Avoid” one of the main points was about relevance which is also important in the latest ‘Penguin’ update from Google. MrMail Zimbra Hosting works with webmasters to help promote their sites efficiently, so here is some essential points to keep in mind.

Over the past few years, search engine optimization has become classified as either ‘white hat’ or ‘black hat’ and recently the term ‘grey hat’ has arrived on the scene. What Google’s Penguin update makes clear is that the focus is not on right or wrong, it’s about what’s relevant to the audience who is searching for information.

Webmasters must detach themselves from their websites and instead stand in the shoes of their visitor. What is the reason that they will come to your website? Your website represents what you have to offer and if you provide exactly what the visitor wants, the chances are higher that they will recommend it to others providing you with valuable ‘word-of-mouth’ advertising. But nothing is more frustrating than performing a search for a specific term and following a link in the results only to find that the content doesn’t provide the information you need. For all intents and purposes this is ‘web spam’ misleading and useless information that waste the visitor’s time.

Basically this is the situation that the Penguin update seeks to avoid, and it appears that the other type of ‘web spam’ is the number of links on a website from networks that provide very little value to the visitor.  Fine-tuning the SERPs by demanding that website clean up their act benefits the Internet users and website operators.

Okay, so what does relevancy mean? What does it take to have your website classified as “relevant?” Beyond domain name, META tags and content being in sync, webmasters are well advised to look at their link profile strategy. Which websites are you linked to, outbound and inbound? ‘Authority websites inbound links have always been coveted, however, now the focus again is relevancy, so it does little good to link to an authority website if your content doesn’t justify the link.

Links are considered as a sign of approval or vote of confidence for a website: the more people link to your website the more confidence it shows in your content. The top three things to keep in mind as you work with Google’s Penguin update are:

1. The Anchor Text used in the link

2. The source of the link; press release, directory, etc.

3. How the links were acquired; all at once or steadily over time

Analyze your links based on these three factors to understand your link profile and use it to bring your website up to standard to achieve the SEO ranking that you desire. MrMail Zimbra Hosting recommends using the link analyzer at Open Site Explorer as a starting point.