Don’t Sleep on Google Penguin: Adopt a Solid Defensive SEO Strategy
By Asher Fusco, Associate Director, Copy & SEO
When Google Penguin originally rolled out more than four years ago, it impacted results for a staggering 12 percent of search queries. The update put into place stringent requirements on the quality of inbound links Google rewarded. After the initial Google Penguin update, websites could no longer build links inorganically or acquire spammy links in order to attain higher search engine rankings.
The bottom line: Google Penguin is still alive and kicking. Hoteliers and digital marketing professionals need to remain vigilant when assessing their sites' inbound link portfolios. Acquiring inbound links is important, but playing defense and controlling your website's inbound link resume is just as important.
Background + Basics: What Is Google Penguin?
The Google Penguin algorithm addresses unsavory link-building and linking practices, penalizing sites that use non-organic techniques to build inbound links in an effort to improve their search engine rankings visibility. Google's team has evaluated huge swaths of data to learn more about "bad" – or non-organic – links, combing through the mountains of data on the Internet to locate the spots where bad links live.
With each iteration of the algorithm update, Google locates suspicious links, devaluing them and removing any equity they provide, negating any positive impact they might have on a recipient site's search visibility. The links that stand out to Google as bad either come from locations on the Internet that Google deems untrustworthy or in places with high "link velocity" – the rate at which a site acquires inbound links.
What Should Hoteliers Do?
Hoteliers should exercise caution in their link acquisition strategies and adopt a policy of quality over quantity. In the pre-Penguin landscape, search engines rewarded the pursuit of large quantities of less-than-relevant links. Post-Penguin, hoteliers and digital marketers must be more selective about the inbound links they choose to pursue.
Google values websites that provide relevant information about in-demand topics and provide added value for Internet users. Conversely, search engines punish sites that chase after large numbers of links with little regard for quality or context. When budgeting for digital marketing efforts, hoteliers need to consider SEO efforts and link portfolio management as one and the same.
- Perform Link Audits + Disavow Links as Needed – It's crucial to know where your links are coming from, which of those links are beneficial, and which could be dragging your site's SEO performance down. Enlisting a hotel digital marketing firm to assess your link profile can offer a snapshot of your site's current status and ideas for "addition by subtraction" – disavowal of low-quality and potentially harmful inbound links.
- Manage Links Through Google Search Console – Through Google's official Search Console interface, you can view the links pointing to your site, separating the quality links you attained through targeted public relations and marketing efforts and the lower-quality links that may have latched onto your site without your knowledge.
- Build Relevant Links Through Robust Marketing + PR – The best way to attract the natural, organic inbound links rewarded by Google is to offer unique value propositions and content on your website. Create a can't-miss special offer, author an interesting blog post, or host a newsworthy and unique event at the hotel. Each of these is likely to attract attention – and links – from valuable sources such as editorial websites.
- Create Quality Website Content – Working proactively to stock your site with quality content is the easiest way to attract links from veritable sources. Regularly publishing pages written by professional copywriters can work wonders, attracting the attention of influential sites that have the power to boost SEO through inbound linking. As a rule of thumb, you should strive to populate your site with the absolute best content about a given topic on the Internet at large.
Inbound link audits, management and disavowal should not be considered a value-add initiative. Taking a proactive approach to defensive link portfolio management is a cornerstone of a strong SEO and digital marketing plan.
About HEBS Digital
Founded in 2001, the firm is headquartered in New York City and has global offices in Las Vegas and Asia-Pacific. Through its Smart Guest Acquisition Suite, including the smartCMS®, Content Personalization Engine, Smart Data Marketing, and full-service digital consulting and marketing solutions, HEBS Digital helps hoteliers drastically boost direct bookings, lower distribution costs, and increase the lifetime value of guests. Its diverse client portfolio consists of top-tier luxury and boutique hotel chains, independent hotels, resorts and casinos, franchised properties and hotel management companies, convention centers, spas, restaurants, DMO and tourist offices.
Part of NextGuest Technologies, HEBS Digital and Serenata CRM, the most comprehensive Hotel CRM Suite today, are the creators of the hospitality industry's first Fully-Integrated Guest Engagement & Acquisition Platform.
Contact HEBS Digital's consultants at 1 (800) 649-5076 (North America), +64 (0) 9 889 8489 (Asia Pacific) or email@example.com.
Marketing Manager, HEBS Digital
Phone: (212) 752-9425