The New Google Penguin Update and Google+ Local Pages – What Does it Mean for SEO?

June 12, 2012 - 6 minutes read - Blog, SEO

So, Google has done it once again – created widespread panic throughout the internet. With all these dang animal updates how does one keep up!?! Very good question – it’s called we don’t sleep! 🙂 Just kidding, but seriously it is not an easy job keeping up with Google…

So first it was the cute little Panda:

and now it’s the cute little Penguin:

So what do all these Google zoo updates really mean? Is SEO dead?

SEO is definitely not dead, but it is for sure changing before our very eyes. did a great job at explaining some of the Penguin changes:

1. Overly-optimized sites will continue to be targets.
Based on Google’s stated interest in stopping sites that intentionally manipulate the natural search engine results pages (SERPs) from ranking well, it’s my expectation that we’ll continue to see future algorithm changes designed to punish indicators of over-optimization.

But simply saying “Don’t over-optimize your site,” isn’t realistic, as there’s no way to know which specific optimization metrics Google is able to measure and track. It’s also not possible to determine where the line between effective on-page SEO and over-optimization will be drawn.

For now, the best approach appears to be focusing on the quality of your site in terms of visitor interactions, content value and other on-site elements — not over employing complex SEO techniques designed to boost rankings.

2. Visitor engagement matters more than ever.
Another factor that I expect to be important in future ranking algorithm updates is the level of visitor engagement occurring on a site. Since Google promotes the sites that its users will find valuable, one might assume that sites that demonstrate high engagement will be rewarded in future updates.

Again, the specific metrics that the Google can detect and track in order to measure visitor engagement aren’t immediately apparent. As a general rule, a few of the specific items webmasters should focus on are the presence of customer reviews, article comments and social networking follow-through.

3. Content quality will grow in importance.
Although Google has made no secret of its desire to reward high-value content with top SERPs rankings, too many webmasters still rely on keyword-optimized or copied-and-pasted content to fill their pages.

Even if your site wasn’t affected by the Panda or Penguin updates, you shouldn’t assume that you’re safe. Google has made every indication that it intends to weed out low value results from the search results. Getting your content quality up now offers one of the best opportunities to protect your site from future changes.

So, the take-home for the new Penguin Algorithm:

On-Page SEO matters! And we aren’t just talking about YOUR website’s on-page factors. Take this as an example:

You have a perfectly optimized website:

  1. You don’t have any “keyword stuffing” on your website
  2. Your anchor links aren’t just full of keywords. They include phrases like “Call Us Today” or “Get a Free Quote”
  3. You are only using your main keywords once or twice throughout your articles
  4. You have quality content that readers would actually enjoy and find helpful
  5. You are using social media to engage readers and share your content

Ok so your website is covered, phew, Penguin safe… but don’t forget about your backlinks…

If you have backlinks (links to your site from others), and those backlinks are on websites that are poorly optimized, the Penguin will start a fight with you! True story and trust us the Penguin NEVER LOSES! So if you have a link on and has a bunch of spammy links and it totally over-optimized that can SEVERELY hurt your website rankings. Pay attention to where your backlinks are coming from. Quality backlinks only people! Stay away from spammy links on crappy websites and if you find your links on these sites get them removed ASAP.

Follow these steps and you’ll be Penguin-proof in no time!

Ok so now on the new Google+ Local Pages:

The short version – You need a Google+ Page if you want to dominate Google Places, which is now Google+ Local.

Also, your customers can no longer leave reviews if they have a gmail account – they MUST have a Google+ Page. Yes we know this is a pain in the butt but it’s Google’s way of taking over the social media-sphere and competing with Facebook.

If you want more details on how exactly to setup your Google+ Local page check out another great article from

How the New Google+ Local Tab Could Influence Local SEO

So that’s enough of the new Google updates for now. We know Mod Girl has been absent for a while and we do apologize…but we are rolling out some really cool new features soon! A new website, new look, new logo, new services, pretty much a new EVERYTHING! We think you are really going to like it. So, stay tuned for the new Mod Girl re-launch!

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