It seems as though the trend has been to leave a corporate job and enter the world of an Internet business, whether that is retailing through the internet, blogging, affiliate marketing, or a combination of it all. Although, can we really call it a trend, if it has deep roots, and has no sign of dissolving anytime soon?
In fact, I started my affiliate marketing business back in 1999, and everything took off from there. I am now active in the marketing world with far more than a blog, including podcasts, speaking engagements, eCourses, eBooks, and online trainings. I don’t see an end to it either. There is plenty of room for those who want to partake in what this Internet world has to offer.
From a personal side, my wife Arlene and I enjoy the flexibility it offers, from being able to help out with the family, attend more events, travel more, and the freedom our business brings with it. What we don’t miss are the long commutes and traffic jams, or mandatory meetings and hours. Those days are long gone.
I encourage anyone looking for a great lifestyle, without the demands of the corporate world, to jump in like we did. We have no regrets.
However, because our lifestyle and career are both directly linked to the Internet and technology, when something changes, we need to pay attention. And, something did.
Google Introduces the Penguin
Google will make changes from time to time, and made a big one on April 24th of this year. They introduced their latest algorithm, Penguin. Can it have an impact on your Internet business? Most definitely. If you aren’t careful about the quality of your website’s inbound links, even more so.
I started my affiliate marketing business long before I had even heard of Google. Back then, it was WebCrawler, AltaVista, and Excite. So, I have seen many changes in my time, many good, some not so good. I view this one as a ‘can be good’ change.
If you are careful about content that your backlinks reside in, then it should be a good one for you. And, if you are not careful about it, then the tuxedo-clad bird is going to bite you.
Penguin is NOT Replacing Panda
I want to first touch base on the rumors that Penguin is replacing Panda. It is not. They are two separate algorithms, doing different tasks in the Internet’s background.
Google’s Panda was designed to zero in on poor quality content, not spam, but rather content that is low in quality. Your material doesn’t have to be spam for Panda to notice it. If it is poorly written, with very little substance for the reader, Panda may have zapped it.
Arlene and I place certain guidelines to safeguard against poorly written material. But, even with those guidelines, we know that quality is in the eye of the beholder…and the beholder in this case is Google.
So, make sure your content isn’t keyword-stuffed and that it is well-researched, professionally written, and pertinent to what your readers are looking for, and you should be fine.
However, Penguin is something different.
Unlike Panda, Penguin does go after pages that are spamming Google. It’s no surprise they don’t like spam, and are going to do what they can to protect their search results from being clogged up with crappy, low, or no quality content. Those who are involved in link schemes that produce low quality backlinks to their sites are now in Google’s crosshairs.
It is not uncommon for a blogging network to have 2,000 – 3,000 sites set up through a massive multi-site WordPress installation … with the goal of selling links. The owners of these networks often make sure that there are multiple names, server locations, and IP addresses to hide the fact that it is one large network. To say that Google frowns upon this practice is an understatement.
These “blog networks” are notorious for not paying attention to quality, because they are spread too thin focusing on quantity instead of quality. And, this poor quality content typically contains backlinks that are now looked upon by Google as spam.
Unfortunately, if you are receiving links from these types of sites, your content, no matter how high in quality, might have been inadvertently included with these backlinking schemes.
It’s not over though…
Is it Permanently Penalized?
If your site has been flagged by Penguin, then no, it’s not. Penguin is an algorithmic update, without any human intervention, unlike Panda.
The good news is that as long as you don’t have thousands of spam links pointing at your site, Google will lift penalties without having to go through a reconsideration process. However, it will take some effort on your part.
According to Matt Cutts from Google, once you have taken all the incoming ‘SPAM’ links down from the page, or whatever the characteristics are that is flagging Google, the page will then be re-indexed. After a period of time Google will automatically reprocess your page. At that time it should pop back up and increase in ranking.
So, remove all the spam links leading into your page, and you should be fine. I know it might seem as daunting as climbing Mount Everest, but I’m just the messenger…so, don’t shoot!
Anytime you have been penalized by Google, yet unsure what you did:
- Look through Google’s guidelines thoroughly
- Ask questions
- Have a 3rd party take a look
You might not technically be at fault. For example, you may have purchased an expired domain name, unknowingly banned by Google in the past. If this happens, just remove the spam links and you should be fine. But, it’s good to know what happened, so it’s not repeated in the future.
Protecting your Site from the Penguin’s Long Arm
If the *spammy* links to your site have been removed, which I understand can be a mountain of work, then because Penguin an algorithmic update, your site should be on a better footing.
The task at hand now would be to go about the process of gathering in high quality backlinks to your site. I know it’s easy to say, and hard to do, but solid top 10 rankings are a worthwhile goal, and should bring you natural traffic for years to come.
I don’t believe Google intends to make things difficult for legitimate online businesses, just the opposite. Getting rid of the scams and spams will lend more credibility to those of us who play by the rules and want to succeed.
James Martell and his wife Arlene have been in the affiliate marketing business since 1999. They share their wealth of knowledge through podcasts, eBooks, and many speaking engagements at various venues and events such as Affiliate Summit. Even though they are busy sharing with others how to make money with affiliate marketing, James and Arlene also find plenty of time to enjoy their life with their kids in a seaside community near Vancouver.