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The Penguin Updates and your Blog’s SEO: Tips on Design and General Optimization

Blogs represent the perfect kind of website format when it comes to SEO. This is because they encompass all the most useful traits that a website can have if its owner wants to take the most advantage possible of all the most important optimization strategies.

On the one hand, a blog provides you as a webmaster with all the usual opportunities for optimizing your content, images, URL’s and website design in general, and on the other hand, you’re also working with a site format that is the absolute best for one thing that all comprehensive optimization heavily involves; regular fresh content.

Static websites don’t typically go through too many content changes and because of this, they can grow stale in the search rankings and lose their relevance to the competition. This can be changed, but a static site’s format isn’t well designed for the prospect of frequently adding new pages and information, particularly interactive information that also invites reader comments and interaction.

Considering all these things, it’s no wonder that blogs have become one of the most popular new website formats in existence, started at a rate of several hundred thousand per day and increasingly becoming a “must have ” necessity for many static business, political and social websites.

For the time being, Google and other major search engines still favor older content over newer materials in their search queries, but this is going to change over time as ranking practices and the ability to detect low quality we pages improve; more and more newer pages of content will be more readily trusted to have a higher ranking.

To be ready for this, you need a blog, either as your main page or as part of a more general static URL presence online. To help you with doing this right, here are some post Penguin SEO tips for your blog, covering both a design perspective and general tactics.

General SEO Tips

In a nutshell, Penguin attacked and either deranked or delisted websites and blogs that were flooding the search rankings with thinly informative and keyword stuffed content, as well as punishing websites whose link building policies (an important part of optimization strategy) were being artificially generated through link farm backlinking, link buying, link spam and creating backlinks on content farms. Thanks to these changes that the algorithm affected, the really important parts of SEO that have always been stable now stand out more to raise a sites search ranking. Here they are:

1. Quality Content for Human Readers is King

At the core of any effort to promote a website and slowly make it popular is the need for solid content, a large, well established base of it upon which to hook readers. This has always been the most important aspect of getting people to find your website and thus also getting Google to index it higher.

You can’t cheat on creating this content base. Copying text from others, filling your site with thin but keyword heavy content and in any way failing to put an effort into creating something unique and engaging for your readers to find value in is a recipe for failure down the road, regardless of what kind of SEO tricks you try.

2. Spread Interest Naturally

This is one of the white hat SEO link building tools that will work best for the long run; by creating valuable content that is useful and informative or very unique within your niche, you will create a steady following of repeat visitors that are essentially a fan base for you. These people are your blog’s best friends: why? Because they will share links to your page on their own websites, on their own blogs and on their own social media accounts. Over time sharing by people whose friends may have similar interests as them will create both an expanded fan base of repeat visitors for your blog and also a completely organic backlink profile that Google will eventually notice.

3. Guest Post your way to More and Better Inbound Links

A second, related, method of creating a link profile of organic backlinks is to offer guest posts on other high quality blogs that are relevant to your own. If you’ve taken the previous steps of actually delivering consistent quality content and building up a reader base that trusts you within your niche, then you should have created both the trust and social connections to find somebody who has their own blog or website and is willing to let you occasionally post there and include a link back to content on your own pages. Take advantage of this and work at finding guest posting opportunities at every turn amongst higher quality websites or blogs.

4. Stay Away from Spam

The above mentioned strategies may seem a bit plodding, simplistic and boring to some readers but they are your absolute best bet for long term search engine stability and consistent rank based popularity. They are also your best path for creating a real based of dedicated followers that buy your products, buy your services and turn your blog into a truly valuable piece of property.

Black hat tactics are not only becoming more and more difficult thanks to algorithm changes such as Penguin and Panda, they will continue to become harder as time goes by. Furthermore, anything you build through such black hat tactics is unlikely to maintain a stable Google rank indefinitely. Do you really want that sort of stress on your mind?

Design and SEO

SEO for your blog isn’t just about off-page tactics; it also has a lot to do with now you design your blog itself. Luckily, the basics of design based SEO are fairly straightforward for blogging; just follow the following basic rules and you should be alright.

As a first rule, use very clean code and internal navigation that is search engine spider friendly. You can do this most easily by simply hosting and building your blog over top of an established Content Management Framework such as WordPress. Their code design is already search friendly, they have all sorts of optimization plugins available free to improve your pages and creating an excellent and extremely capable blog is extremely easy and non-technical with WordPress.

As a second general rule of design based SEO, make everything as findable to the search bots as possible. Have the permalinks to all your blog posts consist of brief descriptions instead of just random numbers or letters; add quick descriptive HTML attributes to all your images and create a blog menu format that is easy to use and opens your entire site to easy navigation.


Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.