9 Secrets to Blogging for Google Penguin

Last Updated on June 1, 2016  

David Risley
Founder, Lead Instructor of Blog Marketing Academy

I have a confession.

5 years ago when I left my executive position in the media industry I had a dirty little problem. I wanted to convert my skills in SEO and video into my own online business. But I had no idea how to build a site readers would actually read. Then I met David Risley. After reading (and even more stealing) his stuff, I found the secret to my problem. Content is what matters.

Now I consult clients all over the world. Mostly on content management for search engine optimization using Google Penguin compliance.

Let me guess .. You have a blog. Or maybe a site you want to turn into an authority site. So what do you do? Probably the biggest mistake everyone else is fumbling with these days. You write. Then post. Next, write more. Thereafter, guess what? Keep going wild writing and posting. Only, at some point you begin to wonder.

Is all of this writing actually helping my:

  • Search engine rankings?
  • Readership?
  • Conversions into prospects?

If you’re struggling to improve your rankings, readership and conversions think one thing: Google Penguin.

In April 2012, Google released the Penguin algorithm update. Part of it penalized sites using non-compliant SEO and content. Some sites went from #1 on Google to #211 overnight.

When I speak with people about SEO, often I hear the wimpy whining. It goes like this, “Oooh, I hate Google and SEO.”

You can hate. But you can also love. As in love seeing the benefit of writing for Google Penguin compliance. Ouch. More writing? Nope. Just the opposite actually.

You’ve already done the writing. But now you need to edit your post content to comply with Google Penguin. Why? You will love the answer.

No one else is doing it.

In May of 2012, I accepted a new client in the forex hosting industry. They had very cut throat competition. We brought them from #96 for a forex hosting keyword with over 5000 exact searches per month to #4. How? Google Penguin content compliance.

How to Edit Content for Google Penguin

  1. Start by adding your target keyword into your title.
  2. Add your target keyword into your title. Then add it as an H1 tag into your text content. If you’re using a WordPress CMS, adjust your theme to include your target keyword into your title as an H1 tag. If not, add your keyword into your post as a simple H1 tag.
  3. Your next step is to add your keyword somewhere in your text as a H2 tag.
  4. Moving on, add your keyword into your text content as a H3 tag.
  5. Bold your keyword somewhere in your text. I try to write text so it is easy to read. Thus, I usually will bold my H2 and H3 tags to keep the style consistent.
  6. Add an image into your post or page. Name it whatever you like. But be sure the alternative text field (alt-tag) of the image is your keyword.

Sound too Easy?

It is. But these are the nuts and bolts of Google Penguin compliance for genuine organic SEO. Doing so can give your site a good increase in your Google Penguin goal of improving your organic rankings.

  1. Add your keyword into the first sentence.
  2. Include your keyword in your last sentence.
  3. Lastly, use your keyword in anchor text somewhere on your site.

Warning: try to use your keyword in all of your text no more than 2%. Thus, for 300 words you would your keyword occurrence would be 6 times. Also, Google now gives preferential organic rankings for post or pages that offer 300 or more words of text.

Google Penguin & Keyword Density

The folks that created the Google Penguin algorithm suggest 1-4%. My findings are that 1% is too little. 4% might be better but a conservative approach is what works at this writing. This post has a keyword density for the phrase Google Penguin of 2.0%.

You can recover from Google Penguin using these simple tips.

If you want to see these Google Penguin elements displayed in a post schematic, visit http://seoforwebsites.org. The post will be featured on the homepage center slider. Visit http://seoforwebsites.org today for your FREE SEO site audit (really free—we won’t try to sell you anything!).


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  • A really simple and straightforward explanation of what to do about Google Penguin. Im a Journalist working with a New Media related independent and bilingual news websites “The News Tribe” and “The Techno Tribe” where I learned that SEO is still the bunch of black and white hat techniques for many bloggers and new media users.
    I think time to be needed to make situation clear for newbies and power users as well.

  • I’m going through this as we speak and each of these strategies are on my checklist.

    For anyone who’s taking this advice to heart and is going to make your posts Penguin-friendly, I say make yourself a checklist. Trying to remember to do all this and remember if you’d done the italicized keyword or the anchor text keyword already, etc. will be a huge headache. But if you use a checklist, you can tick them off and forget them.

    Oh, and run any new posts you write through this same checklist.

    The other thing I would recommend doing is to make a list of your most popular posts and prioritize doing these FIRST. Don’t initially treat all your posts equally. Make sure that the content that deserves attention, gets it first.

    We took a big hit from Penguin but with the work I’ve done, I can already notice the positive effect. I can’t wait till even more time passes.

  • Hi,
    Nice to remember, but for the anchor you must’nt overoptimize… The recommanded anchor links avec 40% optimised with you majors keywords, 40% with your domain name or products names and 20% with the “click here” / “Here” / … words.

    The anchors are one of the thinks to take care…

  • I say write for real people and screw what Google wants, period. Find a need, and fill it. You will always prevail!

    That isn’t to say you should ignore completely good practices, but if your mindset is for the user, everyone wins….

  • Okay, this actually sounds like a pretty simple re-write! I’ll give it a shot, thanks.

  • So, to comply, I need to do everything I hate. I’d rather simply direct people to Google proper, have them type ‘My 168 Project’ and click I’m feeling lucky, as it would be faster. That way, I wouldn’t have to radically affect my writing style.

    I didn’t get a paying gig because I refused to comply to these techniques as well. My style is my style. I invite you and everyone else here to perform the above exercise, and let me know if you don’t find my site.

    • I think this post has some good guidelines, but it isn’t complete. There are factors at play here.

  • lorrainegrula says:

    I appreciate everything you say, but, I always did that stuff and penguin still killed me. If this were all there is to it, I’d still be ranking well. I’m not.

    • Brad Gerlach says:

      Yep, I did all of this prior to Penguin as well and my one site was DESTROYED by Penguin. I didn’t use the same keyword in each tag though. I changed it all up. I was under the impression that using the same keyword like that was over-optimizing. Funny how Penguin was supposedly an over-optimizing penalty and my site was ranking in the top 5 for multiple keywords and I was under-optimized in regards to using the keyword in each H Tag and was still hit. That being said, in the last month, I have seen some life coming back to the site. Traffic is coming again from Google. It seems that I was penalized and the penalty is slowly wearing off.

      • lorrainegrula says:

        Glad to meet someone with the same issues as me! I too tried to not over optimize by using the same keywords over and over, but sometimes I was guilty of that. Perhaps I should have paid more attention to keyword density, but I always just tried to sound normal and write for humans, so I varied things naturally. My rankings have indeed recovered a small amount since the big plunge. But I am nowhere near where I was. Good luck to you!

        • Brad Gerlach says:

          oh yeah, I am no where close to where I was! Like you, I didn’t worry about keyword density as much as I tried to make it sound human. Good luck to you as well.

  • Carmelo Bryan says:

    Wow, what a simple and straightforward explanation of what to do about Google Penguin. It’s really not all that complicated, is it? And no one is really going back to do this on their sites! Nifty.

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