During the search and internet marketing version of March Madness that is otherwise known as SMX West, Google Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts announced new updates with Google’s Penguin and Panda algorithms, along with new link network targets in 2013.

Speaking as part of The Search Police panel, Google’s head of search spam claimed there will be a large Penguin update in 2013 – an update that he believes will be one of the more talked-about Google algorithm updates this year. According to Cutts, Google’s search quality team is working on a major update to the Penguin algorithm, one Cutts termed “very significant”.

Since the last Penguin update on record was Penguin 3 in October of 2012 (with Penguin 2 coming in May of 2012, and the initial release a month earlier), the new feathers on this Penguin will no doubt be significant and shiny – and will likely send ripples up and down the SEO industry iceberg.

The impending Panda algorithm update was followed by an additional announcement by Cutts just two days later, on March 13, and marked the first update since version 24 on January 22, 2013. This move meant that the Panda algorithm will soon be more integrated into Google’s overall continuous algorithm updates – meaning that Panda refreshes will start to be less severe and noticeable to webmasters and SEO masters. The upcoming Panda updates will be more real-time, as opposed to being pushed out manually.

As for the link network, Cutts confirmed that Google had recently targeted a link network for penalization, and will go after even more as 2013 unfolds. Cutts said that Google will even release another update in the next week or two that specifically targets another large link network.

Google has infamously penalized link networks several times over the years, with the BuildMyRank.com link network being one of the most recent to feel the online giant’s wrath. In fact, Google has gone on record time and time again by claiming that paid links can and will result in a penalty – something that came to fruition recently when U.K.-based online floral giant Interflora was busted in a paid-link sting.

But just what does all of this mean for your webmaster? Your SEO specialist? Your business? Your brand? Your bottom line?

And as 2013 kicks into full swing, just how can one stay out of the proverbial Google jungle?

Much of the answer, as is often the case in many of life’s endeavors, can be found in one word:


As a great tagline once proclaimed, Quality should be Job One. That (allegedly) applied to Ford and its automobiles in the 1980s, and it applies equally to your brand and your SEO content in 2013…and beyond.

You can start by creating content for the sake of content – and the human beings who crave and consume it. And NOT doing so simply for SEO purposes.

Give people something they want to read. Something that answers a question about a topic. Such as your product. Your services. Wider issues across your industry. Or even bigger-picture topics that transcend your business, its offerings and its category.

In other words, if you want to stay out of the Google jungle, learn to really see the jungle for the trees.

Another way to fine-tune this kind of focus is to concentrate less on “getting links”…and instead turn the clock and the page back to the more traditional methods and practices of “getting coverage.”

Type “tips on getting coverage” into Google’s search engine (remember when that was the only thing Google was known for?), and you’ll be hit with a barrage of tips, techniques, recommendations, suggestions and even edicts from a wide array of marketing mavens, PR professionals and other self-anointed experts.

Of course, like anything, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to this topic. But one would do well to follow certain pieces of advice on this topic, including (but certainly not limited to):

  • Read and research relentlessly: It’s been said that life is for learning. And as long as you’re living, you can be learning. And doing the reading and research that leads to learning. The more you broaden and polish the scope of your knowledge about not just your business, but the industry and world it exists in, the more you’ll naturally gravitate towards others who are curious and inquisitive. And the more quality content you will produce…and they will read, share, guest publish, etc. It’s wise to use social media in this capacity, particularly Twitter. You can learn more about how to use social media to boost your business with our informative and FREE social media eBook.
  • Build relationships: Media types can be a fickle bunch at times, and many of them have been conditioned to be somewhat skeptical, if not outright jaded. But just like anyone else, they are human beings. And the stronger, realer and more solid your relationship is with them…the better your chances of receiving media coverage.  Connecting in person over a cup of coffee never hurts matters, nor does sending out solid, detailed and to-the-point story press releases and “pitches.” Again, social media is a wonderful ally here, especially Twitter – which has become a flat-out necessity for reporters and newshounds everywhere. You’ll also want to publish your press releases on your website.
  • Write and publish eBooks and Whitepapers: You’ll want to keep your blog fresh and flowing and chock-full of informative goodness, of course. But you can make even more progress towards receiving solid media coverage if you also produce and publish informative eBooks and Whitepapers. These are great to not only place on your blog for digital distribution, but also to physically produce and provide as handouts following speaking engagements and appearances at conferences and seminars.

These are just a few examples of the kind of thinking and execution that will not only keep you safe and clear from the tangled mess of the Google jungle, but also ultimately get you the links that are actually worth something.

What do you think? Have you had any experiences – either in or out of the Google jungle – that you want to share with us? If so, we’d love to hear your stories and feedback in the comments section below.

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