A few months ago, thousands of website owners woke up and found that their world had been turned upside down. While they were fast asleep, Google flipped the switch on a new update, codename: Penguin.
If you spend any time on marketing forums and/or blogs, you’ve probably seen the name thrown around… along with a bunch of swearing and symbols like these *#&@*!
The goal of the Penguin update, more or less, was to reward what Google considered to be useful, valuable, user-approved content. To do this, however, Google pretty much had to slap a bunch of sites that had employed a bunch of sneaky tactics that were designed to deceive Google’s algorithm into give them higher search rankings.
This is by no means is this the first time Google has done something like this… not by a long shot.
Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s spam team, gave us a heads-up at this year’s SXSW conference, hinting around at an “over optimization” penalty. Shortly thereafter, Penguin arrived.
Sites that Google deemed to be overly optimized, got penalized. Tons of other sites that were deemed to be spam were simply dropped from Google’s search index…
Another huge component of Penguin was to boost the value of social media in Google’s search results. That’s no big secret or anything… Google officials actually came out and said that.
So here’s are a few things I’ve noticed in the past few months since Penguin drastically changed the landscape at Google.
A handful of our sites immediately saw their traffic from Google skyrocket, and it’s remained high ever since. Bear in mind; we hadn’t changed anything significantly since the Penguin update — something else was clearly going on here.
Frankly, it took me and my team a while to reverse-engineer what was going on… then it hit me.
The website where we were seeing traffic spike weren’t simply out-competing other sites in their niches. It was more like they were the last ones left standing in the wake of Penguin. That’s when the ball really got going…
The Common Thread
Unraveling the mystery was as simple as figuring out what was similar about how we were promoting these companies online… YouTube.
Each of these websites were using YouTube videos to generate leads, and each had a highly ranked (if not top-ranked) YouTube video for a very competitive keyword in their industry.
For example, you can Google “doodle video” or “RO membrane cleaning” and see one of our videos sitting at the top of Google’s rankings. And yes, these were two of the companies that benefited handsomely from the “Penguin Update.”
After some testing, we’ve figured out how to consistently recreate the results, even if we don’t know exactly why Google is doing it. Of course, I’ve got my theories…
The SocialTube Theory
The traffic system we’ve designed to recreate these results is much more complicated than I can get into in an article, but the theory is actually fairly simple.
Basically, it boils down to two simple, non-technical forces that are often hugely underestimated when it comes to generating traffic online: Nepotism and prejudice.
As you probably know, Google owns YouTube, so it favors its own family. If you optimize your YouTube videos properly, your videos can get an awesome ranking in a very short time period on Google. It’s just straight up nepotism, as best we can tell…
BUT it also helps Google enhance its social search functionality — because YouTube is also a social networking site (though not very many people really thing of it as one).
This brings us to the second part of the SocialTube theory. Google (and Bing) aren’t big fans of relying on SEO to improve your search rankings. Mainly because SEO has been used to rank sites based on what SEO guru a company hired, not how helpful their website is.
That’s why Google has introduced quality scores and things like that.
Social search is the solution that they’re hoping will help better, more useful content rank higher in organic searches. That means, promoting YouTube videos via Facebook is an incredible way to build both social search relevance, while also boosting important factors like “time on page,” and generating tons of traffic.
Basically, what I’m saying is that we may never be able to fully comprehend the Penguin or the Google… but we can give it exactly what it wants are reap the benefits.
I go over all of the best methods I know of to give Google what it wants in my Social Tube Traffic System.