Last week I wrote an article about simplified SEO for medical practices. This week I’ll get into a little more advanced search engine optimization. Namely, the latest algorithm changes Google made in its Penguin update, as well as some other Google search announcements.

First of all, what is Penguin? Does that have anything to do with Panda (Google’s other recent update to their algorithm)? Well, Penguin is Google’s latest attempt to become more accurate in their search results, more specifically, penalizing link spammers. Panda was late year’s update that focused more on quality on-page content.

So what exactly is a link spammer and how does this affect my medical site? A link spammer is someone who attempts to grow the number of backlinks to their website by spamming other sites. The most common form of link spam is found on blogs, where people leave completely irrelevant links back to their website in the comments section. This reflects poorly on the website, as it shows you’re not properly maintaining it, and now, it affects the spammers themselves.

If you’re commenting on a blog post, make sure you’re doing so in a responsible fashion, because you could be penalized now. This is a new finding, and frankly one that raises many questions. The biggest question is: what would prevent a business from creating fake spammy links to a competitor in order to sabotage their rankings? Only time will tell as I’m sure this strategy will be tested.

The bottom line for achieving good rankings is naturally increasing backlinks to your website from blogs, forums, directories and other sources that aren’t deemed “spammy” by Google. Also, if you’re running a blog, specifically a WordPress blog, remember to use a plugin like Askimet to help filter out spam comments from ever even reaching your dashboard.

In other Google news, the search engine giant is rolling out a new layout called the Knowledge Graph, which they claim is the “first step in the next generation of search.” Google is just starting to introduce this new layout, so I’ll have more details about it in a follow up article, but the essence of the update is to provide more data, in the form of an new column, to better address certain queries. This includes topic summaries from sources like Wikipedia, links to different sets of results based on the contextual meaning of a search term, and ultimately, more diverse results that you can easily skim through to find the most relevant.

If you have any questions about the latest Penguin updates by Google, or about SEO for your medical practice, then leave Turbo a note here or call us directly at 877-673-7096 x2.