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Google is always updating their algorithms to help clean up search results and make sure that users are getting the most relevant results. Hoping to stop spammy Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques, Google is always revising their algorithms and these changes keep marketers on their toes.

We often hear financial advisors express their concern, and sometimes frustration, with their SEO results. It can seem overwhelming to keep up with Google’s ever-changing processes, but by understanding what SEO is and isn’t, you can start to approach your SEO strategy differently. Let’s look at one update, Google Penguin, and how it can impact your marketing.

What is Google Penguin?

Google Penguin is one of the algorithms that the software company introduced in 2012 regarding backlinks. Backlinks are links from other sites that direct traffic to your site and, when used correctly, can generate positive SEO results. But some companies were manipulating these links and polluting search results. These link schemes would sell backlinks, have fake links, or generate false content for links. Some users hoping to skirt the system spent thousands of dollars on bulk backlinks and other link building loopholes.

Google Penguin sought to fix this issue by cleaning up backlinks and penalizing sites that were abusing this SEO trick. The algorithm scanned sites for the relevancy of their links and whether or not they were using backlinks correctly. Sites that didn’t follow Penguin’s guidelines were penalized. 

What is Google Penguin 4.0?

On September 23, Google announced that Penguin is now part of their core algorithm, meaning that it will provide real-time updates to increase and decrease rankings regularly. Previously, the algorithm was updated every few months, but now it will be an ongoing process.

According to Google, “Penguin’s data is refreshed in real time, so changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after [Google] re-crawls and re-indexs a page.”

What Penguin Means for You

You’ve likely heard the term SEO floating around marketing materials since the beginning of inbound marketing. The coveted top results on Google have always been most business owners’ goal. But being number one on Google is unrealistic and likely not applicable to your business. Instead, financial advisors should focus on how they can provide value to users and pull them in with content instead of SEO “hacks.”

Penguin focuses on backlinks, which can be a great way to generate traffic to your site. Some ways you can generate real, quality backlinks include:

  • Networking with other professionals in your niche market and encouraging them to share your posts
  • Sharing your recent blog posts on social media and other channels
  • Posting content to outside publications

All of these marketing techniques will establish yourself as a thought leader and generate real, quality traffic back to your site. 

Other SEO Tips

White Hat SEO refers to using optimization strategies, such as writing content and using keywords, to generate real traffic. As compared to Black Hat tricks, like the link buying mentioned earlier, White Hat tips can help you in your SEO efforts. Some of Google’s favorite White Hat tips include:

  • Offering quality content regularly
  • Using descriptive keywords and tags (but not spamming them)
  • Making an easy to navigate site with regularly updated content
  • Having images and video on your site
  • Having a mobile-responsive site

It’s nearly impossible to keep up with Google and their changing formulas, but by approaching SEO as a long-term project, and not a set of magic tricks or keywords, financial advisors can increase the rank of their website and credibility online.