Should Self-Publishers Worry About Penguin?

google penguin

Less than two weeks ago we wrote a blog post entitled “How to Use SEO to Promote Your E-book”. Within four days of us posting, Google brought out their latest update, dubbed Penguin. So, following up from that post, we are asking the question, should self-publishers worry about Penguin?

The forums are awash with complaints of how search engine rankings have slipped for many sites. A number of companies who rely on their sites being listed in Google are reportedly going out of business. Petitions have sprung up calling for Google to reverse the update.

Self-publishers, as a whole, should not be drastically affected by the changes. If anything, they should find their e-books ranking higher in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) due to the sites using unfair Search Engine Optimization (SEO) methods losing their listings.

This assumes that the self-publisher only uses the e-book title as the main keywords. Any secondary keywords will be subject to the same scrutiny by Penguin as for other sites.

And as highlighted in the previous post, the only area, e-books can be optimized is in the on-line preview. If publishers follow the correct marketing procedures they shouldn’t have to worry about Penguin.

So, despite all that, what happens if you find your rankings diminished? Writers and publishers will also likely have their own websites which may have been subject to changes in the SERPs. Google has produced a feedback form for web owners to submit, should they feel they have been unfairly penalized.

There are also a number of actions that you can carry out in order to reverse the effect of the update. These guidelines should also be helpful when considering how you market future websites and E-book previews.

Most importantly, you should make sure your content is well written and detailed; avoid overuse of keywords. Link your site to a blog if you haven’t done so already. Keep the blog and the main site fresh with new articles of interest to your readers. Get rid of links that give the appearance of merely being swapped with little relevance to your site.

In fact, any two-way (or mutual) links should be discarded altogether. So should anchor text links that mirror exactly the landing text. Your home page should be updated frequently with fresh stories and, for example, customer reviews.

Use Google web tools to analyze your site. After all, they are free and whether we like it or not, Google is very much in the driving seat when it comes to SEO. Do not be tempted to purchase tools that claim to optimize your pages for Google rankings.

If in doubt, check out Google’s own SEO sites. Matt Cutts’ blog is an excellent resource and is widely quoted on many forums.

There are some technical tweaks that may be necessary, but that is outside the remit of this blog. There are a number of excellent SEO forums online, where expert help is usually available.

So, to summarize, in general, self-publishers should not have to worry about Penguin. Keep your reviews and your website filled with relevant, interesting content. Update your home page and your blog frequently, ideally daily. Use Google tools and resources. Avoid mutual links and shady link farms.

See you at the top of the Google rankings.

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