Black Hat SEO Content: How to Write Web Copy in a Post-Penguin World


"Try to make a site that is so fantastic you become an authority in your niche." --Matt Cutts, head of Google's web spam team

Google Penguin flew into our world a little over a month ago. Penguin is the name of Google’s new search algorithm which attempts to crack down on web spam and useless content. If you’ve been writing effective website copy, you probably don’t have anything to worry about. Standards are tightening as Google gets increasingly better at detecting a website’s usefulness. The old principles still apply: write for how your target readers search, but always create content intended more for people than search engines.

Rethink your misconceptions about “over-optimization”

Even though it’s a bit nonsensical, the word “over-optimized” strikes fear in to the hearts of many website owners. To “optimize” is to make something as effective as possible. Something can’t be OVER-peak-efficiency, but search engine optimization can be done incorrectly. When SEO fails, the website is more accurately described as under-optimized.

Google Penguin is the next step in search engine algorithms growing in their ability to distinguish between “black hat” SEO trickery and valuable content. Here are a few of Penguin’s crackdowns:

Content spinning:

Content spinning attempts to trick a search engine into thinking repeated copy is unique by mixing up synonyms, verb-tenses, and the order of sentences or paragraphs. Content spinning is done by either computer programs or unscrupulous copywriters. This type of “content” still counts as spun when it’s taken from your own website, but stealing someone else’s is a greater offense to both Google and ethics. As a web copywriter, you’re going to use web-based sources, but you need to make your copy offer something to the reader. Conjoining ideas is often a great start, because while information from one source is plagiarism, information from three or four is just good research.


Keyword Stuffing:

Keyword stuffing is the practice of repeating keywords throughout your content for the purpose of fooling a search engine. Notice the pattern? Unscrupulous “optimizers” try to fake their websites’ value, and Google penalizes them. Rinse and repeat. Penguin’s goal is to root out unethical attempts to manipulate search engine rankings like blatantly inorganic keyword stuffing.

As a copywriter, you should continue to keyword appropriately. Keywords are a great way to direct search engines, especially in links, meta-tags, and headlines. Always remember you’re writing for how people search more than you’re writing for Google. Keyword saturation still helps, but generating useful content continues to be the most important thing a writer can do. In this vein, penguin increases Google’s emphasis on related keywords and variants. Writers take heed: you don’t need to spend a lot of time coming up with sentence structures including a precise keyword-tense. You don’t need to throw out a perfectly good sentence just because Google AdWords says the word form ending in “s” gets a few more monthly searches.

iNET Web’s copywriters receive rewards from Google Penguin, not penalties.

Google’s increased efficiency is good news for writers. As web spam and black-hat SEO becomes less effective, search engines will demand more manually generated, quality copy. Google continues to measure the time viewers spend on a particular website, so deceiving a search engine won’t ever match the value of producing lots of useful, interesting content. Google Penguin is just the latest step in a line of updates designed to sniff out copy with real human value. Expect future updates to continue down the same path.

At iNET Web, our copywriters are celebrating Penguin as we watch web-marketing wannabes toil in mediocrity.

Corrupt copy-pasters and syntax scramblers are being penalized for their shortcuts, while our creative genius inspired websites continue to hold firm atop search engine rankings. The iNET difference has always been about doing things RIGHT, so Google Penguin merely increases the importance of our high quality content.

Our total online marketing platforms connect your business’s value to the needs and desires of customers. To experience your own measurable, profit generating results, contact the Milwaukee web designers and Milwaukee SEO Specialists at iNET today.

June 2012

Creative is an intangible. There aren’t many great creatives in radio. In branding there are less. In strategizing there are even less. Most companies have no BRAND. The products and services are amazing, the businesses are often brilliant. There is just nothing for consumers to grab and buckle themselves into. The web sites are also no influence in creating the brand, brand strategy, ad concept or ads.

iNET creative has dozens of mind traps and hooks. Duplicitous meanings and meanings left for the listener to decipher or wonder at. While these traps can get a listener stuck in a thought midstream over two, three, twenty exposures they force acceptance of the message and action. When they discover the hidden hooks listeners feel like insiders, part of the story and part of the brand.

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