On May 22nd, Google once again performed a major update to their algorithm. They call this update Penguin 2.0. If you’re familiar with Penguin 1.0, then you know this update was targeted at websites that are using black hat techniques to build links to their websites trying to manipulate Google into showing their sites higher in the search engine results.

All SEO’s use some sort of manufactured link building tactics, even the ones that say they don’t, so for all intense purposes of this article, we want you to assume that nobody was safe from this update. Not you, not your friends and not your competitors. The update, just like Penguin 1.0, was cocked and fired to penalize websites that are using these methods in excess.

The good news is this. If you, your webmaster, or your SEO company haven’t received that scary email in your inbox from Google’s Webmaster Tools, then your site probably wasn’t affected by the update. Don’t get us wrong, this update is still rolling out and could still cause some penalties for you in the future, but if you haven’t gotten the message yet stating that you were penalized for unnatural link building methods, you’re probably safe.

Here’s a great video from Matt Cutts about the update.

If you were affected, you’re probably beating your head against a wall trying to figure out how to get your rankings back.

Below are some tips for recovering your rankings Post Penguin 2.0. It’s no secret that if you don’t adhere to Google’s Strict Guidelines, your site will be dropped from their index, and you will disappear from their search results until you turn things around.

Here are the four most important things you can do to start to get your rankings back.

1.) Examine your content closely. No matter what you hear, content is still king and always will be. With all the updates Google has rolled out in the past two years, this is becoming more and more apparent in their search results.

If you’re writing content solely for the purpose to assist in your link building efforts, Google will pick up on on this and they will penalize you. They aren’t interested in sending people to your power pages or landing page. They are interested in sending people to a website that has good, quality, unique content about a specific subject matter.

2.) Be More Social. Social media is very important. Not to just have a social media page on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+, but to have one that you actively use and engage your customers with. Being part of social media means being social. Platforms like Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn are amazing at giving your business a brand and a customer base, you just have to know what you’re doing.

If you don’t, we recommend that you hire a reputable SEO company to either manage your social media accounts for you or provide training for your in house staff to ensure that they know the right tactics to utilize social media on behalf of your company or brand.

3.) Thoroughly inspect your link portfolio. This is probably the single most important factor. Download a list of all the links that are coming into your website and inspect them. You can download the links from your Google Webmaster Tools account. Make sure the links are coming from relevant websites and not some spammy link building network that your SEO company put you in. Remove the links/articles/posts from the spammy websites as quickly as you can. All of them. The damage must be reversed. We understand that this could mean you have hundreds, maybe even thousands of links to inspect, but this is not the step you skip. This is a must!

At the same time, you should start building new links into your website that come from relevant sites that have some sort of page rank and/or authority. People are misguided when they’re told that the number of links coming into your site are what’s important. It’s true that volume does play a factor in Google’s mad equation (or algorithm), but the fact of the matter is; a link from an authoritative website that’s relevant to yours, will outweigh a thousand spammy links with ease.

4.) Rethink your marketing for the future, not today.  This is a solid piece of advice folks. If you want your website to gain good page rank and genuine authority from Google, you need to adhere to their guidelines and create a marketing campaign that will last. Don’t be impatient. Seriously. Long lasting rankings, the kind you want, usually take some time to build, but that time will pay off when you won’t have to worry about future Google updates. Doing it the right way will ensure you gain good rankings and they stick for the long run.

If you’re doing it yourself, or hiring an SEO company to do it for you, make sure that you, or they, are doing things the right way.

The right way to build links is to manually write good quality articles for your guest blogging and link building efforts and strategically placing these articles on sites that offer similar information and have some sort of domain authority themselves.

It also means being social and properly optimizing your website. No keyword stuffing. Since the Panda update, over optimization is now something you can be penalized for. Be very careful on how you do your on-page optimization.

After you’ve taken some of the steps above, visit this link, Googles Domain Reconsideration Request, and complete the short form and ask Google to forgive you.

We hope that you weren’t affected, but if you’re reading this, chances are that you were. Please take our advice seriously. We’ve been in the game for a long time and understand why Google does these things. Believe it or not, as harsh as it may sound, it’s for the best.

Good luck with your recovery and if you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us or any other professional SEO company to get some help.