In April 2012, Google updated the way it ranked websites, affecting thousands of page rankings. Intended to deter practices such as keyword stuffing, using duplicate content, and link schemes, the change had an unintended effect of marking innocent sites. The mighty search engine did show empathy for those who were affected by the update. Shortly after the Penguin update, it set up a forum for those who felt their site got unfair treatment; many of these site owners reported web spam still ranking higher than their sites. However, there are steps you can take to ensure your site won’t suffer from Google’s updates. The best weapon in your marketing arsenal is to implement a few SEO practices that will help with your search engine rankings in the modern era. How to Stick with the Penguins Keywords, as any SEO company will tell you, are still one of the most important elements in website optimization. The trend has been to include fewer and no more than what seems natural in the text. More specific keywords make sense from a logical perspective, and ones known as long tail keywords can help put you on top of the queries. To use long tail keywords, include “cellphones with keyboards and Wi-Fi” as an alternative to more frequently searched terms such as “cellphones.” Google displays a title for all sites that appear in its results. Fit the most appropriate terms in the title because it is the first thing people see when clicking onto the website. Using key terms in the website header is also an effective practice, yet doesn’t carry as much weight as it used to. At the same time, relevance to the page and the website is still important and can be a boost for rankings. Pay Attention to Content Content is perhaps the most important tool in SEO, but in addition to your own site, pay attention to what is behind the links. Internal links not only make navigating a site easier, but also help Google monitor the content on all of your pages. With the Google Penguin update, the sites from which people get to yours are also factored into the equation. The quality of the sites with links to yours can have an effect on your own ranking. In addition, the search engine tracks images on your website. Google’s rankings now put more importance on the written content, or alt text, which describes the pictures and appears on image search queries. Image descriptions should ironically not include keywords. If written appropriately, you can use the alt text policy to your advantage. Website optimization is a constantly changing field and is heavily dependent on changes made to search engine algorithms. Keep up with the updates, and you maximize your chances for a high ranking with the search engines. The extra work can be beneficial to your online reputation and business success. Byline: Carl is an aspiring writer who currently works for an SEO company . When he’s not working he loves blogging about anything and everything that crosses his mind. He’s constantly striving to strengthen his writing skills and is continuously grateful that the Internet allows him to share his thoughts with the world. Image Credit: 1 .