Holy moly has Google ever been busy with algorithm updates recently! Just a few short weeks ago Google made the 27th update to Panda and last Friday they rolled out Penguin 3.0, the 4th update to this particular piece of the algorithm.
Panda and Penguin are Google’s most famous updates because of the negative impact they had on many website’s rankings when they were rolled out. After many websites plunged in Google’s search engine result pages, SEOs had even more motivation to abide by Google’s guidelines.
What is the Penguin Algorithm update?
As most of us know by now, links pointing to your website act like online recommendations and help boost your sites rankings in Google’s SERPs.
Google launched the Penguin update in April 2012 with the intention to catch websites that were buying links or obtaining links through networks designed only to help websites rank higher. If your site had links that were added in exchange for money or were using the same anchor text over and over, your site probably fell in rankings.
How did websites recover from the first few Penguin updates?
In order to recover from this algorithm update, you had to go out and remove as many links as you could that would be considered “spammy” by Google. This means any links that you paid for or had coming in from link networks or “spammy” sites had to go.
To get these shady links removed, one had to contact every website that had a link from their site to yours and simply ask them to remove the link. Or you could use Google’s new Disavow link tool which was designed to tell Google to disregard a certain link to your website. This tool is helpful if you were unable to remove the link yourself or if you found out your competitors had been building crappy links to your site. Now you can simply ask Google to disregard that link.
Once you took the time to clean up your links, you still had to wait for another algorithm update to see if your changes were recognized by Google or not.
Those who took the time to clean up their links have been waiting a full year to see if their efforts have had any impact on their rankings as the last update was back in October 2013. This is why this update has been so anticipated.
Google has suggested that they will continue to update this algorithm more frequently in the future.
What can you do to ensure you don’t get hit?
1. Ensure you are not buying links in any way. If you advertise on a site, not through Google Adwords, ensure the link back to your website is a no follow link.
2. Monitor any links pointing to your website through tools such as Google Webmaster tools and Moz Open Site Explorer.
3. Utilize Googles Disavow link tool to remove any shady links pointing to your site.
4. Ensure you are paying attention to any links flagged as spam in Google Webmaster tools.
5. Only build links from non-spammy sites. Websites that are spammy could be sites with thin content, lots of advertising, duplicated copy and lots of links pointing to other sites just for the purpose of providing links.
6. Don’t start removing every link you see, if you see a link that’s a good link, you want to keep it. There have been stories of people trying to remove every single link pointing to their website including links from reputable sites. This kind of activity could hurt your rankings even more as you will be losing valuable link juice.
7. And finally, the best way to get links in the most ethical way is to write great content providing answers to people’s questions. Websites will naturally link to your content if they find it useful.
Now run like a penguin and go fix your links!
It looks like this update may only be a small one, and its slowly being rolled out.
Have you noticed a boost (or decline) in your website’s rankings? It could be Penguin 3.0. Let us know in the comments if you’ve noticed a change after this last Google update.