Been crying into your keyboard since April 24?
Not even ranking for your own brand name?
You’ve been affected by the Google Penguin Update and your rankings are nowhere.
Are you sure it’s Penguin?
Lots of updates occurred around the same time and you don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
If you’re confused about what to do, read on and hopefully all will become clear …
What’s The Google Penguin Update?
It’s an update launched on April 24th we do know that Google publicly called it the “Webspam update” prior to renaming it “Penguin”.
It’s unique as it seeks to penalise sites for participating in spammy techniques.
It acts “…against pages when there was an extremely high-confidence of spam being involved…” Source: Two Weeks In, Google Talks Penguin Update, Ways To Recover & Negative SEO
In other words if your site is affected it will lose rankings sometimes dropping below sites that seem to have less useful content than yours.
In other words it’s a punishment.
The update seems to be principally focused on inbound links.
But what links are affected?
No one knows for sure but the thinking is sites with the following can have issues:
- A high percentage of links with the same exact match anchor text
- Links from paid networks
- Obvious paid links
- Links from articles on syndication sites
- Links from sponsored WordPress themes
- Poor reciprocal links
- Keyword stuffing of internal links
- A high percentage of links from blog comments or forums
What Is That Smell! How Do You Tell If Your Links Are Fishy
Can you recall buying links?
How about spammy links to your site for example footer links like “This site is designed by Penguins Hate This”?
Check Google Webmaster Tools to ensure you haven’t been sent a message about your links.
Most crucially did your site traffic tank immediately after April 24/25th, this is perhaps the surest method of telling that you have been affected and need to talk to an SEO.
What To Do? Or How To Swim With Penguins
Once you’re sure it’s a Penguin not a Panda (or any other algorithm change or other issue).
Get your SEO to conduct a site audit, checking carefully for onsite link spam.
Just to be sure follow steps to help resolve any issues you may or may not have with the Google Panda Update (you may as well just in case)
Remove the links that seem most heinous.
Don’t go mad, the worst thing you can do is throw the baby out with the bath water.
It will probably mean approaching each of the third party sites with an e-mail.
In worst case scenarios you may have to pay sites to remove your link(s) OUCH.
Do start thinking of creative ways to attract ethical links to your site.
Start building great content, bizarre I know you may even get someone to link to it.
When Will That Penguin Ever Leave?
You will have to wait on Penguin to see the results…
“Penguin, like Panda, is a filter that gets refreshed from time-to-time. Penguin is not constantly running but rather is used to tag things as spam above-and-beyond Google’s regular spam filtering on a periodic basis.” Source: Two Weeks In, Google Talks Penguin Update, Ways To Recover & Negative SEO
Since Panda occurred the obvious next step would be to implement the same machine learning principles in to defining which pages may or may not contain spammy links.
You cannot hide from the Penguin.
You can only remove the dross and hope for the best…
And do better moving forwards.