This October will be the one year anniversary since the release of the fifth update to Google’s Penguin algorithm. In case you’re not already familiar with Penguin, this update was created to improve Google’s ability to catch websites that were spamming its search results. For example, websites that buy links or obtain them through link networks designed primarily to boost Google rankings.
The reason why so many websites are anxiously awaiting this update is because when a new Penguin update is released, sites that have taken action to remove bad links may regain some of their rankings. For any business that heavily relies upon web traffic and SEO to draw in customers, this can be the difference between success and failure.
So what can we expect from Penguin 3.0 and will this update offer a substantial improvement over the last version? Here are a few highlights as to what the experts are saying.
Penguin 3.0 is expected to make major changes to the algorithm with the main goal being to make it capable of running more frequently so that those whose websites were impacted wouldn’t have to wait so long to see a refresh. Cue sighs of relief from businesses everywhere.
Google has admitted to the fact that their current algorithms don’t reflect webmasters efforts to clean up the issues that caused them to be penalized by Penguin in a reasonable time. It’s expected that the new update will attempt to resolve this issue. With Penguin 3.0, Google claims that websites that have “sanitized” their backlink profile and replaced spam links with real links will finally see a lift in SERPs.
While this update will certainly have its benefits, it also brings several drawbacks and concerns of which you should be aware. Just as previous updates jarring and jolting to thousands upon thousands of websites, we should expect the changes associated with this new update to be just as significant. If you’ve taken the effort to clean up your bad links, this is good news, but if you have not, this could mean even more penalties and negative impact on your SEO. Additionally, over the past year Google has been working on improving their ability to catch “spammy” link and many that may have flown below the radar of the last Penguin update are once again at risk of getting caught.
One final concern to keep in mind is even if your own website doesn’t get caught in the Penguin filter, other “spammy” websites can still negatively impact your SEO by linking to your website. Google’s official position on negative SEO is that “Google aggregates and organizes information published on the web; we don’t control the content of these pages.” Essentially, it’s on you to resolve this issue with the other website, which can be no easy task. Worse yet, you may not even know these links back to your website exist until it’s already hurt your SEO.
How to Bounce Back From Penguin 3.0
If your site has been hit by Penguin, you should immediately perform a link audit to be sure that each and every backlink in your profile conforms to Google Webmaster Guidelines. It’s a small price to pay now compared to getting caught by the new Penguin update. If you do, you may need to wait another year before until a new update provides a chance to recover.
Additionally, if your site hasn’t been hit by a past Penguin update, you are still not safe. If you have any “spammy” links in your profile, remove them now. If you have done any automated link-building or hired shady, offshore link-building services, you are likely at. Non-penalized sites should still perform a thorough link audit to be safe. Failing to do so will make you the next website anxiously awaiting a Penguin refresh.
Once you have sanitized your backlink profile, it is time to permanently end the bad practices that may worked well in the past, but represent risk, today. Instead, focus on post-penalty marketing activities that conform to Webmaster Guidelines.
Just because you are under penalty, doesn’t mean that you have to wait for a Penguin rerun to get organic traffic. In addition to replacing the bad links with good ones, you should spend time and resources on generating traffic that does not require Google organic search- possibly through creative marketing services.
The final takeaway is that every single website should perform a link audit on their website. If you have any bad links, now is the time to correct them – before Penguin 3.0 is unveiled. Furthermore, end the bad practices with spam links one and for all and conform to webmaster guidelines. Also focus some of your marketing efforts on various other tactics that do not involve Google organic search just to be safe. Finally, keep a keen eye on other websites that link back to yours to ensure they are not negatively impacting your SEO. ~Stephanie
What are you most looking forward to or are worried about when it comes to Google’s Penguin 3.0? Share your thought and insights by commenting below!