Once again the internet is alive with chatter about yet another Google algorithm update. Almost exactly a month after Google updated their Panda algorithm with instalment 4.1 Penguin 3.0 has been unleashed!
Google has confirmed that it started going live on Friday the 17th and, despite speculation it had finished rolling out by Monday, Pierre Far stated on Google+ that it is a slow rollout that could take up to a few weeks. Once the dust has settled Google believes that about 1% of search results will have been affected.
So, if you are yet to see any effects don’t be complacent, your site could be next. Although impact reports have been mixed it’s worth bearing in mind it has been a year since the last Penguin update (2.1 in October 2013). This means the development team at Google has had plenty of time to refine Penguin’s link ranking system, possibly making it far more deadly for those webmasters who have taken part in manipulative link building practices. A full Penguin change history is available on the MOZ site.
How Does Penguin Rate My Site?
Penguin is a link based algorithm meaning it analyses the links pointing to and from your website and decides whether they are high quality or not. It does this by determining whether your website has been involved in:
– Buying or selling links
– Excessive link exchanges
– Automated link creation
– Over optimisation of anchor text
– Acquiring low quality directory or bookmark links
– Utilising site-wide footer links
– Placing optimised forum comments
– Linking from highly irrelevant domains
These variables, plus others, will decide how your site is affected by Penguin 3.0
How Do I Know If I’ve Been Affected?
First off, it is important to understand that being affected isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Penguin has the power to remove websites from the face of search over night but it also has the ability to push compliant websites up in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
If you’ve earned all your sites links in accordance with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines you may have already seen or can expect to see an increase in rankings and a boost in site traffic! This could also be true if you have worked hard on cleaning up your link profile since the last update in 2013.
However, if Penguin 3.0 deems your link profile to be manipulative or spammy you can expect to see ranking and traffic drops across the board. You could also see ranking drops as a secondary effect of this update. Penguin 3.0 can discount a staggering number of links, if some of them are pointing to your site they will no longer carry authority resulting in a drop in search visibility.
What Can I Do If I’ve Been Negatively Affected?
If you have seen traffic or ranking drops that coincide with the latest Penguin update the diagnosis isn’t great. Penguin updates are cyclical, this means that if you have been penalised you must work to correct your link profile and then wait for the next update. In the case of the latest Penguin updates that was a whole year! However, there are rumours that this instalment could be slightly different and may include a system for more frequent refreshes. This could allow for quicker recoveries but only time will tell whether this comes to fruition.
Considering the fact the opportunity for Penguin recovery is currently very infrequent you want to ensure your link clean up is carried out by professionals who know exactly what to look for. Without expert analysis you may not be prepared for the next refresh. This could lead to your website being left in the search abyss for longer than it has to!
As a leading digital marketing agency we have carried out multiple successful Penguin recovery campaigns. We can provide a complete link analysis and removal service to ensure your site is ready for the next time the Penguin rises. Contact us today for more information on how we can help including a free SEO audit.