Google has released many algorithm updates over the years in an attempt to protect the Internet from companies who are trying to spam the search engines.
One update that had a large effect on online businesses was the Google Penguin update. First released in October 2012, this update had an impact on approximately 3.1% of English queries. This was then followed by refreshes throughout 2012 and 2013.
There has been quite a lot of online coverage about the newest update, and it appears that Google finally rolled out the new Penguin 3.0 on Friday 17th October.
History of Google Penguin update
- Penguin – April, 24 2012
- Penguin 1.1 – May 25, 2012
- Penguin refresh – October 5, 2012
- Penguin 2.0 – May 22, 2013
- Penguin 2.1 – October 4, 2013
- Penguin 3.0 – October 17, 2014
(Source: Google Algorithm Change History)
Recently there has been quite a lot of buzz in the digital world about the Google Penguin 3.0. Lots of questions have been asked, such as; ‘Is your business prepared for the update?’ and ‘What do I need to do to prevent my website from being negatively impacted by Penguin?’
Therefore we at Generate UK wanted to help our clients to fully understand how we can help to protect their business from the update.
In the past, link building was one of the most important SEO tactics, however the majority of webmasters were taking advantage of this tactic by building low quality links, just to boost the rankings and the website’s visibility, therefore most of these websites would contain a low quality link profile.
Two Types of Penguin
There are two types of link penalties that you must be aware of as an online business.
Manual Penalty – Google’s definition of a ‘penalty’ is when an actual human being at Google has looked at your website and takes manual action against it. If the site has been manually penalised, you will usually receive a notification message through your Webmaster Tools account, which would look like the example below:
If your website does receive a manual link penalty, you will need to amend your website to remove the offending links and then file a reconsideration request to present to Google that you have done everything you possibly could to remove all your unnatural links from your profile.
Algorithmic Update - A site that is affected by an algorithm update is not suffering from a manual penalty; no human being reviewed the site but a machine has instead.
Penguin was an algorithm update and a lot of sites have been caught in its net.
When a site has been affected by a Penguin Algorithmic update its typically because they have built many anchor text links, possibly for many different keywords, all of which point to the homepage. This can mean that the homepage will not rank for a number of terms.
In order for a site to recover from an algorithm update, site owners need to remove the spam tactics such as keyword stuffing, low quality and spammy links, cloaking (or hidden content), etc. which are against the Google Webmaster Guidelines.
What do I need to do to protect my website from Penguin 3.0?
One of our first recommendations would be to compile as much link data for your website as possible. Usually, we would recommend for you to use multiple link sources.
The next step would be to format all of your link data and classify them into categories, which will help you to understand what types of links can be removed straight away.
After a deep analysis and formatting, this is the type of table you should end up with:
A table like the above table provides you with the information you need to help you identify which types of links will need to be part of the link removal process.
Ensure that you try to remove as many unnatural links as possible before uploading them to a Disavow File.
What is Disavow File & Tool?
The disavow file is a text file you can use for uploading the websites/links which you didn’t have much success in removing.
You can either disavow a whole domain or just a single link. However, we fully recommend for you to disavow a whole domain, as there is a strong chance that the domain contains more links than just the one that is pointing back to your website.
Ensure that you follow a correct guide in creating the file, as if the disavow file is not created correctly, it can also have a negative impact on your website.
(Source: Disavow backlinks – Google Support)
The disavow tool was designed by Google to discount the unnatural links to your site. The use of the ‘Disavow Tool’ is dependant on the type of Google Penguin penalty received.
When the disavow file is created and submitted to Google Webmaster Tools, we need to ensure that we give Google at least three weeks to process the disavow file.
At Generate UK, we understand that this is quite a difficult and time-consuming process; therefore we are here to advise and help you to protect your business from the Penguin 3.0 update.
If you’re unsure if your website has been affected by Penguin, or want us to assist you, feel free to contact us for consultation.