Penguin algorithm update was released on April 24th 2012 and Google has celebrated its first anniversary recently. After its release, Google has rolled Penguin algorithm twice, Penguin 2 on May 24th 2012 and Penguin 3 on October 5th 2012. These updates have affected 65% of SEOs, while only 6% of them were recovered. In SMX West panel, when Google search spam head Matt Cutts announced about future updates with Panda and Penguin algorithm, Matt said Penguin 4 update is very crucial that it is expected to be the biggest Google algorithm updates in 2013.
Penguin Algorithm – What it is exactly?
Penguin algorithm measures a website with its quality of links. It is designed in a way to remove the websites using manipulative methods to rank top in Google. We have already discussed about this webspam algorithm last year. However, a quick overview of what was Penguin’s target during the previous updates is listed below
- Using too many exact match anchor text
- Black hat SEO techniques
- Links from Low quality websites
- Unnatural links
- Duplicate content links
- Links from automated content
- Paid links
- Links that are built to manipulate page rank
So, what is in store for the future updates is totally unknown for webmasters, but precautionary steps can be taken based on the metrics of previous updates. If you are the one affected with the former penguin updates, then monitoring your website links and performance is crucial. If you are not affected with the previous Penguin updates, it doesn’t mean that you are safe. It is always essential to have a thorough check of your link profile.
Cleanup your Link Profile
Removing the spammy/toxic links from your link profile is very important and many webmasters have come out of Google penalty after doing this. Interflora, the most popular UK flower website is no exception. They had 70% of toxic links according to a report given by Link Detox. Thousands of links and advertorials were removed and the site was back just in 2 weeks. Know more about how interflora came back from penalty. So, finding toxic links and disavowing them in Google webmaster tool helps to keep your link profile clean.
Don’t build bad links
Cleaning up link profile is useful only if you stop throwing in bad links again. Don’t build bad links; keep your links as natural as possible. Don’t use any software for link building. Build only high quality and low risk links, which means that you have to do it manually. Earning each and every link makes it more valuable. Read http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2233495/Link-Building-the-Right-Way-in-2013 and know how to build links the right way in 2013.
Gone are the days where quantity of links played a major role for SEO ranking, nowadays quality links have become the basis of a good website. Your inbound link profile should have only high quality links. The following instances should be avoided
1. Getting links from irrelevant websites. For eg: If you have a hair transplant website, you have to build links only in relevant websites such as health and beauty, you cannot get links from an online car dealer website.
2. Don’t get links from adult or porn, casino and pills websites. This will create bad neighbourhood issues.
3. Don’t overload keywords to your link anchor text. You can use keyword rich anchor text occasionally but not often. You have to focus on all the important pages of your website rather than focusing a specific page. A good link profile should have a mixture of link anchor text such as
- Keyword rich anchor text
- “Click here” anchor text
- Brand name anchor text
- Domain anchor text
Too many usage of keyword rich anchor text is highly risky. All the above anchor text combines to form a great back link profile.
4. Don’t go for paid links. Your page rank score is downgraded if you buy or sell links. A couple of months back Google penalized many US & UK news websites such as Sun Times, Washington Post for selling links and plenty of sites including interflora for buying links. Matt Cutts, Google’s search spam head warns against passing page rank through advertorials
Please be wary if someone approaches you and wants to pay you for links or “advertorial” pages on your site that pass PageRank. Selling links (or entire advertorial pages with embedded links) that pass PageRank violates our quality guidelines, and Google does take action on such violations. The consequences for a linkselling site start with losing trust in Google’s search results, as well as reduction of the site’s visible PageRank in the Google Toolbar. The consequences can also include lower rankings for that site in Google’s search results.
5. Don’t get links from the same IP, your links should come from different IP networks.
6. Make sure each and every link acquired by you or your SEO Company is strictly monitored. Review your link building plan and execute it properly for a successful presence online.
If you check your link profile, there would be links that you never linked for; the site owners themselves would have published your website links without your knowledge. In this instance, it is not possible for you to contact the website owner and request him to remove your links. You can take these links manually and disavow them using webmaster tool. These kinds of links are not supposed to hurt you as it is totally out of your control, but taking precautionary measures would help to keep your link profile clean.
Reviewing your back links frequently for spammy links is very important. At least make a point to do it once in fifteen days. If you find any bad links, remove it immediately, don’t wait for Google to warn you. Above all, stick on to ethical SEO methods, which will save you from any major Google updates in future.