Back in June, Google’s Gary Illyes announced that Google was working on a continuously running Penguin update allowing it to update in real time and if this happened, the algorithm would get data that is refreshed all the time. Recent updates have now confirmed that Illyes is hoping that Google will release the update before the end of the year! In the world of SEO (search engine optimisation) this may be an exciting change, but for you it is an important one and understanding its implications will be critical to the success of your website.
The History of Penguin
Google launched the Penguin update back in April 2012, its purpose being to uncover spammy backlink profiles and punish those sites that were violating Goole’s quality guidelines in the form of lowering their ranking in search engine results. Overall they wanted to catch and penalise the website that were trying to rank higher through:
- Keyword stuffing meaning loading a webpage with the same words or phrases so much that it sounds unnatural
- Low quality backlinks, often generated using automated software
- A large number of links optimised using the exact same anchor text
- Excessive link exchange
- Forum comments with links added in the signature
- Various other link schemes.
Penguin will be focusing on the link-related aspects of this list.
Below is a timeline of previous Penguin updates and how they affected searches:
- Penguin 1.0: April 24th 2012 (3.1% of searches affected)
- Penguin 1.2: May 26th 2012 (0.1% of searches affected)
- Penguin 1.3: October 5th 2012 (0.3% of searches affected)
- Penguin 2.0: May 22nd 2013 (2.3% of searches affected)
- Penguin 2.1: October 4th 2013 (1% of searches affected)
- Penguin 3: October 17th 2014 (1% of searches affected)
What is the Real Time Penguin refresh all about?
The main features of the new Penguin algorithm are:
- It will be updated in real time
- It will be faster meaning sites impacted by Penguin or sites that have fixed bad links will see immediate changes
But what exactly does this mean? Well essentially, the moment Google discovers any bad links, or any improvements made the algorithm with process it in real time and the rankings of that site will change accordingly. This is both positive and negative for any site because you could get a Penguin penalty very quickly, but if you act fast you could recover from it just as quickly.
What can you do to clean up your link profile for future updates?
As the Penguin will be working continuously in real time, you should never stop working on removing bad links. Below are a few things you can do to prevent your site from getting penalised by a future Penguin update:
- Do a thorough link clean-up and remove all unnatural links pointing to your site. Bad links are usually the cause of a Penguin penalty so make sure you remove as many as possible and disavow the rest. Learn how to find and remove unnatural links with this article.
- Make sure your disavow file is correct. Click here to find out more about disavowing backlinks.
- Assess the remaining ‘good links’. Do you still have enough valuable links for your site to rank well or do you need to build more? You should still use link building campaigns, but make sure that this time you build links on high-quality, relevant sites.
- For more actions to ensure that you have a healthy website and what to do after an algorithm update, no matter what it is, have a read of this useful article!
- Finally, don’t treat an algorithmic penalty as the sole cause of poor rankings. Read this article for a full list of reasons that may be causing your traffic, and your rankings, to drop.
If you do get hit, what are the signs?
If your site has been hit by Penguin, Google will never notify you. Therefore it is essential that you check your site’s traffic, as well as the following things:
- Are you no longer ranking well for that one keyword you should always rank well for – your brand name? If so, it’s clear you’ve been hit.
- Is your site dropping from page one to page two or three although you’ve make no changes whatsoever?
- Has your site been removed from Google’s cached search results overnight?
- Do you get no results when you run a site search?
- Is your analytics tool showing a significant drop in organic traffic a few days after a big Google update?
It is highly recommended that you monitor your organic traffic for up to two weeks after a Penguin update. If you do notice a significant drop in traffic it is likely that this update is the cause. In this instance you should stop what you are doing and go and fix the problem!
What can you do to recover?
There are over 200 factors that influence rankings for a site and therefore it’s not enough to focus on one algorithm and fix those specific issues. Instead, look at the bigger picture! Search engines rewards sites that provide searchers with the most informative, interesting and relevant content for their search queries and with the best user experience.
Here at Design Office we make the user experience paramount within every web design and development we do and with a full understanding of the latest algorithms and how to be fully compliant we can produce a website for you that will only move up in Google’s rankings. If you are looking for a new website or even just an update, why not give us a call on 01270 252106 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a no obligation consultancy to see how we can help!