Penguin 4.0 & What It Means To Your SEO Plan & Website Traffic

penguin 4-0 update and what it means to your SEOPenguin 4.0 Update to Google’s Search Algorithm

In case you haven’t heard yet Google is rolling out Penguin 4.0.  To you, that might not mean anything but to your website it might mean a heckuva lot.  I took to Facebook Live and Periscope to talk about it this week but I wanted to also share what the update to Google’s algorithm means to your SEO plan.

What is Penguin?

Penguin is an algorithm that focuses on back links.  Backlinks are links that point back to your website.  Penguin’s purpose was to ensure that backlinks were relevant, high quality and natural.  In December 2014 a lot of websites were severely penalized for having what Google deemed as spam back links.  Google told site owners that they would be able to recover if they made the necessary changes.  In other words, they would have to disavow low quality or spammy backlinks.

The problem is it took nearly two years for the next update.  Fast forward to September 2016 and Penguin 4.0 is being rolled out and site owners can finally recover from the penalties.  In reality, most site owners probably just built a new site.

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How Does Penguin 4.0 Affect My SEO Plan?

There are several major changes to the Penguin Algorithm.  Here is a list of the changes and how your SEO may be impacted by the changes.

    1. Penguin is now part of Google’s Core Algorithm. What that means is updates will no longer take years.  In fact, updates to Penguin will be more frequent.  Updates will address gray hat back linking, aggressive backlinking and PBNs.  If Google detects some spammy way of circumventing a natural building of your back linking it will update its algorithm.  This means that penalties and recoveries will be much quicker.
    2. Low-quality backlinks will no longer penalize an entire site. This part of the update is a little confusing.  In true Google fashion, the statement is not very clear.   I stated on both Periscope and Facebook Live that you would still get penalized but will be able to recover much quicker.  After further reviewing the changes it appears that you will not get penalized for low-quality backlinks.  The links themselves will be devalued which means they will have little effect on your website ranking or traffic.
    3. You may still be penalized. If you are participating in obvious attempts to farm back links then you will likely still be penalized.  Aggressive, Grey Hat/Black Hat methods may still experience penalties from Google.

This is right from the Google Blog

Penguin is now more granular. Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site. 

How Does This Apply to My SEO Plan?

  1. Continue to use ethical methods of link building as part of your SEO Management. Some ways to create quality back links include:
        Sharing content on Social Media
        Guest blogging on relevant, high-quality sites
        Asking! Ask to add your link to a relevant site
        Quality directories for your industry and local
  2. Monitor traffic and keyword ranking
        If traffic takes a dip or your keyword rankings drop check your back links on the Google Search Console and use the Google Disavow tool to remove any low-quality links
        Check your back links every few months to ensure there are not a lot of low-quality links and disavow anything that looks spammy
  3. If a deal looks too good it probably is. Anyone claiming they can get you to page 1 for a 1 or 2-word keyword phrase in a few days is selling you a bill of goods.  To that point, anyone who claims they can get 100s of backlinks for $5 in a few days is not going to do a good job of ensuring they are high-quality backlinks that are relevant to what you do.

penguin 4.0 Google Algorithm UpdateGoogle has taken steps to make the challenge of building backlinks a little less daunting.  The fear of one or 2 low-quality backlinks can be put to rest now.  Continue to practice ethical SEO and your website traffic and your business revenue will continue to grow.

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Episode 3 The Penguin 4.0 Show

the SEO Tear Down with Scott Gombar

This week we talked about the Penguin 4.0 update and what it means to your SEO efforts.  The penguin algorithm on Google focuses on backlinks.  The last update was in December of 2014, almost 2 years ago.  That means if you were penalized 2 years ago you were only able to remove those penalties with this update.

Penguin 4.0 will become part of the Google Algorithm and will not longer be a separate entity.  That means it will now be updated more consistently with the rest of the Google algorithm.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Penguin is now part of Google’s core algorithm
  • Penalties AND recoveries are now almost instant
  • Links from PBNs, Gret Hat Links, and Aggressive Link Building will be hit the hardest.
  • This is an ongoing, real-time update
  • Stay on top of backlinks and disavow low-quality backlinks immediately

If your business is interested in featuring your site on the SEO Tear Down then contact us and we will schedule you.

301 redirect for SEO

The importance of 301 redirects for SEO Google Yahoo Bing

page not found erroThere’s so much crap to worry about with SEO.  One of those things is web page redirects.  Before I get into what a 301 redirect is, and why they are important, let me first say you should have your website added to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools so that you will be alerted to errors within your website structure.

If you’ve had your website for a while it’s likely that you have made changes to the content or structure of the site.   You may have changed the URL structure of a web page or two in your efforts to improve your on-page SEO.  You may have even deleted a couple of pages that were no longer relevant to what you do.

I run into this all the time when a new website client wants me to rebuild their site and tells me we no longer offer this service or product, or the name of the service or product has changed.   To help drive traffic that means changing some of the on-page SEO elements.  One of those elements is the URL.

The Problem with Changing the URL

Changing the URL of a page is very simple.  The problem comes in when you have to deal with the backlinks to your old URL.  How do they know where to go now that technically the old page no longer exists?  The answer is they don’t.  That is unless you add 301 or 302 redirects.

What is the Difference Between a 301 Redirect & 302 Redirect?

To put it simply a 301 redirect is a permanent redirectA 302 redirect is temporary.  The type of redirect you use indicates to the search engine whether or not to make the change permanently.  A 301 redirect tells search engines to forget the old page and only worry about the new page while a 302 lets the search engines know that they need to keep the old page information as well.  In most cases, you would use a 301 redirect.

What Do I Do?

the importance of 301 redirects for your SEOSetting up a 301 redirect is actually pretty easy but can seem scary to someone with no website building experience.

You will need to access a file on your website host.  The file is .htaccess and should be in the same folder as your index (home) page.  This also assumes you are using an Apache server for hosting.  Once you have located the .htaccess file you will need to open it using a Unix text editor like notepad.  Most cPanels have a built-in editor you can use.  Once the file is open add a line that looks similar to this.

RedirectPermanent /oldpage.html

Replace oldpage.html with your old web page and replace with your new web page URL.  Keep in mind that html may actually be PHP or another extension.

And then save the document.

Before doing this I would strongly encourage you to save a copy of the .htaccess file just in case you make a mistake.  Also, if you are uncomfortable doing this on your own, which is understandable if you have no experience building websites, then I would hire someone to do it for you.  A professional can add a redirect in less than 5 minutes so long as they have all the necessary login information.

I hope you find this helpful.  I am including a quick video to help further understand how it is done.





Episode 2 Keyword Research Continued

the SEO Tear Down with Scott GombarWe continued the conversation around Keyword Research today and talked about some of the tools I use for Keyword Research.  I have linked them here for your convenience.  It’s really important to not make assumptions when it comes to Keywords for your site.  What you might think is the best focus for your business might not be what other people are searching for when researching your product or service.

If your business would like to be a future guest on SEO Hackerz then send me an email.  We will analyze your website together and coach you on the steps you need to take to improve your ranking.  Your business gets exposure and your website will get more traffic.




SEO Tear Down

SEO Tear Down Episode 1

SEO Tear DownThe inaugural episode of the SEO Tear Down has come and gone.  We didn’t have a business owner’s website but we did have a guest in the chat that we talked to about trying to rank for Apple iPhone 7.  The guest has an e-commerce site that sells cell phone cases and he wanted to rank for iPhone 7.  The challenge with this is competing with eBay and Amazon, as well as Google’s algorithm which will push news items to the top since today was also the announcement from Apple regarding the iPhone 7.

I also talked about the first step in on-page SEO which is keyword research and what tools are available to you to conduct the research and determine the best keywords to use for your website optimization.

I will be relaunching podcasts soon and renaming it SEO Hackerz.  If your business would like to be a future guest on SEO Hackerz then let me know.  We will analyze your website together and coach you on the steps you need to take to improve your ranking.  Your business gets exposure and your website will get more traffic.