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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Penguin 2.0-What you need to know

Penguin 2.0

Another version of Linux?

Penguin 2.0 is not an operating system.  Penguin is an update to Google’s search algorithm.  Google released Penguin 2.0 on May 22nd, 2013.   Depending on your SEO efforts, or your SEO consultant’s efforts, your placement in Google’s search results may be impacted.  So let’s delve into what Penguin 2.0 means to you and what you can expect.

Stop Panicking…Maybe

Simply stated Google is after the web spammers, the Black Hat SEOs and others who try to game the Google search results.  If you are unsure of how this might impact you it might be a good idea to seek the advice of an Internet Marketing professional.

Don’t fret though.  Matt Cutt’s (Head of Google’s Web Spam Team) made the following statement on his blog, “About 2.3% of English-US queries are affected to the degree that a regular user might notice”.  You can see what Matt Cutts says you can expect as a result of this update by watching his video below.

What does Google want from me?

What Google wants is original content, there I said it.  If your website has original content and you are the author of that content then you will see an improvement in your search results.  Essentially Google wants the person posting the content to be the authority on that content.  You own it and you’re the expert on it.  If you cannot speak confidently on the topic then you may not be the authority on the content.

This may sound harsh but Google does not care if people can find your website.  Google cares whether or not those using their search engine receive the best possible results when searching for a specific term.  What that means to you is if you are creating content that users of Google want to see then it will be seen, because you are the authority of that content.

Google is trying to level the playing field, making it easier for those who don’t have a ton of money to spend on Black Hat SEO methods.  This update should truly benefit the small, local businesses trying to compete with the large corporations for the same customer.  Google has also cracked down on link farms (those who spam back-links for a price).  In doing so they have shut down 2 of the largest culprits as of this writing.

So what should I do?

Well not to overstate the theme here but your website should contain fresh, original content.  The content should be consistently updated and relevant to your website.  It’s really that simple but let’s be honest…not everyone likes to write, and not all websites can easily offer blogs that contain updated content on a consistent basis.  Some business sites aren’t as easy to update with new information about your business so that alternative is to tell stories about what it is you do.

Top 5 things to be aware of:

    1. Develop crisp, original and relevant content for your site
    2. Avoid Web Spam including:
      1. Keyword Stuffing
      2. Irrelevant and Paid Backlinks
      3. Overposting with links back to your site (Spamming)
      4. Using irrelevant keywords or irrelevant content
      5. Overuse of Keywords in Content
    3. Set up Google Authorship
    4. Develop your brand and authority in your area of expertise
    5. Develop your local SEO by ensuring content includes NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) whenever possible
    6. Continue to work on your Social Media Marketing Plan.  Facebook, Twitter,  and Google+ (as well as others) should be a part of your everyday marketing plan

How can I check and correct back-links that may negatively impact me?

Google has a tool that will allow you to check for back-links that may impact your sites rank in their search results.  The Disavow tool will check for and automatically disavow links that may be considered spam or of low value to your site.  The Disavow tool is free to use and is part of the Google Webmaster Suite.

Penguins are friendly

The negative feedback you may have read about Penguin updates and Google are usually by those who have used Black Hat SEO methods, or have lived on the edge of ethical SEO for a while and are now feeling the impact of the algorithm updates.  Honest SEO efforts will not be affected negatively, and in fact will probably see positive results in search engine queries.  Continue to work on your online expertise, branding, and content and you will reap the rewards of an increased audience.

If you are unsure about your links or any other issues that may impact your site’s visibility on Google feel free to Contact Me!



Isn’t he cute?