Recently, it was reported by a reliable Google source that the next release of the Penguin Algorithm update would launch before the end of 2015.
What is Google’s Penguin algorithm update?
Penguin originally launched in April of 2012 to decrease the amount of sites spamming (aka unfairly manipulating) Google’s search results. The sites most targeted and penalized during this update were those sites that were buying links and/or obtaining links from link farms. Including the original 2012 Penguin launch, 6 different Penguin updates have been confirmed thus far as of the writing of this post in November of 2015.
The new Penguin launch will be different in one large way from previous updates: It will be updated continuously in real time. On the positive side, this means that those websites that might be hit by the Penguin update can rebound quickly after their bad link is disavowed. More negatively, the algorithm will ding those sites that have developed a spammy backlink strategy, or happen to have a spam link pointing to them, quickly.
How can you avoid getting hit by this Penguin release?
1. Avoid questionable link building tactics
This is pretty self-explanatory. The quality of inbound links to your website is more important now than ever. Before signing up for that directory, publishing a guest blog post, or sending off that article, make sure that there is no question in your mind that the site that will be publishing your content is of high quality.
2. Set up Google Alerts
Many people use Google Alerts to keep track of when specific terms are mentioned on the Internet. What may not be so popularly known is that Google Alerts can also be used to track backlinks. By receiving an alert every time a link to your site is created, you can monitor your backlink profile regularly and spot- and disavow-spammy links quickly. As this Penguin update will be updated in real time, quick link removal could help your site avoid near-immediate harsh penalties.
3. Get familiar with Google Search Console and/or Open Site Explorer
Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) is a “must have” tool for many different reasons, one of which is its tracking and monitoring of backlinks. It also allows you the ability to disavow spam links, which is an extremely important function to use when actively protecting your site’s backlink profile. Like Google Search Console, Open Site Explorer is also a tool that allows you visibility into those sites linking to your own. If you are a MozPro member, you will also have access to the Spam Analysis section of OSE. The Spam Analysis assigns a spam score to your inbound links, making it easy to see which links should be disavowed in Search Console.
4. Keep your SEO Specialist in the know
I put this at slot #4 when it could very well have been #1 on this list, as many businesses don’t have the luxury of working with an SEO expert. If you are one of the lucky ones on emagine’s Digital Marketing client roster, this is for you! By keeping your SEO Specialist informed of all of your content creation and sharing plans, they can help you avoid questionable tactics that could result in a Penguin Penalty. They can also regularly monitor your inbound and outbound links, and can quickly disavow any link that could potentially hurt your domain- and your SEO efforts.
We will keep you updated on the emagine blog as we learn more about this imminent algorithm update. Stay tuned!