Last month John Mueller (Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst) told us during a hangout that Penguin 3.0 will be launched sometime before the end of 2014. It was earlier than anticipated. Last week Friday (October 17, 2014) Google confirmed it has updated its Penguin algorithm.
It’s been just over a year since Google released Penguin 2.0, an algorithm that can reduce 90 percent of your website’s traffic. If you are a business owner, you know that statistic will cripple your online business.
What is a Google Penguin 3.0 algorithm?
The goal of all the previous Penguin updates is to combat spam, particularly the black-hat technique of link building. There is speculation that this update is still rolling out, and very similar to its partner in crime to Panda algorithm, it will be integrated into the core algorithm, which will make it less noticeable.
The verdict is still out and many experts aren’t seeing any fluctuations with their websites. We have noticed an improvement on several sites that were previously affected by Penguin 2.
Penguin 2.0 affected 2.3% of English-US queries. That might sound like an insignificant number but it was the third largest update ever from Google. When you consider how many websites are on the internet, it’s not hard to work out that thousands of sites were impacted.
Right now your heart might be beating a little faster because you are worried if your website was hit. Do not worry. In this article, I am going to run you through some of the details of the new update and advise you on ways to check whether you are at risk.
Are you at risk?
If you have been following the Google Webmaster Guidelines, then you will not be at penalised, but I suggest playing it safe anyway by doing an audit of your link profile. It is far better to fix any problems you have before the update rolls out, but if its going to continually roll out, it’s better now then never. The prevention is far better than the cure.
When you do your audit, focus your effort on these three areas.
Guest blogging networks
Matt Cutts, head of Google’s spam team, is out to crush guest blogging networks because they have been used to spam low quality links. It is likely that anyone who has used them will be penalised. If that is you, remove the links immediately. If you cannot do it manually, then contact the site owner or webmaster and ask them to do it for you.
Links from spam sites
Low quality sites, link directories and websites that are irrelevant may be sending links to your website. Google will perceive this as spammy and you could be hit with a huge penalty when Penguin 3.0 goes live.
Don’t get caught. Go through all your backlinks and removing anything that looks a bit dodgy. If you come across a link that you are not sure about, I would recommend disavowing it, even if it could be a legitimate. The possible punishment far outweighs the benefit of keeping it.
Two things you need to look at with your anchor links are whether they are a keyword exact match or have been optimised in any way. If either is the case, get rid of it. It may seem like a pain to do this but combined with the previous two areas will give you a healthy link profile, which will prevent you being affected by Penguin.
If you have employed any of the techniques I have mentioned in this article, or have used the services of a black hat SEO agency, you could be at risk. If you do not know how to identify and fix potential problems, then it is best to leave it in the hands of an expert.
If you have any concerns, please contact Titan Digital for an analysis. We can help repair your link profile before the new algorithm is launched.