What’s involved in the update?
Penguin 3.0 – the most recent Google update, was released back in October 2014. It was deemed a “refresh”, which only penalises sites with spam signals that were not previously discovered by the search engine. It affected less than 1% of US English search queries.
The new, imminent update – Penguin 4.0 – is expected to update continuously in real time, meaning as Google detects any spam links, it may be impacted immediately by Penguin. It also means that when those spam links are removed, once Google has indexed it, that site will no longer be impacted by Penguin.
How should you prepare?
Spam links are much less of an issue than they used to be, but there are still cases where they are used online. They’re steadily being scrutinised by Google and resulting in strict penalties, so it’s really important that you ensure your website has clean link-building strategies and is fully optimised with Google’s current regulations.
Every Google update comes with winners and losers and this update will be no different. Optimising your website sensibly now will give you the best chance of avoiding penalty. Here are the main three points which you should pay attention to with the latest update:
- Disavow links: If you find any links pointing to your site that could be doing more harm than good, there could be a way to disavow them before you receive a penalty from Google. Removing them manually is the most effective strategy, but this isn’t always possible so disavowing is the next-best thing.
- Optimise links: Of course, things may be running smoothly already, so why undertake an audit of your links? Well, Google is continually updating so it’s never a bad idea to keep a sharp eye on your site’s linking strategies.
- Make sure your internal pages are linked to each other naturally to ensure the user has the best experience possible.
- It’s not just where your links are pointing to, either. Your anchor text should vary from the source it links to, so make sure you vary your external links, for example by brand, URL, long-tail keywords (words which are very specific to your brand) and non-descriptive keywords.
- Monitor: It’s best to monitor any updates and ensure you’re following the best practice guidelines to have the optimum positive impact. Tools such as Screaming Frog and MOZ are helpful in ensuring your site is optimised regularly with resources, guides and monitoring services.
Managing your reputation
There is no definite way to know how much of an impact this Penguin update will have on your Google search results and the reputation of your business; but it’s definitely worth using it as a reason to ensure you do a little spring cleaning on your site to be sure it’s in line with current best practices.
Feel free to get in touch with Igniyte to discuss managing your reputation online, or for further advise on current best practice guidelines. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +44 (0)203 542 8689.