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.

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.

 

Scott Gombar (122 Posts)

Scott Gombar has spent over 20 years in the technology world. At the turn of the millenium he was the owner of a company that promoted and managed local musicians & artists. He often found himself creating websites and online profiles for the artists to help promote them and their performances. After leaving the music industry he worked several years in different industries where he would contribute to those company’s web presence. He also coached many people on internet assets and related topics. For seven years Scott owned and ran TechsRUs; a technology support company. No matter how many times he tried to focus on the IT side of the business he was continually pulled to helping others with their websites and social media marketing. He also learned through trial and error how to market TechsRUs using the internet, and became quite good at it. Through all his attempts he gave TechsRUs the look and feel of a large corporate IT Support company while maintaining the mentality of a local small business.


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