Penguin 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
How Does This Apply to My SEO Plan?
- 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
- 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
Google 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.