Penguin 2.0's launch was global and all rolled out simultaneously but Penguin 2.0 will affect languages differently based on the amount of webspam in that language. To read more about Penguin 2.0 and Google's other upcoming updates, you can listen to Matt talk about their upcoming updates in the video below.
Have I been affected and what should I look for?If you've recently seen a dramatic loss in traffic or a significant decrease in your search results positions, chances are you might have been affected by Penguin 2.0. Specifically, if you can date this decrease to around the 22nd of May, then chances are you will have been hit by Google's beaky friend. When Penguin launched in April 2012, it focused quite specifically on the back links of websites and the over optimisation of links. Historically, back links have been one of the key elements in Google's algorithm – the more links you have, the better, the anchor text in your links will help you rank for those keywords. However, over the years as more and more people started to understand the role of links in Google's algorithm, they have increasingly created spam and used black hat techniques in order to trick Google's algorithm and artificially rank higher for keywords. Links are still an important aspect of Google's algorithm but they have become far more intelligent at understanding webspam and accurately targeting it. Through studies and research, some of the things that we can safely presume Penguin is targeting include:
- Links from irrelevant websites
- Links from low quality websites
- Website wide links
- Paid for links and advertorials
- Links from a link network
- Unnatural ratio between brand and anchor text links
5 tips to improve your online presence in the eyes of Google Penguin
- Collate your back links There are many different tools out there to gather a list of your back links from. Specifically, we recommend Moz, Majestic SEO, Ahrefs, Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools. By collating the data from these different sources you will be covering as many bases as possible.
- Analyse your back links Look out for any links from terrible, spammy websites. We all know what they look like. The quality of the content is poor – there might even be spelling mistakes and bad grammar. The design is probably crowded by advertisements or the website is completely irrelevant to your industry or niche. The important thing to stress is that links are still important but if they are irrelevant and from a poor quality website then chances are they will negatively impact your rankings significantly
- Remove and update the ones you can You'd be surprised by how many back links you have control over. Have you set up a blog that's on a different domain or a free platform that links to your website? Do you have a plethora of micro websites that have long been forgotten about? Check these. If you think they're working against you, consider removing them or updating the linking structure to be less spammy. Google might consider this a link network
- Remove and update the ones you can't If you have less than savoury back links that you don't control, it's still important to look at removing or updating them. Contacting website owners to amend or change links can be a long and tiring process but the benefits definitely make it worth investing the time and resource into cleaning up your back link profile.
- Focus on quality – build for readers, not for search engines This is perhaps the most important point and one that you should apply to all areas of your organic outreach and digital marketing strategy. Links that you acquire shouldn't just be for SEO reasons. They should genuinely provide a use to users. The overall goal shouldn't be rankings but conversions. Ask yourself a question, if you got a link on this website – how likely are their visitors going to click on your link and convert on your website? Is the content, external and internal, strong enough to convert?