Google Penguin 3.0, the search engine’s latest significant algorithm update, is still rolling out across the festive period–over 7 weeks since the original launch. It’s clear that the search engine rankings of a variety of businesses continue to be affected, with traffic lost at a key time of the year. In this article, I will guide you through diagnosis and speedy recovery.
If your website has experienced a significant change in traffic, or fall in enquiries since October, it could be attributed to Google’s latest significant algorithm update: Penguin 3.0. It’s important to be proactive to achieve an easy recovery: gain a brief understanding of how Google’s algorithms work, before analysing how aspects of your digital strategy could have resulted in a penalty.
The Google search engine searches and presents the answers to users’ queries by using algorithms. This is a written logic created and updated by their developers, which sifts through millions of webpages to display ones that are as relevant and useful as possible to users. The best pages’ ranks are increased relative to others, by analysing a variety of factors such as links from reputable sources.
The Google Penguin algorithm first influenced websites’ search engine rankings back in April 2012, where it pushed down websites that violated Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This algorithm particularly targets websites that are over optimised and have poor backlink profiles. The end result of not satisfying Google Penguin’s terms and conditions is being issued with penalties, which decreases websites’ visibility on SERPs (search engine results pages).
In mid-October 2014, Google began the Penguin 3.0 rollout worldwide. Like its predecessors, Penguin 3.0 penalises and eliminates websites that have poor backlink profiles. In a nutshell, this update is more of a ‘refresh’, as no new signals have been added to track penalties. Version 3.0 aims to achieve two things:
If the first applies to your website, congratulations - you’re free from the Penguin! Just ensure you maintain as healthy a backlink profile as you can, and you’ll continue to swim against penalties from this algorithm.
If the latter applies, you’ve got a bit more work to do...
To see if you have been hit by the Penguin 3.0 update, follow the steps below:
This can be a long-term process, so do not be dismayed if it seems that a quick-fix is proving to be near impossible for now. There are several things that you can do to fix your penalty and get back on track with your rankings for crucial keywords, as simplified in the following steps.
In mid-December, a Google spokesperson stated they aim to continuously update and optimise the Penguin algorithm. Therefore, you must constantly revisit and build on your SEO and content strategy not just to help you find (and win) prospects for your business, but to better position yourself when Google rolls out future updates of the Penguin algorithm. Remember, fixing penalties can take a long time, so make sure that you diagnose and begin taking steps toward recovery as soon as possible.
On a lighter note, this particular Penguin update may well be a blessing in disguise for some businesses. If you make a strong effort to clean up your backlink profile, your businesses could attain much higher rankings for crucial keywords than before being issued a penalty!
If you would like to receive more information, or need help with refreshing your SEO or content strategy, please get in touch.