There’s an Upcoming Penguin Update: How to Prepare

02 December 2015

There’s an Upcoming Penguin Update: How to Prepare

Google has a range of now-well-known algorithms that affect the positioning of websites in their search-engine results. One of these is Google Penguin, which takes into account the quality of the websites that link to others, to judge a site’s quality and authenticity. Poor-quality backlinks can have a detrimental effect on a site’s search-engine position, while high-quality backlinks can boost a site’s results.

It has been confirmed by Google that there is likely to be an update to their Penguin algorithm before the end of this year. The last major Penguin update was thought to be in December last year, so sites that have made positive changes have been awaiting a renewal of the algorithm for quite some time, in the hope of improving their results. At the same time, sites that have been using outdated SEO practices could find themselves newly penalised.

So, what should website owners do in anticipation of the upcoming run of the algorithm?

This is the time to assess the quality of the SEO practices you have been using on your website.

If you have been using questionable SEO to boost your search-engine positioning, now is the time to rectify that. Even if your SEO practices have been honourable and positive, it is still worth reviewing your backlink profile to ensure that you are in the best position when the Penguin algorithm is rerun.

  1. 1. Look at your backlink profile and Google Webmaster Tools account and, if you find low-quality backlinks, you need to contact the webmaster and ask them to remove the link to your site. If they refuse to do so, use the Disavow Tool to disown these questionable links.
  2. 2. Look at the anchor text distribution of the backlinks to your site. Ideally, this should be made up of a combination of natural keywords and links, including text like “click here” and your company name. If every backlink uses the same anchor text, you have a problem.
  3. 3. Contact the webmasters whose sites link to yours and request that they change the anchor text to something more natural-sounding. To make this process easier, tell them which page of their site links to yours.
  4. 4. Familiarise yourself with your traffic levels on Google Analytics. If you are ‘hit’ by an algorithm penalty, it is best to be aware of this sooner rather than later. Make sure you understand how much of your traffic comes from Google, and keep an eye on whether this remains constant or suddenly drops.
  5. 5. Consider where you can build more helpful, positive backlinks that will strengthen your overall backlink profile.

It is thought that, with the upcoming update, the Penguin algorithm will start to be effected in real time. This means that, while penalties may occur, they can also be removed as problems are rectified.