Spam Fighting Superhero: How to Prepare Your Site for Penguin 4.0
Let’s talk Penguin, and not the tuxedo clad zoo animals who love tap dancing.
According to Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes, the 4.0 update to the Penguin Google algorithm is coming, and soon. Penguin, if you don’t know, was designed and sent into the search engine world as a vigilante to fight the menace of spammy backlinks. Essentially, if Google decides that the links pointing to your site aren’t of reputable value, you get dinged, hard. Honorable webmasters and SEOs have little to worry about. Those who don’t like to play by the rules aren’t big fans.
Backlinks may be one small part of the intricate contraption that is SEO, but they’re nothing to scoff at. In fact, after analyzing over 1 million Google search results, the pros at Backlinko determined that the link authority and sheer number of different domains linking to site was associated with rankings “more than any other factor”. Now, you may have expected that from a site called Backlinko, but the message remains the same: quality backlinks are incredibly important in a site’s rankings, credibility, and overall prominence on the web.
Penguin 3.0 was released back in October 2014, so we’re certainly due for some black-hat fighting upgrades. So what will be included in the newest, shiniest Penguin? Well… we don’t know. Not really. What we do know is that update will be implemented as a “real-time” update, meaning that Penguin will always be on the prowl and can update further freely, catching nasty spam links earlier and more often. And with Google’s recent love affair with all things relevant and semantic, there may be a crackdown on any and all irrelevant links, though this is simply conjecture at this point of the game.
So, since Google is infamous for not giving fair warning before an update, what do you need to do now in order to get your site ready? Check your backlinks. Reputable sites with household recognition like Yelp or YellowPages.com are typically fine. Sites with a high PA (page authority) and/or DA (domain authority) are safe bets as well; if Google trusts them, you can too.
Now, if you see site like illegalgambling.com or buyexoticbirds.net are linking to your site, you’ll need to get your hands dirty. Normally, any links relating to gambling, pornography, and payday loans are big red flags. Organize a list of the sketchiest looking links and tell Google you want nothing to do with them using their Disavow Tool. And, as an extra layer of chainmail, make sure your incoming links are relevant to your site. Do you run an emergency plumbing service but have a link coming from mywedding.com? That may be a no-no soon.
With these steps in place, your site should be reasonably unaffected by the latest and greatest in Penguin. Of course, Google has a nasty habit of changing its algorithms overnight, so to be fully protected, you’ll want some SEO experts on your side. Be it Local SEO, National SEO, or improving your Social Media, the SEO professionals at SocialSEO are just a phone call away from turning your site into a superhero. Call today at (719) 725-6400 for a free consultation.