If you don’t know what a Penguin update is, it’s time to get smart. A Penguin update is a Google algorithm change which affects search rankings, as it incorporates Google’s preferences regarding link building. The last Penguin update, Google’s Penguin 3.0, struck in 2014 and affected 1% of UK and US search queries, which sounds small but is in fact 12 billion searches.
Penguin updates focus on the backlinks of a website, especially links that are spammy, poor quality or irrelevant to the site’s content. Google’s original aim with the first Penguin update back in 2012 was to catch sites using inorganic link schemes to boost page rankings – which at the time was quite common SEO practice. Now, however, these links are considered toxic for your website.
Google announced in December, that “with the holidays upon us, it looks like the penguins won’t march until next year”. Now the playful use of ‘march’ may just be coincidental, or it could be a big clue to the date of the next update. Whatever the meaning, it’s clear that the update will take place soon and it’s wise to carry out preventative measures.
Google have also disclosed that the Penguin update will be in ‘Real Time’. This means that ranking changes will occur as soon as the Penguin algorithm analyses your links, and the algorithm will continuously update instead of these periodic changes.
Removing toxic links from your site is vital. Take a good look at your backlink profile and if you’re finding an excess of bad links, then you may need to remove them prior to the update. The first step would be to contact the site’s owner and request that they remove the link to your site. If this proves unsuccessful, you can always disavow the link by contacting Google directly.
Best case scenario
Sites that aren’t abundant with toxic or poor links should notice no impact on their search rankings and actually may notice a positive increase. After the first Google Penguin update, many sites would have taken action to disavow poor links which, in theory, should set you up in good stead for the coming update.
Worst case scenario
Websites that may have previously practiced black hat SEO tactics and have toxic backlinks will most likely notice a drop in rankings. In this case, you should follow our preventative measures and remove any links that may appear toxic or spammy as soon as possible.
Worried about the update? SpiderGroup are an SEO company in Bristol and have experienced all the Penguin updates and know what to expect. If you’d like some help, you can call us on 0117 933 0570 or fill in our contact form and we will be in touch.