We’ve all seen the spammy websites and posts that suddenly go viral. Most likely these were generated by users trying to game the system by creating mass amounts of keywords, bribing other websties, and paying for links. In 2012 Google created Penguin, an algorithm used to fight all of the webspam in search results. In this discussion we will talk more about Google Penguin and what you need to know about the algorithm, along with its annual updates and how it may affect your website.
WHAT IS PENGUIN
Google Penguin operates by using an algorithm to find any websites that use techniques that go against the Google guidelines. Techniques that go against the guidelines include manipulating the number of links that point to a specific page and using other black hat practices that are commonly referred to as link schemes. When Google first launched Penguin 1.0 in 2012, many websites trying to game the system saw the effects that combat algorithm update had. It is estimated that 3.1 % of all English websites under Google search engine had been affected, taking the rankings of spam sites back to where they should be, if not banning the site from the search engine all together. Penguin 2.0 was released a year later and it acted to send out new signals that would fight anything missed the first time. That time, it affected an estimated 2.1 % of websites. These percentages do not appear large but to the internet world of search engines these are huge decreases in the black hat techniques used by websites.
With every Google Penguin update, comes the data refresh. This means that if your website was considered to be using any kind of black hat techniques that go against Google’s guidelines, it would be de-ranked and not allowed a re-evaluation until the next data refresh. The data refresh 2.1 came out in 2013 and affected 1% of all queries. In other words, that affected millions of pages that were found guilty and de-ranked. Until the next refresh those websites could not be evaluated and would have to stand where they were placed. Google Penguin 3.o in 2014 allowed any website to be evaluated again and potentially move them up in rankings. Unfortunately many businesses who used black hat techniques on their site had to wait the entire year out to be moved back up, if found that their practices now followed the Google guidelines.
THINGS TO AVOID
Google searches for specific things when they send out the algorithm, the following are a few things to avoid with your website.
- Avoid low quality back links. A low quality site linking to yours is considered a down vote. If various low quality sites are linking to yours, it will signal Google that your site may be spam as well. This can decrease your rankings in the long run. There are different tools you can use to make sure no low quality sites are linking to yours, such as Majestic SEO or Moz.
- Paid links are a bad idea, and Google has been against them since the beginning. Spending a lot of money to get other sites to link back to yours can get your site fastly removed by Google, for it goes against Google guidelines.
- It is not a good idea to match the same links to keywords over and over again on your website. These anchor text links look very spam like to Google. They will fight against a site who has a link set up for the same keyword continuously throughout the site.
HOW TO ADAPT
Adapting to Google Penguin is not difficult. The number one thing to avoid with your website is to not use any spam like practices that will signal to Google that your site may be spam. The main reason Google looks for these practices is because if every search on Google turned up to be one of spam, people would simply stop using Google as a search engine. They want good, clean results of trusted and respected websites.
If your company creates quality content and respects the rules of Google guidelines, they will not be affected when another update of Google Penguin rolls out. If you can build your site through word of mouth and social media, other sites will link to yours. Instead of paying for links, do it the right way and reach out to other sites through social media or other practical techniques. Do not use shortcuts like bribing or paying other people to spread your site, instead let people know you have new content through email or social media and they will link to your site.
Getting your website to the top of the rankings the right way can let you stay there, even when Google Penguin comes out with any new updates. If you need evaluation of your website, use the numerous tools provided to help make sure your site is not considered spam and all practices are safe according to Google guidelines. Taking the time to adjust your website will help you in the long run, and let you stay at the top where the trusted websites are at according to Google.
Daniel J. Ball (JR)
Graduated from Saint Leo University in November of 2014. Enjoys sports, fitness, and the company of good friends/family. I like learning and reporting about the changing landscape of marketing/advertising. Marketing via social media is increasing year to year as more people use social media on a daily basis. Learning about popular and current advertising strategies to incorporate onto social media platforms is fascinating to look into and write articles on that can be used as informative tools for marketers and online advertisers.