So Google have announced another update to their algorithm, this time an update to Penguin 3.0. The update changes the way that Google use the data on a website to see where it ranks when people search for something using the search engine.
Penguin is specifically aimed at those websites which violate Google's Webmaster Guidelines using black hat techniques to manipulate themselves into a higher position. The update is a way of removing what is essentially spam from the search results.
Penguin 3.0 is the latest version of the Google search engine algorithm. Google have warned that with this new update people need to be on the lookout for some search turbulence. Moz have predicted that the changes will have affected a small number of sites in larger ways rather than a large number in smaller ways. Usually, a Penguin update affects 3 to 4% of search queries.
Penguin 3.0 affects sites that use unethical link tactics to boost their search engine rankings and manipulate the search engines. These are things such as irrelevant links, non-specific directory links or paid links in fluffy content with little to no importance. If you have a clean link profile, then good work, this shouldn't affect you too much. It's more of a problem if you delve into some grey areas when building up your link profile that you need to worry about it. You also need to make sure that your on-site tactics are up to scratch - making sure that your keywords do not seem unnatural or over used.
If you have found yourself at the sharp end of Google Penguin's beak, with your site's placement in search engine results suffering, there are a number of things you can do to prevent this becoming a long-term problem.
Firstly, find the links that are affecting you. You can do this using Google Webmaster Tools or Moz's Open Site Explorer. If you prefer, you can use professional SEO services to ensure that everything is done correctly and effectively.
Once you have found them, ask the webmaster of the site they come from to remove the link. If they won't, use Google’s Disavow Tool which can be found in Webmaster Tools to tell Google that you don't want anything to do with that site, thank you very much. Google will be rolling out refreshes and minor updates which will let you see if you have fixed the problem.
Matt Cutts is the head of the web spam team at Google and he has this to say about spam:
'...There are lots of Google algorithms specifically designed to frustrate spammers. Some of the things we do is give people a hint their site will drop and then a week or two later, their site actually does drop.'
You should think carefully about this advice if you ever consider using less than exemplary tactics when creating content and links to your site. Google hates spam and they spend many, many hours of manpower on removing it. If you want to do well, you need to create good content that actually meets people's needs which will get linked to because it is good - not because you have tricked someone somewhere down the line. If you do this, you should be fine!
If you're concerned about your search engine rankings or if you think your website has been recently affected, take a look at our website audits and get in touch with us.