What Google's Penguin Update Means For Your Website

May has come and gone and with it came the arrival of yet another Penguin update from Google. This rollout, dubbed “Penguin 2.0,” is like its predecessor in that Google is trying to rid the SERP (Search Engine Result Page) of sites that use nefarious linking techniques to drive their Google position.  While known as “2.0” this is actually the 4th installment of the update in the past 12 months. 

Google has been very aggressive with rolling out these updates. Each new version of Penguin builds upon the work of the last. The threshold for being caught in the grips of Penguin has become increasingly lower, whilst the danger level to your ranking traffic becomes ever greater. To combat this marketers and site operators need to be as vigilant and aggressive in addressing Penguin as Google is in enforcing it.

The next obvious question is what to look for in your link profile that would indicate sites which would be Penguin targets. The usual suspects include sites that:

  1. Don’t relate at all to your vertical
  2. Are links from overseas domains in cases where it is clear your main business is U.S. based
  3. Links from thin content sites affected by Panda
  4. Links from sites which exist for the sole purpose of creating links (parked domain, poor quality directories)
  5. Any combination of the above
How will you know if your site has been afflicted by Penguin? The tell-tale signs are usually found with daily traffic counts in the days and weeks following an announced Penguin update. Another method is to check out impression levels for your site against a series of keywords in Google WebMaster Tools (GWT). It is important to stress that not ALL sites will be negatively affected by Penguin. There will be some winners.

Looking at organic visitor traffic after a Penguin update and seeing an increase in traffic may create a sense of security. One may be tempted to rest on their laurels and revel in their increased rank and traffic at the expense of their competitors. However, webmasters would choose this route at their own peril. It is a point of emphasis that these gains may be short lived, as the next round of Penguin updates may pull your site down as Google deals increasingly harsh search justice upon webmasters. Constant vigilance is vital to avoid being a victim of Penguin or any Google update.

The essence of the Penguin update is gauging the health of your link profile. Your link profile is the one of the main drivers of rank for your site and all of its associated pages. Penguin affliction or not, this precious resource of SEO value should be protected against future Google actions. In the coming weeks we will share some methodologies for dealing with Penguin related problems and also offer up some SEO safe link buildings alternatives to help replenish your supply of “good” links. 

In the meantime, if you want to know more about how Bridgeline Digital can help your business improve its Search Engine Optimization, please visit BridgelineDigital.com

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