If you’ve been reading about SEO, you’ve probably seen “Google Penguin” thrown around a lot.
It’s because it was a major algorithm change that made a lot of websites sink in ranking.
Understanding what Google Penguin is and how you can use the information that came out of it can help you prepare for future algorithm updates.
Be sure you’re penguin protected with this primer on, “What is Google Penguin?”
Google Penguin’s Release
Google Penguin was released in April 24, 2012. This was in response to the discovery many people were violating Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
They were using black-hat SEO techniques to try to gain higher rankings. The focus of the techniques was to collect as many backlinks as possible through link schemes.
Backlinks are used by Google to determine the authority of a website. The concept is that if a lot of websites want to link to a particular site, it must be because it has something good to offer.
The problem with link schemes is it goes against what Google was trying to do.
When people were getting backlinks through paying for them or exchanging links, they were not getting them because the information on their site was high quality. This messes Google’s system up and then it produces results that Internet users really don’t want to see.
Google’s goal is to deliver the best websites with the information Internet users search for on its search engine. When Google realized this wasn’t happening, they looked into it. They discovered the link schemes, and thus, Google Penguin was born.
Google Penguin analyzed the types of links websites had pointing to a site. Instead of just looking at the number of links, Google started looking at the quality of the links.
If the links come from a website that isn’t reputable or authoritative, Google doesn’t place much or any value to it. In other words, the site Google is trying to rank doesn’t increase in ranking because of low quality links.
What’s even more important to understand about Google Penguin is that Google will decrease ranking of websites that seem to be part of link schemes.
If a website has many or all low quality links pointing to it, that could make Google take the site off search engine results pages completely. This is devastating to a site owner.
How to Avoid Google Penguin Update Problems
To avoid problems with a decrease in ranking when there’s a Google Penguin update, simply avoid seeking links from low quality sites.
Actually, you shouldn’t seek links at all. That’s Google’s wish.
It wants your site to get links because people find information they want to link to on your site. Going after links is what can lead Google to thinking you are simply trying to manipulate their system.
What to Do if You’re a Victim of Google Penguin
If you’ve made a mistake by participating in link schemes, you don’t have to close down your site.
You simply have to go through the backlinks you have for your site and contact the owners of those sites to remove the links. For those who won’t remove them or won’t respond, you can use Google’s Disavow tool, which asks Google to disregard those sites.
Even if you haven’t participated in link schemes, you should check on your backlinks from time to time. Some people have been victims to negative SEO, in which competitors have low quality backlinks generated for a business just to decrease its ranking.
It’s also possible that low quality sites have decided to link to something on your site because the owners like the information you’ve provided. While that’s a nice gesture, it can lead to a negative result with Google.
Check Backlinks Now
There are many tools online to check backlinks. You can use Moz.com, backlinkwatch.com, majestic.com or any of the others available.
Add it to your list of tasks to do for your site to make sure you are gaining links that will help your site increase ranking on search engine results pages.
This way you’ll be ahead of any Google Penguin updates that will surely come in the future.