Google has announced the release of the latest Penguin update to their search engine algorithm. With each major update Google tends to cause panic in the world of SEO as some websites feel the full force and can get penalized resulting in a loss of ranking. So regardless of whether your website is new and is yet to be search engine optimized or whether you’ve already managed to optimize and improve organic search rankings, it is important to know how the new updates can impact you.
Google’s first release of Penguin was back in April 2012 and ever since, the Penguin update has always been designed to target forms of black-hat SEO (especially relating to unnatural links) that can result in an increase in page rank through manipulation. Some of these black-hat methods include buying links or having several spammy backlinks from websites that are completely unrelated to your own. Until now Google’s penguin update was manually applied at various time intervals, this meant when the previous updates were rolled out and it had an effect on your website ranking you had to wait till the next update to see if improvements made have actually had a positive impact.
With the newest version of Penguin that’s said to be rolled out end of this year, Google has promised real-time updates which are a huge deal. With real time updates web masters and publishers don’t have to wait for the next roll out of penguin to find out if improvements have taken effect but will know straight away. So as you make improvements Penguin will notice you have addressed the issues and it will reflect on your page ranking in real time
One way to know if your website has been affected by the new update is to check the position of your website for your target keywords on Google search, if you have moved down in position it could mean a decrease in rank as a result of the update. Another way is to make use of Google webmaster tools to monitor web traffic before and after the update, if there is a sudden significant decline in traffic it could mean your website has been affected.
What kind of improvements can I make so as to maintain or improve my web ranking?
- Since the penguin update is mostly in relation to back-linking, the first step would be to clean up your website links. Remove or disavow any low quality links that are pointing to your website. The Google webmaster tools will at times notify you about some of the bad links you have and you can manually remove these links.
- A diversity in the use of anchor text is also important, if your website is using specific keywords aggressively as anchor text for backlinks then this can also affect ranking (similar to keyword stuffing)
- Get better quality links from similar websites (so back-links from reputable websites with related content)
- Get rid of duplicate content, so if you have multiple pages with the same content then fix this. Check for other websites that may have duplicated your own content as this can also affect your ranking. A useful tool for this is Copyscape
- Remove links from guest blogging sites that do not use no-follow
- Remove any links to your website from spam sites