As we all know, Google release small algorithm updates almost daily. Most of these go unnoticed for the most part. Then there are the larger updates that really shake things up.
Coming from a strictly white hat guy, it’s always shaken up for the better for me. But anyone who has crossed the line can find themselves losing traffic, money, and looking back at a lot of wasted time.
One of the more notorious updates in recent times was the Penguin update. There has been a few updates for Penguin, and each is designed to punish sites that are using unnatural links to boost their sites authority.
The update punishes these sites by giving these links they suspect to be unnatural a negative value. Thus reducing the sites authority, and lowering the sites results in the search engine.
I have worked with, and know a lot of site owners hit with penalties and I have to say they were all ‘guilty’ of shady link tactics. So in my experience Google are very good at detecting sites that have crossed their T&C’s.
This doesn’t mean they catch a large percentage of these sites, just more so that they only act when they are sure they are right. Which is the right thing to do. Penalising a site that has done nothing wrong could be very damaging to a business.
What to Do If You’re Hit by the Google Penguin Update
If you usually keep a close eye on your traffic and notice spike in the wrong direction, it’s likely you have been slapped with a penalty. You should log into your webmasters tools and check there for a penalty notice.
The quickest way to get back on track is to locate all the offending links and take action to remove them. You can disavow all the links via Google’s own disavow tool. This is the quickest way, and you can upload a file if there is a large volume of links.
However you choose to do it you need to remove these bad links. And, I feel the need to say this – learn from this lesson.
The Dark Side of Penguin and Negative SEO Tactics
There are always bad people making the worst of good intentions. If you have not personally been involved in bad links in any way, yet see them on your account you should consider if you’ve been targeted.
You can send bad links to your competitors just as easy as you can send them to yourself. The one thing Google can’t determine is who set up the links, and whether or not they are aware it’s happening.
It’s worth using the services of a reputable SEO company to sort through your backlink profile periodically. It’s better to find the links before the big G does, this way you can be proactive instead of reactive.
Unless you’re very green to the SEO world you are well aware you shouldn’t buy links, exchange links, or take part in any unnatural processes that result in links. It’s always tempting, the effect of links on a site is so powerful – but it’s not worth it.
Links can, and will be earned if you work hard on publishing content people want to share. Hosting offers and performing services people want to talk about, and being one of the leaders in your niche.