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Did Penguin 3.0 Crash Your Rankings?

Did Penguin 3.0 Crash Your Rankings?

Where did my website go?

Many business owners and webmasters asked themselves this question late last week. On Friday, October 17th, Google issued an update to it’s infamous Penguin ranking algorithm. This update, Penguin 3.0, has caused both ranking gains and losses for websites in Google search results. If your website used to rank on Page 1 and now ranks on Page 8 (or vice versa). You might have been hit by Penguin.

But this begs the question – what is Penguin, and how does it decide which websites to praise and which ones to punish?

What Is Google Penguin?

Google runs on algorithms. These computer programs work together. Using defined sets of rules and criteria, to filter through the millions of websites on the Internet. Google’s many algorithms include Panda, an algorithm designed to exclude poor content from search results; Hummingbird, which lets Google interpret search queries better; and Penguin.

In theory, Penguin is designed to help filter low-quality websites from search results. It operates by looking at a site’s link profile. The links coming from across the web back to that site. If the link profile looks “spammy” to Penguin, it penalizes the site in search results while simultaneously promoting sites with “clean” link profiles. Unfortunately, innocent or older sites can also get caught in the algorithm.

How Many People Were Affected By This?

This update marks the first major change to the Penguin algorithm since October 4, 2013. When Google released a refresh of the algorithm which they called Penguin 2.1. That last refresh affected rankings for somewhere between 1 and 2 percent of all searches on Google. So far, Penguin 3.0 is looking to be broader in scope than previous versions.

Did Penguin Affect Me?

The biggest problem with Penguin, at least to webmasters, is that it doesn’t give websites any warning before it strikes. One day your website is comfortably ranking on the first page for some of your key terms, and the next it’s simply gone. Many website owners don’t realize they’ve been hit by Penguin  until weeks later. Sometimes they never realize at all.

There are a few ways to tell if Penguin has affected your site. The first is simply to check your search rankings. Google’s own Webmaster Tools is a good way to keep track of your average search engine rank, though you should keep in mind that it’s just an average. If your site fluctuates between ranking in position 1 and position 10, your average rank will be 5.

However, if your average rankings and impressions in Webmaster Tools have taken a hit since October 17th, Penguin is probably to blame. As an alternative method, you can also check how much traffic you’re receiving from search engines and compare it to pre-Penguin levels. If your traffic has dropped off significantly, you may have been hit.

What Can I Do to Recover?

Penguin works on a simple principle: if a website has a link profile that looks to be spammy or unnatural – that is, made up mostly of links that were bought instead of earned. That website will be penalized. That means the only real way to gain your rankings back after being hit by Penguin is to clean up your link profile and remove links that Penguin finds suspicious.

What Web Tool Should I Be Using?

There are a few different tools you can use to view the list of sites linking to you. The one tool most website owners should probably use is Webmaster Tools. For a detailed overview of how to clean up your link profile and get your site back on Penguin’s good side, take a look at our blog post on how to clean up your links.

Unfortunately for many webmasters punished by Penguin, cleaning up your links isn’t an instant solution. The Penguin algorithm is updated manually by Google. So the changes in your link profile may not impact your rankings in Google search results until the algorithm updates again. Since Penguin only updates every few months at best, and over a year in this case, it’s very important that you get your links as clean as possible so you aren’t waiting for a long time to recover from negative links.

How Can I Protect Myself from Penguin in the Future?

One thing is for sure: Penguin 3.0 will not be the last Penguin update to shake up the search results. Whether you were hit by this latest update or you simply want to protect your website’s current rankings from future updates. You should do what you can to clean up your link profile and make sure Penguin won’t target you.

Whats Going To Be My Strategy?

Once you’ve cleaned up your link profile, you should think about your strategy for earning links online and getting better rankings. If you’ve ever paid to have your site listed in a directory or placed in a blog post, now is the time to stop those activities. Even if your site didn’t get punished this time. There’s no guarantee it won’t get caught in Penguin’s next iteration.

Paid Links Equal Bad Links

Keep in mind that not every paid link is a bad link. Paid links on high-quality sites or respectable directories for your business can be valuable. A good rule of thumb is, if you’re paying for more links than you’re earning naturally, you should retool your activities. You should never pay for a link with the sole goal of earning rankings. Only use paid links when they offer actual value to your site or the one linking to you.

Get Honest Results

If you are paying money to someone who promises thousands of links in just days or weeks. You should stop immediately. Your link-building strategy should focus on earning high-quality links from other authoritative sites. The best way to do that? Do something on your site that other people want to link to and share it with those people.

Focus On Quality Work

Many small businesses find success in running promotions on their site. While bigger businesses may also get lots of links by releasing white papers or original research about their industry. Whatever your strategy, it should be focused on creating good, high-quality content, not just getting links.

Want to learn more about getting better results and higher rankings for your website? Contact us today at RankMonsters! We’re a local Internet marketing agency, and we specialize in helping business owners get more performance and more revenue out of their websites. Call us today at (405) 605-8218 or check out our Facebook and Twitter pages for more insight and tips!

Google Changes Algorithms Again, Your Site May Be Affected

Google Changes Algorithms Again, Your Site May Be Affected

Though it seems like only yesterday that Google rolled out the last round of updates to its ranking algorithms, a new update has just arrived. Over the last few days, Google updated its Panda algorithm and its Spam algorithm. There is also speculation that another update to the Penguin algorithm could soon follow. These updates mean significant ranking and traffic change for many websites.

Google

Google has officially denied that they have any plans to update Penguin, but some people in the SEO industry suspect that they might just be saying that to avoid public outcry before the algorithm takes full effect.

Feeling Confused?

Confused about what these vicious penguins and giant pandas want to do to your website? We totally understand. It can be tough for people who don’t keep up with SEO news to keep track of every Google algorithm. That’s why we thought it might be useful to provide a brief overview of Google’s ranking algorithms and how they affect you.

Google Panda

Google’s Panda algorithm finds and filters low-quality content from search engine results. This ensures that only the most relevant, truly engaging websites make it onto the first page of results. The current update, known as Panda 4.0, marks the fourth major change to Panda. However, Google also updates Panda with rolling monthly updates in an effort to stay ahead of each new scheme to drive up rankings for low-quality content.

Panda affects a large portion of the searches done through Google. In fact, Google’s SEO expert Matt Cutts says that Panda 4.0 affects the results for about 7.5% of all English language searches. This has caused dramatic changes to the rankings and traffic of some websites.

Google Spam Algorithm

Also known as Google’s “Payday Loan Algorithm”, the Spam Algorithm specifically targets spammy websites that use terms you might see in your email’s junk folder, such as “payday loans”, “viagra”, “life insurance”, “LASIK” and “free coupons”. The Spam Algorithm mostly affected foreign websites and pages containing large numbers of spammy or extremely low-quality links and keywords. Most legitimate websites were not hurt.

Google Penguin

Penguin may be Google’s biggest and baddest algorithm update. While Panda targets low-quality content and the Payday Loans Algorithm fights spammers. Penguin punishes poor SEO tactics. Sites that were SEO-ed with practices that worked in the past but are frowned upon today are going to feel the brunt of this algorithm change. This is because Penguin doesn’t differentiate between recent work and optimization done years ago. When guidelines were different. In fact, it’s extremely harsh on any problems that it finds.

Penguins Hunt

Penguin focuses primarily on finding and filtering out sites it believes to have unnatural or highly optimized link profiles. In other words, it looks at all the websites on the Internet that link to your site and decides whether or not you “earned” those links (by providing high-quality content and services that people want to share or listing yourself on high-quality curated directories) or you “paid” for them (by hiring an unscrupulous SEO company or spamming links out across the Internet indiscriminately). If Google’s Penguin decides that your links weren’t “earned”, it will drastically reduce your site’s ranking positions and traffic.

What Worked Then, Wont Work Now

Unfortunately, the Penguin algorithm can’t tell when or how links were created. This means that people who used SEO companies several years ago are getting penalized for these poor links today. Even though the work these companies did wasn’t frowned upon at the time. Google is punishing these people for doing things it decided were wrong long after they did them. Penguin also makes it easy for competitors, spammers, and malcontents to sabotage your website by sending spammy links to negatively affect your rankings.

What You Can Do

All of this may sound very scary to you. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to protect your website. The best way to avoid any trouble is by following Google’s Webmaster Guidelines very closely and making sure your SEO company does the same. The Webmaster Guidelines are Google’s own list of tactics that will and won’t get you penalized by their current algorithms. Following these guidelines ensures that your website will keep attracting the same high traffic unimpeded.

The Guidelines 

While following the guidelines is the safest path, it doesn’t get you much movement. Even if you follow Google’s guidelines to a T without additional work you may not achieve the success you desire. Fortunately, there are still a few SEO techniques that will help boost your rankings and your website traffic without attracting any penalties from the Google algorithms. These tactics include:

  • Keeping Your Site Updated – Regular updates to the content on your website, whether it is on your homepage, in a blog, in your testimonials, or in your service page, helps Google’s ranking algorithm index your site and will send ranking signals that show your page is relevant for certain keywords. You earn more notice from Google and make it easier to gain rank by updating your website regularly with high-quality content.

  • Using Social Media – Using social media sites, such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, to link back to your site performs several actions that help to raise your rankings. Firstly, you make it possible for people to see and share your content. Secondly, you build a connection between your social profiles and your website. Thirdly, you show Google that you’re an authority in your field who works hard to share your knowledge with others. All of these signals can make your site stronger and more likely to rank higher.

  • Building a Quality Site – Sites that buy higher rankings will get punished. Sites that earn higher rankings don’t. You need to earn higher rankings for your website by putting in some old-fashioned elbow grease and providing high-quality resources for the people who want your product or service. Well-written and original content, clean and easy-to-understand design, and helpful information tells Google that you’ are an upstanding and trustworthy member of the online community.

What RankMonsters Can Do For You

RankMonsters can answer any questions you may have about your website, your rankings and anything else related to Google algorithms and search engines. We live and breathe SEO and always stay on top of the latest algorithm changes. Call us today and find out how we can deliver you more traffic, deeper customer engagement, and higher sales.

Read more about Google updates here and here.

 

Google’s Penguin Changes SEO – Again

Google’s Penguin Changes SEO – Again

SEO is a constantly changing game whether its google updates or keeping up with mobile use. Google, Bing, and other search engines are always updating the way they find and rank search results, which means that keeping a website consistently ranked high is a never-ending challenge. A perfect example of this is the recent change Google implemented in their search algorithm, Penguin 2.0. Lets see how Google’s Penguin Changes SEO- again. 

 

What Is Google Penguin?

For those unaware, the original Google Penguin was launched in April of 2012. Google Penguin was aimed at reducing the search engine rank of websites that used so-called “black hat” link building techniques like link spamming and keyword stuffing. Today these techniques add no value to a website’s SEO campaign. Spamming and keyword stuffing can easily result in your page being banned from Google’s search results entirely.

How Does Google Penguin 2.0 Change SEO

Penguin 2.0 goes even deer into targeting these black-hat techniques, and many sites have seen resulting dips in their search rankings and traffic. A number of the companies being affected heavily are older web properties with outdated links still pointing to their pages. However, companies with a wide range of “clustered” pages have also seen reduced rankings, as Penguin 2.0 has also reduced the search visibility of clustered URLs.

Content Creation

What does this mean for you, the page owner? In short, quality content creation is more important than ever. Google’s algorithm is doing its best to rank a variety of different websites that it feels have high-quality, user-friendly content. This is great news for the consumers, but it could be difficult for businesses that have websites without much content.

The New SEO Strategy

The best strategy here is to start building out your content pages and making them worth reading. It’s important to have a cohesive content strategy that positions your site as an authority in the field. To create content that is designed around providing a good user experience. Also, if you have a lot of older, unnatural link assets that point back to your website, even deep content pages. It’s worth working to manually remove and/or disavow those links.

How RankMonsters Can Help

At RankMonsters, we’re dedicated to improving your website’s SEO and page rank. Our monsters work as an extension of your team to provide you with high-quality content for your own website and a diverse and healthy link building profile. If you want to know more about what we can do for your website, contact us today.