Just when you thought your SEO strategy had recovered from Penguin 2.0 – May’s iteration of Google’s spam-fighting technology – the search engine launched a new version that’s expected to hit less than 1 percent of all queries to a noticeable degree.
Google’s own Matt Cutts revealed the algorithm refresh in a Tweet on Friday.
Penguin refresh to have ‘noticeable’ impact
If the Penguin update is similar to Google’s Panda refreshes, it’s likely the new version will clean up spammy sites that weren’t hit by the first version (which impacted around 2.3 percent of all searches). This means it could target domains with questionable backlink profiles, and marketers who thought they had slipped under the radar will now need to go back and remove any disreputable references.
In the Tweet announcing Penguin 2.1, Cutts directed concerned marketers to the Google Webmaster Central Blog for more information about Penguin, but they won’t find any new updates on the forum. It still says the search technology penalizes domains using black hat practices to gain higher rankings in SERPs, while sites employing white hat tactics will (presumably) remain untouched.
During the year-and-a-half since Google first released its official guidance about Penguin, Cutts and other search marketing professionals have released other information that can help guide brands’ SEO efforts, such as:
1. Stop focusing so much on link building, worry about creating great content
Brafton previously covered a Google Webmaster Help Channel video in which Cutts told marketers that it’s better to focus on the bigger picture of content creation. Brands want to produce resources for their target audiences -customers – and not search engines.
He suggested that some companies become derailed in their search marketing efforts, striving to climb to the top of SERPs by mastering technical practices rather than thinking about what will compel visitors to return time and time again. It’s the latter that will win out in the end, he advised.
2. If something seems spammy, fix it!
Following Penguin 2.0, Cutts also gave marketers actionable steps to clean up their backlink profiles and regain prominence in search results.
- First, webmasters must spot the offending links (any purchased links, links coming from unreputable sources or sites with low domain authority, etc.) and submit a request, asking for them to be removed.
- If the petition is unanswered, webmasters can use the disavow tool to remove domains (or individual links).
Once these steps are completed, sites can submit a reconsideration request to Google.
Still want more information about the evolution of Penguin and how to win a fight against this spam-fighting algorithm? Check out this resource from Brafton!