Webmasters who noticed something fishy in their SEO metrics are on to something: Google has confirmed it released Penguin 3.0, an update that marketers and SEOs have been anticipating throughout October 2014. There’s not yet official news about how many search queries this version is expected to impact.
The effects could be positive or negative. Sites that cleaned up their link profiles since last year’s Penguin release had to wait for Google to update the algorithm. If they did everything right, they should be seeing positive traffic and ranking trends. On the other hand, sites that escaped Penguin previously might be hit by this update if they’ve built SEO value on links that aren’t true ‘editorial votes’ for quality.
Despite being called 3.0, there have actually been more than three iterations of the algorithm. Each time, Google has instituted more stringent methods for cracking down on spammy links. And while it’s not entirely clear how many pages will be affected by 3.0, the standard rules for combatting spammy content still apply:
• Create high-quality resources that offer genuine value to web users. Great content is more likely to get links from reputable sources, which helps SEO value.
• Put content on the homepage so visitors can easily discover your high-quality content and reference it.
• Produce targeted landing pages that help people quickly find what users can link to.
• Create a site map so Google can crawl an entire site and index all of the high-quality content you’ve produced.
• Enhance your social media presence to encourage referral traffic and linking, as Google increases uses social signals to supplement search rankings.
And above all, watch out for bad links that point toward your site. Low-quality sites directing traffic aren’t worth the trouble, and the first step is to disavow them in Webmaster Tools. If you think you’re taking a Penguin hit, perform a link audit to see what might be causing trouble – and stay tuned for further news about the impact of Penguin 3.0 as it develops.
Want to understand how to deal with SEO in a Penguin-dominated search environment?
Check out our step-by-step guide to Penguin-proofing your site.