Looking at the exchange of tweets between Danny Sullivan and Matt Cutts, it seems apparent that the next Penguin update is due in the next few weeks.
For those who remember what really happened in the first update of the so-called Penguin implementation by Google, this news should come as a frightening reality. Even as Mr Sullivan would insist that this should be the fourth version, Google’s internal system classifying it as second update speaks volume of the magnitude this upcoming update should bring!
Search Engine Roundtable speculated that one update was made during the past week, but concludes nothing has happened, although one is imminent.
Why do we care about this?
Google’s ways in the past has been rewritten radically that those who got away previously with quasi-black hat approach (comment spammers and irrelevant link bombs, I am talking about you) may finally be getting captured in the current trawl of adjustments.
However, results are mixed, with some webmasters complaining at forums that their websites were heavily penalized despite adhering to Google’s own set of SEO guidelines. Others with questionable tactics seem to get away without huge drop search visibility and visitor traffic.
So as we await this apocalyptic pronouncement, we need to review our link building practices. Are we using press releases to generate links but acquire them from poorly written articles? Do we often use the same keyword as anchor text? Are you hiring cheap link builders to create forum posts that tag along pages of your website?
Since Penguin update is more difficult to address than Panda (on which Google basically weeds out low-quality content you publish) because it pertains to the quality of links that point to your pages. And it could mean trouble if you fail to convince the webmaster of a poor quality website to remove that link to you. Recognizing this fact helps us take necessary actions:
- Download list of links pointing to our website
- Classify them according to type of website (news, blog, directory), anchor text (keyword-rich, ‘read more’, etc), type of link (follow, nofollow) and age of links
- Identify low-quality links based on factors such as relevance and website reputation.
- Contact webmasters (sometimes payment is necessary) to remove the links
If penalized (or receiving manual action through Google Webmaster tool)
- Notify Google using the Google Webmaster Tool on activities you discovered and actions you initiated
- Wait for Google’s reply.
If all else fails, the Disavow Link tool may just be our last resort. Unless we wish to start from scratch, migrate content and disassociate ourselves from that penalized domain.