How You Can Profit From Penguin 4.0?
The game of SEO is always played by a set of rules, which of course are dictated by the mighty G. The “so called” updates represent drastic changes in Google’s core algorithm in which G is targeting different violations of their webmaster quality guidelines.
In 2012 the world was first introduced to the Penguin update which was targeting websites that were showing usage of black hat techniques in order to boost their rankings such as: unnatural link building patterns, keyword stuffing, duplicate content, cloaking etc.
After the update was rolled out it completely changed the rules of the game and SEO’s were forced to increase the quality of their websites, quality of their links and their content. One of the other targets Penguin was designed to defeat was web spam or more specifically “sites that they believe are violating their quality guidelines.”
The fourth release of Google’s spam-fighting “Penguin Update” just went live a few days ago. The specialty of the new update is that it contains Penguin 2.0 technology under the hood, which Google says is a new generation of tech that should be even more effective at fighting spam..
What are the key features of Penguin 4.0 and how they will affect SEO?
From what we know right now penguin is still rolling out and the last ranking fluctuations were just the results of Google’s first testings. What we know for sure at this point is that Penguin 4:
- Will affect all countries and languages – Google have confirmed that this update will have a non-restricted world-wide impact. The update will roll in in all countries and all languages at the same time and with the same extensions.
- Will become a part of the core algorithm – Up until now Penguin updates were effectively like a separate filter added to Google’s main search algorithm. With the new update Penguin is joining Panda and becomes part of Google’s core ranking algorithm and one of the 200 constant ranking signals. As an SEO you will need to continuously keep track of your websites especially your link profiles and anchor’s if you want to stay away from a Penguin hit.
- Is Real Time – With this change, Penguin’s data is refreshed in real time, so changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after your site has been crawled and re-indexed. That means that you should be able to recover from a Penguin penalty much faster than before, but also that any websites ranking could change each time Penguin visits your website.
- Isn’t Affecting Site Wide but “Granular” – The new Penguin update is much more targeted and works at a granular level. This basically means that it can affect single pages which are violating webmaster guidelines rather than the whole website. From an SEO’s standpoint this will make it even more difficult to track and audit specific pages on a daily basis.
How To Use Penguin 4.0 To Your Advantage?
We believe that in general Penguin 4.0 is a pretty harmless update, with a couple of caveats.
One of the tricky things about it is the fact that you won’t be directly informed if and why your website was penalized. In fact, it is even more important to monitor your website regularly so that you become aware quickly if and when your website was hit by the new update. This can be achieved by tracking some of the indirect signs like a sharp drop of your traffic, drop of your rankings for all or part of the keywords, fluctuations etc. On the other hand, Penguin 4 is working real time and you will be able to achieve a fast recovery if you dig on the right spot.
We have put together a few tips on how you can avoid being hit by Penguin in the first place:
Anchor text ratios: From what we know right now aggressive anchor text ratio’s are one of the main signals Penguin is going after. We recommend you stay under 20% exact and partial match. Having this anchor text ratios over 30% will definitely cause a hit.
On the other hand we have experienced a BIG push on our websites where we have used more branded and generic anchor’s and under 5% of exact/partial matches. What I mean with branded anchor’s – Instead of linking: best running shoes we have used: check bestrunningshoes.com etc.
Link building and diversification: Nothing changed about the fact that Google still prefers quality contextual links over other type’s of links. Our websites which mostly have PBN and other contextual links are still holding their positions. There are still a few ways how we easily and safely diversify our link profiles what is also becoming an important Penguin signal. It seems that Google still likes blog comments (we normally do handwritten and niche related BC’s), citations, directory links etc. What we don’t use anymore are footer and widget links, since G treats those links as non natural.
Here is our strategy how we keep our websites away from the new Penguin Update
- Keep Track of Your Websites – Most SEO experts will already be constantly monitoring their websites rankings in much the same way they are constantly checking their emails. It is a horrible habit, it does become addictive, and Penguin 4.0 will only make it worse. Because of the flexibility introduced in Penguin your sites position in the SERPS can fluctuate quickly and we believe quite drastically. Set up some sort of automated system that will alert you the minute your sites move, either way, so that you can react and understand what is happening and why. This will be a continuous learning process that you need to keep on top of.
- Quality of Links over Quantity: Gone are the days where you could just build unlimited links with aggressive anchors to easily rank your website. Everything is slowly moving towards white hat SEO and the new Penguin update is just further proof that Google wants to remove spammers from the game. If you want to stay away from a penguin hit you should start building high quality and relevant links. We define quality links as links coming from real websites, which have real/organic traffic and are ranking for their main keywords. Stay away from low quality PBN’s, blog comments and links which are easy to get – they are much more likely to negatively affect your SERPS ranking than improve it.
- Keep Track of Your Backlink Profile of your Entire Website – In the introduction we mentioned that the update would take a more granular approach. Unfortunately, this means that you ‘ll need to audit and track every page on your website, every subdomain, and other subdivisions of your website with regards to your backlink profile and on page SEO. Typically this will involve more work, but of course this can be to your advantage, as many of your competitors may not be as conscientious as you.
Are PBN’s Still Working After The Penguin Update?
Let’s be totally honest here, the only people who really know how the new Penguin will work is Google themselves. Right now we all can have just a good idea, but only time and testing will give us the whole picture of the whole penguin impact. What we have always found though is that Google is constantly trying to suppress SEO’s who are playing the system. Google is constantly improving and we believe that this new update will just continue that trend.
If you want to stay in the game you should avoid black hat techniques and start building on quality and white hat. The same goes for PBN’s – they will always work if you just build them out correctly. Right now we are experiencing big difference between PBN’s which are actually ranking for some keywords and getting organic traffic – these are the two key points regarding how Google is evaluating websites and the power of links coming from them.
Check out our PowerHouse Links we are using to dominate high competition niches: CLICK HERE
How to Keep Your Backlink Profile Clean and Safe?
Since the New Penguin 4 Update works in “Real-Time” you should be monitoring your links on a daily basis to make sure you get rid of the bad ones which could be causing you problems. Since Penguin is working real time we thought that also the disavow process will work faster – but we were wrong on this one. Approximately 30% of the disavow files do not comply with Googles rules. In order to assist you we have pointed out the most common mistakes on how to avoid getting your disavow file rejected.
To disavow links properly, the process is very similar to writing HTML code. If you leave out one piece of syntax your entire line of code simply won’t work. The following are common mistakes that SEO companies make.-
- You MUST put the word DOMAIN: in front of the domain you wish to disavow. So for instance domain: CNN.COM. If you just write CNN.com nothing will happen and you will be wasting your time.
- Don’t use quotation marks around the URL, the only two words that matter are Domain: or HTTP: so if you write “ http://cnn.com” Google will ignore it.
- Make sure your file format is correct, as with any piece of code one mistake can destroy a lot of work, or in this case fail to have a spammy link disavowed.
- Let’s be realistic, if a link from a page is spammy, the entire domain is probably of the same ilk. Don’t just disavow one specific page, play it totally safe and disavow the entire domain. It is certainly better to be safe than sorry.
The thing to remember is that Penguin 4.0 is very new, and the entire community is learning, testing and evaluating as we go. New discoveries will come to light, new skills may have to be learned and the work load will continue to increase. We will keep you updated with any new findings within the online community, and help you to continue to succeed in the never ending battle with the big G. We hope you derived some benefit from this post, and that you put the information to good use.