Update: Since this post was written, we learned the Penguin updates expected at the end of the year have been delayed until 2016, according to a Google spokesperson. It appears they’re waiting until after the holidays for the next big roll-out. Speculators suggest that a big change during the holidays could be devastating to businesses and create busy schedules for Google employees who are left to iron out the “bugs.” Learn more about how to avoid the upcoming Penguin penalties below and stay tuned for more details…
More Google Penguin updates are coming, but it appears they’re not ready quite yet. There’s still time to make corrections to your website before Google releases Penguin to the masses and hands out penalties to websites that aren’t up to par.
On two occasions recently on October 14 & 15 and October 19, many websites across industries and around the world noticed a dive in organic rankings. Some speculated the shift was related to Panda updates October 14 & 15 and new Penguin updates on October 19.
The Penguin theory was quickly ruled out when Gary Illyes at Google responded to a question on Twitter saying “it’s not too late.”
So what does this mean? These updates may serve as a warning or a wake-up call for businesses to make sure their website is up to snuff before the next round hits.
What’s the Google Penguin Update Again?
Google Penguin was originally announced in April 2012 as an update aimed at decreasing the rankings of websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Penguin put a halt to black-hat SEO methods and linking schemes to achieve higher rankings unethically.
Various Penguin updates were released multiples times in 2012 and 2013 with a “refresh” called Penguin 3.0 in 2014. Additional rollouts of the Penguin update are expected which will affect many more websites in the near future.
Though the recent changes in October were not admitted to being Penguin updates, we can consider these a warning. The next rollout could cause many websites to lose their rankings while others notice a significant increase. Now is the time to take precautions to avoid a loss in rankings.
How Do You Avoid Being Penalized?
Remember, the Penguin update penalizes websites with improper link building practices. The main takeaway: your link profile should appear natural. Here are a few tips you should keep in mind:
Remove Bad Links
Google isn’t happy about paid links as an SEO method and can spot them right away. If you paid for links or joined private blog networks, it’s time to remove all bad links from your website.
The new focus is to be natural and authentic. Create good content worth sharing and try guest posting or developing interesting infographics related to your topic.
The links on your site should be relevant to what you’re selling or the services you’re providing. If you’re selling tech products or services, you should not have links going to organic cat food, stand up paddle boards, or EPA-free Tupperware. Stick to what’s relevant and remove links that don’t apply to your industry.
Build Your Brand
Google loves big brands and is less likely to deliver penalties on bigger brands. So what do you do if you don’t have a bottomless marketing budget? Focus on having a beautiful, user-friendly website and a strong social media presence. When you’re well “liked” and people search for your brand online, Google notices and considers your brand trustworthy.
Manage Your Keyword Density
Avoid over optimizing your site and overstuffing content with too many keywords. This method no longer works to achieve higher rankings. Content should appear natural and not be overfilled with words that don’t help the average reader.
Is your website ready? The good news is there’s still time to make improvements. Give us a call to chat about your options. We help companies avoid nasty Google penalties and achieve higher rankings the natural way.