Imagine, you checked your google analytics the next day and found the traffic has dropped drastically.
For any online business owner, this is a nightmare!
But the truth is this can happen to you anytime. Or, maybe it has happened with you in the past.
This happens due to changes in Google algorithms. In simple words, Google algorithm is the formula used by the most dominant search engine (Google) to rank your website.
Yes, you read that right! There are around 200 Ranking factors.
That means if you score high on all these factors. Bravo! Google rewards you by placing you on the top of the searcher’s query for a given keyword.
But, if you have just been hit by Penguin bug, you must be finding this a distant dream. Well, that’s not true.
You can keep the crawler happy by using right SEO strategies . Plus, you will also score high on the ranking factors.
See, Ranking factors are really important. They are continuously changing to remain relevant to the searcher’s query. Google continuously checks your website.
So if your website has seen a sudden drop in the traffic, like this:
The first step is to check whether the website is under some Google Penguin Penalties or not.
Today, I am going to talk about one such Google update that had shook the entire SEO community, marketing professionals and small businesses when it was launched.
Google Penguin is one such algorithm update that have penalized many websites in past.
Even now as you read this post some of the websites are getting penalized.
Data suggests, out of all the penalized websites only 5% of the lot submit re-inclusion reconsideration request to Google.
What does this small percentage indicate?
Well, it means many people still don’t know what to do when Google Penguin bug hits the website.
Are you one of them? Do you know any such website that need recovery? If yes, then this blog is for you! Here’s your chance to not just recover but also learn how to avoid
Google Penguin penalties in the future again. But without getting the basics right, you can’t even begin the recovery. So let’s understand the basics first.
What is Google Penguin in Digital Marketing?
In the world of digital marketing there is lot of fuss about Google Penguin update. Many marketers, online businesses’ and even SEO professionals fails to understand. They blame Google for penalizing their website.
In short, they see Google as their enemy. Now you see here they goes wrong. Google is not your enemy.
Yes, Google change and bring new updates. But Google change because people change.
See, the thing is world’s most trusted web search engine works day and night to give the user the most accurate information in the least possible time.
Google makes sure that it remains relevant for its 3.5 billion users per day. Google is built to serve the best to the people.
So, I repeat, when people change, Google change. Google Penguin algorithm was a change introduced in this direction.
Before Google Penguin was introduced many websites were using certain hacks to boost their ranking upwards.
There one of the main strategy was link building. Link building was used in a big way to improve a website’s ranking.
Today Google consider this as spam! Google penguin in digital marketing world was truly a revolution to reward good websites and penalize the bad ones.
When did Google Penguin update happen & what were its results?
Google Penguin update was launched for the first time in April 2012.
It was launched to punish the sites that are trying to manipulate Google’s search results by building links through networks designed to increase the ranking.
After the first update was launched many websites were penalized. Most of them were those who have purchased or acquired low quality links from websites.
Creating an artificial imagery of popularity to influence Google rankings. For instance, back then if there is a resort in Geneva it could fill forms with positive comments like “Best hotels in Geneva”.
In a way projecting a false imagery of relevance and popularity using black hat techniques of link building. Also, the same company could have been paid to give links for a third party website, for instance, any pet’s shop.
Totally unrelated and has content that has no relationship with the website. With these unrelated links your websites could have been on the top of the SERPs in pre Google Penguin era.
But not anymore!
The Google penguin update launched in 2012 impacted 3.1 % of English language search results.
Between the year 2012- 2016 the Google Penguin introduced in total 10 updates .
Each Update is different from the other. Moreover, with the start of 2017, these updates has become part of Google core algorithm.
Google officially announce this in its Google Penguin 4.0 update. Yes, these updates are very important.
You need to know all the updates to understand the issue your website is or could be penalized for. Updated Google Penguin announcement till Now!
The first Google Penguin announcement came in 2012. But between 2012-2016, the most trusted web search engine rolled out 10 Google Penguin documented updates. This shook the entire SEO community.
What’s more? Google has officially announced that penguin update is now part of core Google algorithm used for ranking the websites.
This means it’s not a thing of past anymore!
Google consider all its updates seriously to rank your website. These updates can greatly influence your SEO strategy in the right direction.
So here’s what Google Penguin Update 2019. Everything you need to know till date:
It was the first update launched by google penguin in 2012. It was a data refresh update that impacted 3.1% of all the queries. The initial effects of penguin 1.1 update was improved once the sites have cleaned up their poor backlinks.
Minor weather report: We pushed 1st Penguin algo data refresh an hour ago. Affects <0.1% of English searches. Context: http://t.co/ztJiMGMi
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) May 26, 2012
This second update was also data refresh but there was a big change. The new version didn’t just target the English search queries but also different languages search results. The additional impact was around 0.3%.
Google Penguin 2.0 on May 2013:
Now, it was this update that shook the entire SEO community in a big way.Reason,the update changed the entire algorithm this time.
It was with Google Penguin 2.0 that the software moved beyond the homepage of the website and the top level category pages. The algorithm punished the websites if it found any evidence of link spam. This update affected 2.3% of all English search results.
Plus, the algorithm affected the results of other languages too.
Penguin 2.1 on October 2013:
The Penguin 2.1 update was another important update that affected 1% of the queries. According to some private research, there’s evidence that the new penguin update was able to crawl the websites even deeper to check if there was any link spam or not.
Penguin 2.1 launching today. Affects ~1% of searches to a noticeable degree. More info on Penguin: http://t.co/4YSh4sfZQj
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) October 4, 2013
Google algorithm Penguin 3.0 in October 2014:
Earlier many people thought as this was a major update. But this came as a relief to many penalized websites with its dual purpose. Firstly, Google algorithm penguin 3.0, allowed websites that had cleaned up their back links profiles to recover now.
Secondly, it caught those websites which the crawler missed in the previous checks. All this affected around 1% of total English queries.
Google Penguin 4.0 & Real Time, 2016:
It was with the coming of Google Penguin 4.0 that Google made poor back linking part of its algorithm.This also came as an immediate relief to many websites which has cleared the link spam.
As now instead of punishing the website, Google simply didn’t reward such misbehaving websites. So rather than punishing a website by dropping its rank, now google will simple devalue any spam links
These are the penguin updates that google consider seriously to rank your websites. But, here’s the thing, Google isn’t just after your back links.
Yes, there are many other things that Google penguin focuses on.
So let’s learn how Google Penguin works
How does Google Penguin work?
Now, that you know the relevance of google penguin, aren’t you eager to know how this update works?
If you are thinking you know how google penguin works and the answer is “No spam links” you need to read more.
Folks, back links is just one important consideration of Google Penguin. There are many other aspects of google penguin that the crawler might punish you for.
So how does google penguin works really?
Well, in one line, nobody knows this.
Yes, the answer to “how google penguin works” is a top secret.
The managers at Google themselves don’t know how the algorithm works.
Why? Well, Google has learned in the past that people try to manipulate its algorithm once they know how it is worked.
For instance, in the past, people have managed to crack that google ranked the websites based on high number of links.
Result, in no time, Google was filled with poor quality content.
The websites with original content was ranked lower, while the websites with high number of back links but poor quality content reached on the top pages.
So no one knows how the Google penguin algorithm really works. Ideally websites with top notch content will pass the google penguin test.
Yes, you need to pass the Penguin test.
Wondering, so what are the strategies you can follow to pass the test? Read below to know
Google Penguin SEO strategy
It is difficult to know how google penguin works.
But here’s the good news, you don’t need to know that also.
Yes, you read that right.
See the thing is Google works on relevancy. Google don’t care what used to work years back or even months back for that matter.
They are focused on relevancy.
So instead of thinking how penguin works just ask yourself “Is my content relevant for the users or not”. If the answer is “Yes”, this will help you get rewards from Google.
So instead of over optimizing your website for Google. Play smart! Know the right SEO trends that will keep both the crawler and people happy . Here are few other Google Penguin SEO strategy that you can simply follow:
Consider Link Velocity
Google penguin’s main attack was on Backlinks.
Yes, post penguin, google crawler suspiciously looks every link your website is getting.
Getting too many links too fast is a big no-no and you should avoid doing. So you should reduce your link velocity and build links carefully and slowly.
Know the high-quality links
Link building is the best way to get high ranking in Google Search Engine. Yes, it still is! If you receive High quality links.
You need to be careful about the kind of links your website is getting. So it’s important to know what are good quality links.
Here’s what you need to remember:
1. Good links comes from big brands, websites and reputed organisations
2. Such links comes from web pages to which other good sites are link to
3. Good links are those that provide value to the visitors
4. These links are those that are embedded within the content of the page
These are just a few aspects of what forms a great link. But a high-quality backlink can really send good signals to Google and reward your website.
Check anchor text density
If you are new to the world of SEO, chances are you have ignored the relevancy of anchor text.
Right? Well, if the answer is “yes”, listen, you can be in big trouble.
So what exactly is anchor text? Plus, why you need to worry about Google Penguin anchor text? Let’s see.
What is anchor text?
Anchor text is the clickable text which will take your to another URL of either the same website or to the different websites. This is how the anchor text looks on a web page.
Before google penguin anchor text was introduced, it was easy to rank in SERPs.
You could easily rank your website with exact matching anchor text. Google used to considered anchor text as an important factor back then.
But now, over-optimized anchor text could penalize your website. Wondering what this means?
So imagine, now if you want to rank your website for a keyword “best insurance company in New York” for the website InsureYourLife.com then you must use below-mentioned types of anchor text with links to this post:
- Insurance company checklist
- How to choose best Insurance company
- Why you need Insurance
- Click here
So on and so forth. There are different types of anchor text that you can check. Use anchor text checker tool to not over optimize your anchor text. It’s a good way to keep Google Penguin Penalty checker happy
Balance your Nofollow and dofollow links
Backlinks are really important to your website. They can really make or break your website traffic as Google is considering them very seriously.
So you need to understand a bit more about Google penguin backlinks. There are two types of links: Dofollow link and Nofollow link.
Here’s how both of the links look.
Example of No Follow Link:
Example of Do follow link: (Note: When there is no mention of “No-follow”, the link is automatically become “Do follow”)
Do follow links are the ones that can be seen both by the crawler and people. The crawler will pass the link juice to your website. This will give you an improved rank.
The more do follow links you get the better your website ranking will going to get.
On the other hand, no follow links are a complete opposite.
They can be seen by the people but not by the crawler.
In short, with no follow links you don’t get link juice but it can still help to bring traffic to your website.
Who would want that? Right?
Well, that’s what you must be thinking right now, and that’s what most people think and do.
But here’s the truth. See if you are just going with do follow links it will give an impression to Google that you have an over-optimized your site.
Meaning you are trying to manipulate the crawler. Something which Google can penalize you for.
So the best way is to not give an over optimized and artificial look to your website. This can be done by having a good balance of do follow and no follow.
Directory and social bookmarking
In the pre-penguin era, free directory submission and social bookmarking was the best way to look good in the eyes of Google.
But not any more!
Post Penguin, bookmarking and directory submission are no more part of effective SEO strategy. However, you shouldn’t completely abandon them but not entirely depend on them too.
Focus more on informational content which is regarded as more value in the eyes of Google.
Check On-site over optimization
Apart from links, penguin updates have put a lot of focus on-site optimization. Penguin 2.1 was, in fact, an extension to this specific update.
So issues like 404 errors, poor quality content and using Google authorship are the areas you need to focus on.
What are Google Penguin Penalties and how to recover?
If your website analytics suddenly see a drop in traffic, it’s hard to know what went wrong and how to recover.
The first thing to do is to check whether your website is really penalized by Google Penguin or not.
There are various Google Penguin Penalty checker tool that can be used to check if your website has been affected by Penguin or not. Once you know the bug then comes the recovery part.
Google Penguin penalties can really affect your online business in a big way. But here’s the good news for small business owners. If you could start working on fixing the issues you could see the results soon.
This came as a big relief for small business owners. As in the past, the google penguin would refresh only on a given date. The result, the websites have to wait for any update to see.
But not anymore! you get immediate results if you rectify the issue and send re inclusion request.
So what to do if you have been hit by Google Penguin?
Well, there are lots of things that you must do . Firstly, if you have any links that penguin looked as spam, then disavow quickly. Either use no follow tag or contact the website to take the link down.
What is the best part of this step? You will get immediate results!
Now, once you have recovered from Google penguin penalties remember to remain alert. Make sure you only follow white hat SEO practices and track your links carefully. So the first step is to use right Google Penguin tool.
What do you need to know about Google penguin checker tool?
The success of online business depends on Google’s rankings.
But the result of Google’s ranking depends on the quality of links your website is getting. So if your website has been there for quite some time now, it is likely that you have some links targeted to your site.
Some of these links would be good, some could be bad and some that is not influencing your website in any which way.
Google algorithm will take all these links very careful to your site. So you need to consider them too.
The first step is to check the link profile as this will give you a clear idea of whether your website SEO is in the right direction or not.
Here are 3 best Google Penguin tools
Ahrefs is a complete Google penguin checker tool to check the quality of your Google penguin backlinks that every marketer and SEO professional should use. Don’t blindly trust me, check out its 7-day free trial before. Yes, its available for the free version too.
The Google penguin checker tool tells you the backlinks and keyword your competitors are targeting for.
Once you know what your competitors are doing, the ball is in your court.
You can simply start planning for how to get those high quality backlinks to rank ahead your competitors.
What’s remarkable about linkody tool is that it automates the entire process of checking backlinks. The tool offers many more features. Check it out!
If you have checked the Google penguin backlinks manually, you would agree on two things for sure.
a) It’s time-consuming.
B) It’s difficult to keep up with this process. So there comes linkody to never let you again check the Google penguin backlinks manually.
What’s even better is you can track your ever-changing link profile anytime. What does that mean?
Well, linkody sends you email notification on when you lose or gain any link. Isn’t that’s great!
Wouldn’t you want to know the reason of why you lose a good link or gain a bad one? Linkody answer all such questions. You can set up daily email notifications, and daily reporting to get insights about the health of your links. Check it out Linkody free version now!
3. Cognitive SEO
Cognitive is another very powerful tool that can help your business to succeed. There are many features that this Google penguin checker tool uses but for this post we will focus only on the Google penguin backlinks analysis part.
For instance, by using cognitive SEO alert system you can get notifications regarding your website and your competitors. Plus, you can also check growth trends, historical information and get much more data.
But here’s what this Google Penguin tool is best to check for:
- No follow & Do follow links
- Link velocity
- Complete link analytics which includes domain and link authority.
If you are still unsure about this Google Penguin tool relevancy, try a free search.
Facing Google penalty can be really a scary thing! But if you are trying to do any black hat SEO technique, there’s no way Google crawler can’t detect you.
However, here comes the good part: You don’t have to live with the penalty for long. The key to rescue is to identify and understand the issue you have been penalized for. Once you know the reason for the penalty, wait no further!
Remove the links that caused the trouble. Check the other on site and off site issues as well. That’s it!
Once you remove all the reasons of penalty you can quickly submit a request for re-inclusion. Still having some doubts?
No issues, let us know in the comment section below! I will like to give you the best solution for your issues.
Digital Marketer with experience of working with brands across the globe. She is a data-obsessed digital marketer who makes the most by analyzing data and intersecting it with her creativity. Passionate about creating content strategies that drive traffic and conversion rate too.