What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone says “Be aware of Penguin’s update”? Nope, they aren’t referring to those cute animals you saw on Happy Feet (by the way, great movie). Actually, it’s about Google’s algorithm. Ok, ok – too fast. Why do people around you keep using the word “algorithm” as if it’s something that should be the new buzzword? In fact, it is. And if you are a new entrepreneur in this industry, you should understand it and (most importantly) follow it as a raving fan. Because it will guide your performance to excel your company goals.
Let’s take one step at the time. First, what is an algorithm?
“An algorithm is a fancy to-do list for a computer. Algorithms take in zero or more inputs and give back one or more outputs. A recipe is a good example of an algorithm because it tells you what you need to do step by step. It takes inputs (ingredients) and produces an output (the completed dish)…”- (Wikipedia)
I like this description a lot because it simplifies the process and engages my audience all the time. Google can be very simple – we just need to leave the jargon at home and connect the dots.
So now that we understand that an algorithm is basically a robot who will follow directions and will send feedback, then what’s Penguin?
Why is learning about Penguin important for your business?
Back in 2012, Google launched the Penguin update. The main goal was to penalize sites that were considered to have unethical backlink profiles. This means that Google wouldn’t show your website on the search results page if it was using bad SEO practice.
Because Google wants to understand who your company is linking to, see this as a great opportunity for online PR. Google wants to learn how reliable your site is to have certain authority to share information with users. Basically, the main goal of Google is to send the most valuable content to their users. Yes, every year Google works on its different algorithm to make it accurate and to continue raising the bar for the companies.
First and foremost, Google expects the backlinks that send juice link to your site are organic links. That means you shouldn’t pay to have a link back. Second is relevancy. If you obtain a link to your candle company located in Texas and you have a link on a local directory in Nevada, that is a red alert for Penguin and Google won’t be impressed. Lastly, user-friendly source of information. If there is so much hassle to find your information or the site seems spammy (pop-ups or any invasive navigation), that’s “no bueno. ”
Ok, with all this intro I think we are ready to start working on our site. Start by analyzing your site with your expert team. It’s time to update any old fashion strategy that might have took place in the past.
Google Penguin doesn’t like link schemes, best known as “spamdexing.” Why? Because anybody can create this sort of “directory” for the sake of a link. You’ll be penalized, but just cleaning up your backlinks or disavowed certain places won’t be enough. Once you removed yourself from those meaningless sites, you’ll have to seek a Google reinspection by using Search Console and submitting your site. Basically, Google will understand you are no longer are using those manipulative, sketchy techniques to obtain authority. As in life when you can’t buy respect but earn it, the same thing applies to the backlinks and Google. They will reward your hard work.
What should you do if you’ve been penalized by Google Penguin?
You could start by asking your teams to compare the rankings on your site. There’s a lot of tools in the market: Google Analytics, Search Console, MOZ, SemRush, Screaming Frog and more, just to name a few. By comparing data with the previous period or year, it’s easy to see if there is a significant drop down. But first, be sure it’s not something else such as: missing UA code, the server went down and they forgot to reach out to you, and so on.
Also, you’ll sometimes experience some significant dropdowns when you add high efforts on PPC or any other paid advertising. Of course, you’ll be bringing in high traffic, and if you only run it a couple times a year then that can explain those results. Google and people in the industry suggest keeping the “maintenance campaign” throughout the year to provide site sustainability in regards to traffic.
Regardless of the penalty, you’re faced with, it’s not the end of the world. There is a solution. Just remember to be patient and start working with your team to have it solved as soon as possible.
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