If you thought you’d seen the worst of Penguin you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Google has confirmed that, after a year, they’ve given a refresh to its spam-fighting algorithm Penguin, with the latest release version 3.0.

It’s the first update to Penguin in over a year and went live on Friday, and is the sixth version of the algorithm which focuses on websites that have an unnatural link portfolio.

I’ve seen quite a few devastated webmasters saying they saw drops in rankings for certain keywords over the weekend. Why devastated? Because they say they’ve apparently been doing link building the right way.

Others on the other hand are delighted; they’ve seen rises in their natural rankings and have been celebrating their own link-building strategies with glee.

Whatever the results there’s no doubting that Penguin 3.0 is the most divisive update of the algorithm so far.

 

 

Has your website been hit by the Penguin 3.0 update? Do you know why or has it left you stumped? Let me know in the comments section below.

So why now?

Google’s priority is to deliver the best search results possible to its users so that they keep referring to it every time they want to find something on the internet.

So they’re always working to get the best results possible back to people when they enter a search query. Google’s always refreshing and working on its algorithms, so the launch of Penguin 3.0 was inevitable.

But is there more to it than that? Possibly… Google has been under scrutiny by governments and corporations for ages, with the latter especially deriding the search giant’s efforts to fight piracy.

Google argues it doesn’t host pirated material, and that as a search engine it’s merely a middle-man for people to find what they’re looking for.
But, in response to piracy criticisms, Google has also recently launched a ‘pirate update’ which is (as you’ve probably guessed) an update to its piracy algorithm.

It’s the first update to the algorithm, first released in 2012, for well over two years and hits websites that Google deems to be violating copyright laws; no easy task when the copyright law is different in a number of countries.

Battling spammy results and fighting international piracy… Google’s seen to be saying and doing the right things, but that matters little to a business owner that hasn’t a clue why their site has been penalised.

Clean as a whistle

One of the things about a number of Google’s penalties is that you usually have to wait until the next algorithm refresh to see if your changes have worked.

That means that people hit by the last Penguin update a year ago and worked hard to either remove or disavow links will have had to wait a year until last Friday to see if their hard work has paid off. Once you’re caught in the filter you have to wait for the next update to see if you’re clean again.

It’s one of the unavoidable pitfalls of search marketing and one of the underlying reasons to try and do it right and by the book as soon as you start out.

 

Google’s very clear on what constitutes a good link back to your site

You may convince yourself that paid links are a good investment, but Google’s likely to hand out a penalty sooner or later, especially as its algorithms refine themselves and start incorporating more signals.

Google’s very clear on what constitutes a good link back to your site and has a number of guidelines on how to build ethical backlinks, but sometimes even that may not be enough.

Are you tired of your link building strategy after the latest Penguin update? Is Google doing enough with its spam algorithms? Let me know below!

Keeping the faith

The most troubling thing for people penalised with Penguin is that it can put people off online marketing; sometimes through no fault of their own if they’ve been unjustly penalised.

It’s a situation familiar to many. They’ve tried link building because they’ve heard it can boost rankings, been caught out by Penguin, waited a full year to see if their clean-up efforts have worked only to see that they’re in a similar or worse-off position when the algorithm’s refreshed.

It can be disconcerting for business owners that want to capture organic traffic but aren’t sure how to do it. The timeframes also show what a costly business link building can be; not in the sense of paying for links but for hiring staff in-house to do it for you over a period of years.

Search marketing isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.If you have a team that doesn’t know what it’s doing and get it wrong then you’re spending a lot of time and money on damaging your website instead of improving it in the eyes of search engines.

Tips on doing it right

It’s one of the reasons why people choose to outsource their link building and other search habits to a specialist agency that follows Google’s guidelines and keeps its ear to the ground with movements in search.

Search marketing isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Each company and website needs an entirely unique strategy to catch the attention of its target market, and use a number of techniques for success including, perhaps, some offline tactics depending on the nature of the business.

As I’ve underlined before you shouldn’t concentrate entirely on search engines and link building to be a search marketing success. You need to focus more on providing your customers with a fantastic user experience and a web experience that keeps them coming back for more.

If you’re investing 100 per cent of your search marketing efforts on link building then beware. A mixture of social media marketing, content marketing, outreach and more combined are better ways to achieve visibility.

Ironically focusing on your links and Google will likely get you penalised. Doing it naturally and ethically is the real fast-track to success.

If you’d like to learn more about natural search marketing with Google and other search engines contact Webpresence today!