Online marketers and search engine specialists have been looking forward to the end of the year when they would evaluate how the year has been and how their strategies have fared on. However, Google has another perspective to the end of the year – a Penguin refresh that is likely to be rolled out any time before year end. What this means is you should quickly reevaluate your site so as to align it with the requirements to avoid a penalty. Alternatively, in case you fall a victim, you should act fast so as to recover from the penalties.
The History of Penguin
The first Penguin update as we know it today was launched by Google in April 2012 with an aim of uncovering spammy backlink profiles and to punish websites that were in violation to the quality guidelines as defined by Google. The Punishment involved lowering of search engine rankings for the affected sites. This measure is to ensure only quality sites are ranked high to the benefit of Google search engine consumers.
Sites that have been found culpable include those guilty of keyword stuffing, low quality backlinks, excessive link exchange and those with large numbers of links optimised for the same anchor text.
In the timeline of Penguin updates, the refresh that affected the most searches (3.1%) was the first one in April 24th 2012 also known as Penguin 1.0 and the update which happened on May 22nd 2013 which affected 2.3% of the searches. The latest Penguin update happened in October 17th 2014 also called Penguin 3 and it affected 1% of the searches.
The Real Time Penguin Update
Because a Penguin update runs slowly, Google announced in June that it was working on a continuous running update. This means when the Penguin update rolls out, its algorithm automatically allows it to update itself in real time instead of a manual refresh. According to the developments, this update is getting closer and if everything go as planned, then by the end of 2015, the update will be running.
The Implications of the New Real Time Penguin Update
In order to succeed in Google search positioning, it’s important you understand the extent of the impact the update will have on websites globally and what you can do to prepare. One thing you should note is the real time update will have immediate impacts on search ranking instead of the wait and see approach.
The moment Google discovers that you have removed or disavowed a link; the algorithm will immediately process the event in real time. This development has two sides to it; the positive side is you will be able to recover quickly from a penalty if you act fast and the negative component is that you could get penalised by the Penguin pretty fast.
The exact date of the release is not as yet in the public domain because the algorithm is still being reworked. However, John Mueller from Google intimated through a Google Webmaster Central hangout that the update will be rolled out before the end of the year.
Site Rankings Improvement without Algorithmic Refresh
Previously, it was rumoured that sites penalised in a previous update cannot recover without a refresh. However, Google confirmed that your site can improve its rankings without necessarily there being an update. This is because Google has a basket of over 200 crawling, indexing and ranking factors that webmasters can leverage on to improve their rankings even before an update.
In order to clean your link profile, you should conduct a link audit and remove all unnatural links pointing back to your site. All bad links which are the main focus of a Penguin update must be removed and the rest disavowed.
Inasmuch as a Penguin update can penalise your site, other factors may also be responsible hence you need to be sensitive to the overall health of your website.
Signs You Have Been Hit and How to Recover
Being an algorithmic penalty, Google doesn’t notify you but rather you need to be vigilant and assess the flow of your site traffic. Some of the telltale signs of a penalty include a poor ranking for your target keywords, a drop in your site rank positioning from say page 1 to page 2 without you making any changes as well as removal of your site from Google’s cached results all of a sudden.
We offer specialised penalty recovery services to help rescue your site. Our specialists will walk with you throughout the entire recovery process because they are skilled and experienced in the same. Let us know if you need a site audit or any remedial measures.