Google are planning another Penguin update. The good news for webmasters is that this update offers benefits rather than penalties.
A Tweet by Google’s trend Analyst, Gary Illyes back in October 2015, suggested the algorithm update would be launched by the end of the year. The company has since postponed the release, keen to ensure that it is ‘just right’ before full release into the wild.
A revised date has not been announced yet, but the update, SEOs believe, is expected in the short term.
So what can webmasters expect from the next Penguin algorithm update?
What is the Penguin algorithm?
Penguin is the part of Google’s algorithm that deals with link building profiles. Its purpose is to identify spammy links that attempt to manipulate search engines.
In the past, when webmasters were penalised for low quality inbound links, the website would drop in search rankings. Even after removing the links, websites would not recover ranking positions.
The new algorithm will continue to look to rectify this. Google realises that webmasters do not always have control over the links directed at their site, or spammy links left in their comments (albeit webmasters should make it a key part of their ongoing maintenance to moderate and remove these).
It is therefore unjust that online businesses should be penalised for something that is beyond their control (comments left in blog posts are of course the responsibility of the site owner and their moderation should be part of ongoing housekeeping).
As things stood when the last Penguin update rolled, when a website was penalised for low quality links, they were not likely to recover until the next Penguin update – and there were lengthy gaps between Penguin updates.
The 2016 Penguin update
The new Penguin update due for release soon could aim to address how quickly a penalised website can recover their page rank with this ‘real time’ (real time must take into consideration crawling / data gathering by googlebot and then return to be sorted before outputting results).
The ‘real-time’ update potentially could enable webmasters to recover page rank almost immediately after removing spammy links (crawling and re-indexing taken into consideration of course).
To avoid being hit by a Penguin penalty, it is good practice to periodically check your link profile in Google analytics. If you notice any unnatural spikes, up or down in your analytics, it may be due to backlinks.
If you find third party linking into you that you do not trust, either remove them or nullify the link by using the disavow tool.
If you are still engaged in guest posting exercises and include inbound links back to your website, make sure you only contribute to high quality sites (in itself relatively subjective), and only point to pages that are relevant to the content you are publishing, and useful to the visitor in the context of the contributed post. Including commercial intent rich anchor text links could get you into hot water.
Should you be affected by the next Penguin update, let us know and we will see what we can do to help you recover as soon as possible.