Last year Google overhauled its search engine algorithms with Penguin 1.0 which punished low quality link profiles, poor backlinks and anchor text that was too keyword rich. In May this year they released Penguin 2.0.
Penguin focuses on unnaturally contrived inbound links. So Webmasters who have paid for mass links, spammed directory sites with links, or arranged for hundreds of comments to be left on blogs will see their sites suffer in the rankings. Conversely Google aims to reward businesses who focus on creating quality content for users, building genuine links, and developing their website organically rather than using quick tricks to boost their ratings.
So what factors should you address on your site? Well, Google this issue and you’ll find hundreds of articles, blogs and comments on the subject. In brief, we’d suggest that you identify your site links and assess their quality, relevance and the rate that you acquired them:
Quality is king. A site’s Page Rank and a Domain Authority is rough guide to its quality. Other indicators of quality are the site’s design, its written content, visitor engagement through posts and presence on social media.
Keep it relevant. Irrelevant links won’t benefit you at all and may even be detrimental. When posting links, choose sites (or specialist categories within sites) that share your niche or subject.
Link velocity. In plain speak - how quickly you developed your links. Penguin finds it suspicious if your rate of acquiring links is too fast or spikes suddenly for no reason as it could indicate that you just paid for them. Slow and steady wins the race as they say.
Pay attention to your anchor text too (on internal pages too, not just your Homepage) as Penguin will penalise you if it’s too keyword heavy - this comes across as an obvious ploy. Using a variety of anchor text will help its diversity and make it seem more natural.
You can find tools to help with the above such as Scrapebox, SmallSEOTools, MySEOTool or Attracta - or even outsource the job to a specialist (such as our partner Tillison Consulting). Once you’ve assessed which links are Penguin fodder you can request links or domains to be removed through Google’s Webmaster Tools, after which your site will be recrawled and reindexed. You could also submit a reconsideration request to Google outlining carefully how you’ve improved the quality of your site.
Once you’ve removed the dead wood you can start gradually and naturally start sowing new and better links that are high quality, relevant and contain diverse keywords. SEO is a tricky beast but there is a lot you can do to help your site’s visibility and stay ahead of the March of the Penguin.