Did Google Penguin Strike You?
Barry Schwarz broke the news in a post published in Search Engine Roundtable titled, New Google Algorithm Update Targets PBNs & Links, Penguin Tweaks? after noticing chatter in some seo circles.
Oddly he says, the rumbling was mostly coming from black hat forums. Normal webmasters and white hat seos are not experiencing the same negative effects of the presumed update.
Thus far, Google has not confirmed or denied the update. Schwarz however, is an old hand at this game and his gut is an excellent barometer. Here’s what it has to say:
All the theories are very raw and early now. My gut, Google updated Penguin or released a new algorithm targeting links to find more links that should be discredited and it hit PBNs and links that are similar to those.
The Birth of the Penguin
The impending hatching of the Penguin Algorithm was announced by Google on the Webmaster Central Blog on April 24th, 2012.
In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines. We’ve always targeted webspam in our rankings, and this algorithm represents another improvement in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content.
What exactly is webspam?
Google’s post includes an image of a badly spun page hosting unnatural links to illustrate what webspam looks like. Here is a different example of the same kind of thing. It is an example of a toxic link I found recently when exploring a client’s poor link profile.
Ugly as sin, isn’t it?
You paid how much for that?
The worst thing about it is that that monstrosity would have been part of a paid backlinking package. Yes, the site owner, at some point in the past, bought a backlinking service and one of the links he paid for is buried in that mess.
Yikes, how did that get there?
Website owners are often surprised when they see the number of toxic backlinks their site has. Unfortunately, it’s really not unusual for them to be there – especially if the site has been up for a few years. Back in early 2000’s Google let it be known that the number of backlinks a site had were indicative of its importance but they said nothing at all about the quality of the backlinks. Small business site owners, particularly those offering fairly standard products and services, found it hard to generate links naturally.
Spammy link packages sprung up on the likes of Fivver or web marketing forums and for a while, these spammy links helped sites to rank. Link wheels, PBN’s and spun content were used as part of an overall seo package with the site owner having no idea that the team they hired were not sticking to white hat seo techniques.
It may never have been the site owner’s intention to game Google with spammy backlinks but that is exactly what happened anyway thanks to bad advice and trying to cut corner.
Talk about shooting yourself in the foot!
The site owner was shocked when he received his Link Profile Report. He had no idea that his site had any bad links or recollection of when they were created. He now has to undertake a link removal campaign and take a long hard look at his current link outreach practices.
Review your link profile?
Unless you have always had complete control of your digital marketing and are aware of all the backlinks pointing at your website, you do need to review your link profile and you should have a system to do so every month or so.
Backlinks are good but bad backlinks are very bad.