Major Google algo update coming – a few weeks left to get your site ready for Penguin 2.0.
“Penguin 2.0 … will be much more comprehensive than Penguin 1.0 and it will go deeper and have a larger impact than the original.” Matt Cutts
Another version of Google’s major Penguin update is coming in weeks!That’s now clear and officially confirmed, putting many webmasters and SEOs into panic again. The previous Penguin update (launched April 24, 2012) has shaken search results, affecting not only black-hat, but also some legitimate sites.
And the coming update, Google promises, is going to be even harder.
Not to get hit, you have to take anti-Penguin actions now, and that is why today we’ve tried to gather for you the most actionable advice on how to get your site ready for Penguin 2.0 and how to survive the update unaffected.
First and foremost, Penguin update combats spammy and low-quality backlinks.
The new Penguin version is expected to use even more sophisticated techniques to spot spammy links in your backlink profile, so even if your backlinks seem quite OK for Google right now, you’d better run another thorough audit before Penguin 2.0 arrives.
So the first thing to do now is to analyze your site’s backlinks, identifying any potentially spammy links and getting rid of them before the update.
The basic rule here is to avoid backlinks that:
Come from sites built exclusively for the purpose of SEO.
Use overly-optimized anchor text.
Come from adult or other “bad neighborhood” websites.
Come from sites that are irrelevant to your own.
Now here’s how to find and identify suspicious links pointing to your website. This may take some time, but recovering from the update will for sure take you much longer.
1.1 Launch SEO SpyGlass, and create a project for your website (or rebuild your current project to have the freshest backlinks added)
Search engines are not very quick to update their backlink databases, that’s why some backlinks that no longer exist in reality are still kept in their indexes. Thus, when you check your site’s backlinks according to Google, for instance, you have some non-existent backlinks messing up in your backlink list. These links can’t affect your site in Penguin update, but simply waste your time on useless checking and analyzing.
There’s no way to get rid of them if you’re running your backlink research with an online checker, but SEO SpyGlass can help you here. The tool visits each backlink page real-time and checks if the links are still present – this way you won’t waste your time analyzing non-existent links.
2.3 Now select all backlinks having a No parameter in the Links Back columns and remove them from your SEO SpyGlass project to focus on the actual backlink only.
Now you need to spot any links Google may consider spammy and low-quality.
3.1 Choose Update all backlinks option again.
The factors to check now are:
- Domain IP
- Domain Age
- Domain Google PageRank
- Alexa Rank
- External links for page
3.2 Now find all links that Google may consider law-quality, and mark them with tags to get back to them for a closer analysis later on.
1. Group your backlinks by domain, and tag all
Site wide links
2. Sort your backlinks by Google PR column and mark the links from domains with
Very low Google domain PageRank ( <1)
3. Sort links by Domain Age column and tag links from
Very young websites (< 6 months old)
4. Sort links by Alexa Rank and tag those coming from domains with
Very high Alexa Rank ( Alexa >7,000,000 )
5. Sort links by the number of external links from the abcklink page. Tag backlink pages with
Many external links from the page (>20)
6. Finally, sort the links by Domain IP and mark
Links from websites with identical C class
(the first 3 digits in the IP address)
Another point Penguin is likely to focus on is how diverse and natural your link anchor texts are. Too many links with one and the same anchor can put your site in huge Penguin troubles, so now you have to take a closer look at all anchors used excessively in your backlinks profile.
4.3 Back to your main working area, sort your backlinks by Anchor texts column and tag each link having an anchor from the “excessively used anchors list” you’ve created.
3.4 Now that all of the suspicious links are detected and marked, take a closer look at each of them. Make sure the websites are relevant to your topic and do not seem a low quality spammy environment. Make sure your anchor texts look naturally and so on.
It’s up to you how “strict” your backlinks cleaning-up is to be, but removing lots of backlinks at once may cause a ranking drop, so it would be wise to get rid of your links in the most “glaring” cases only.
1) If the backlink you check seems quite OK, remove the “suspicion” tags you’ve placed for it in your SEO SpyGlass project.
2) If you plan to remove the link, leave the tag in place.
Remove the “suspicion” tags for the sites you find OK.
Now as you have a list of backlinks to remove, contact the domains’ webmasters and ask them to remove the harmful links. SEO SpyGlass will help you find the webmasters’ contacts: just add the Contact Info factor to your Preferred backlink factors and update it for the tagged backlinks.
Now send each webmaster a link-removal request and check that the harmful links were removed and no longer spoil your backlink profile. This is it – your backlink audit is done and you can rest confident none of your backlinks will trigger Penguin troubles!
Okay, what else can you do?
Backlinks are the biggest part of the Penguin update, but don’t forget some other things that can destroy your website credibility and rankings:
Use WebSite Auditor to find and fix any problem areas on your site.
- Eliminate keyword stuffing issues: calculate the ideal keyword density – the one used by your currently top-ranking competitors. If that technique lets your competitors rank top, than this is the key to creating what Google sees as relevant and non-spammy content!
- Eliminate duplicate content: make sure all of your pages have unique titles and meta descriptions (rewrite any duplicates you find), and use robots.txt file to hide from Google’s eyes any types of duplicate pages.
You can use your Rank Tracker from SEO PowerSuite.
- Keep the closest eye on your rankings to instantly react on any changes in your positions.
- Monitor your competitors’ rankings ups and downs to learn by their mistakes whenever you see their rankings drop.
And finally… Don’t panic!
Just like the SEO world is getting mad about Penguin today, it was agonizing over Google Jagger Update back in 2005. Before Jagger, there was Florida.
Over the last 10 years, Google was supposed to ruin SEO no less than 6 times. None of the SEO apocalypses ever happened, so why on earth would it happen now? Don’t fly into panic, learn from SEO history and…
Just keep your website matching Google’s quality standards following these tips.
So if anyone is really paying attention, I just gave away a big portion of how I do all this behind the scenes… I have been using the SEO Powersuites for close to two years, and I have found it to be the best product out there for tracking rankings. I also use the website auditer when I am having a hard time getting a website to rank, but to be honest with you, most of the time my gut instinct is better optimizing than the software itself. The spyglass is a cool tool to see where your competition is linking from, but for the most part I don’t use it on my own websites. In this scenario I guess it is a good idea, but as long as you use white hat techniques you should be in a good position. The Link Assistant is also a pretty cool item, although I have found its integration with wordpress could be better. Anyway I hope you found this information useful, please feel free to leave comments below. I do not approve spam…