What is the Penguin algorithm?
The Penguin algorithm was first introduced back in April 2012 and there have been updates since. The basis of Penguin is to identify and negatively affect websites who artificially manipulate their ranking through poor and devious link building activities.
For many businesses the Penguin algorithm has come as a shock, especially for those who have been using a “reputable” agency to carry out SEO activities and link development. In many cases the cost of the outlay appears attractive, but to create the links and make money the agency uses a mixture of poor quality and possibly hidden pre built PBNs (public blog network). Google calls these “unnatural links”. Unfortunately, the impact of bad practice can hit at a later date, so normal activity for the past year will not cover up “black hat SEO” carried out previously.
The frustrating result impacting a Penguin candidate is short term ranking gain followed by a Penguin hit. This could be either a manually reviewed Manual Penalty or an algorithmic penalty that has been triggered by a set of defined criteria.
Can Penguin and “unnatural links” be avoided?
The introduction of Penguin has forced website owners to take very seriously the quality of inbound links created and to not use manipulative tactics. A link should come from an authorative site that is relevant; it has a healthy link profile and uses appropriate anchor text. When you think about it this kind of makes sense, it shows more quality and value. This is clearly more difficult than slapping links on poor quality sites but the payback can be tremendous. One of the typical ways of getting natural links back to the site is through creating brilliant content and using methods to entice sites to link to that content.
Can a Penguin penalty be fixed?
Recovery from Penguin is possible but it is not easy. It requires an intense analysis and audit of the link profile. This requires several tools in order to capture as many current links as possible. Each link needs to be manually reviewed and if proved to be harmful must be eliminated from the link profile. This is achieved by physically removing the link is possible or adding to a Disavow file which informs Google to ignore.
Extreme care needs to be taken when using the Disavow file as it is very easy to include URLs or domains that are perfectly legitimate and as a result unnecessarily weaken the website.
It is also important to review the quality of the site impacted by Penguin as well. On-site issues like keyword stuffing can contribute to the overall Penguin penalty.
Find out how Garner SEO can help your business recover from a penalty or unexplained drop in traffic by calling 01425 517001 or via the contact page