After months of speculation, the next big Google algorithm update looks set to hit towards the end of this year. Google's Gary Illyes confirmed at SMX East this month that the latest Penguin update will be rolled out soon and will be a real-time update.
This means that the Penguin algorithm will be updating in real time when it discovers newly built or removed links, meaning sites have the opportunity to recover from penalties much quicker, but also fall foul of penalties just as quickly.
What this means for website owners who have received a penalty
For anyone who has been hit with a manual or algorithmic penalty, youÈll understand the pain of submitting disavow files and removing unwanted links then waiting and waiting for the penalty to be lifted, sometimes up to 12 months after the clean-up has been done. The new Penguin update will mean that as soon as Google has crawled and identified links that have been removed, the penalty could be lifted straight away resulting in a faster recovery.
How do you know if you've been hit by a penalty
If you've been hit by a penalty, you'll notice a sudden and often significant drop in organic search traffic to your site combined with a loss in rankings for key search terms.
Often you'll see a drop in rankings for your own brand name. Most famously hit was Interflora who disappeared from search results for their brand name following a Google penalty.
The graph below shows the effects on a penalty on one of our clients websites and the drop in search visibility that occurred as a result. Following an extensive clean-up project the penalty was lifted several months later but recovery can be a slow process for many sites.
What you can do now to avoid a penalty in the future
Even the most well-maintained sites will have a few questionable links in their backlink profile, and even without engaging in intentionally spammy link building activity, this could leave sites open to incurring a penalty faster than they previously would have. To avoid this we recommend taking the following steps:
1. Undertake a thorough review of your backlink profile and remove all
2. Submit a disavow file for the rest
3. Consider your remaining links, are they of a high enough quality or do you need to build some higher quality links to your site or certain sections
4. Monitor your backlink profile closely to identify new links quickly and act promptly if needed
For a more detailed guide check out our step by step instructions for removing a Penguin penalty.
If you'd like to talk to us about reviewing your backlink profile or have concerns you might be at risk of a penalty, Jellyfish can help you by providing advice and support around this or any other SEO activity.