Google’s Penguin and search engine optimization (SEO) go together like summer and ice cream. Even if you do not consider yourself an SEO guru, you have probably heard of the Penguin Google algorithm update. It is the bane and blessing of webmasters around the world ever since the first Penguin update waddled onto the scene in 2012. Thanks to Penguin, a multitude of websites have been hit with penalizations, and in some cases were kicked off of Google search results entirely. Being ranked anywhere by Google is a privilege, not a right.
In order to avoid penalizations and getting moved down the search engine result pecking order, your webmaster is probably hustling to clean things up — including links pointing to your site. Google is constantly updating SEO and link management best practices, re-defining what a good link actually is. For your webmaster, a great way to keep your website safe from a Penguin penalty is by making sure you are on top of your backlink portfolio.
Consider it SEO Insurance
It is much easier to address SEO issues before Penguin takes an interest in you, because recovering from a penalty can be tough (even impossible for some smaller businesses). Organic web traffic insurance technically doesn’t exist, but link risk management is the next best thing. When you are managing your links well, you can improve your odds of appeasing Penguin updates. Link risk management has four major parts, and step one is optional:
- Take steps to recover from a Penguin penalty if you’ve been dinged.
- Protect your site against negative SEO and poor backlinks.
- Create safe backlinks.
- Consider steps two and three an ongoing process.
If you need recovery from a Penguin penalty, know that it is possible — whether it was algorithmic or manual. You can appeal the penalty via the Disavow Tool in Google. You simply need to pinpoint your subpar backlinks, place them in the disavow file, and send that data to Google Webmaster Tools. Recovery can take time, but you can watch the visitors come back in your analytics. Exactly how much time it really takes depends on each individual case. If you have a smorgasbord of poor backlinks, you could be facing months of cleanup — which is why preventive measures trump recovery. Start today.
If you have avoided the Penguin’s eye so far, you either have a great webmaster or loads of luck (likely both). However, you can always protect yourself better. Someone, whether it’s you, your webmaster, or your SEO company, needs to constantly stay on top of your backlink profile. Problems can pop up unexpectedly, such as spam-riddled links, and need to be removed right away. Remember that just because you were hit by a Penguin penalty once, that doesn’t exempt you from being hit again — Google is not like lightning.
Every day, your site drums up new backlinks. Some are good, some are bad, but most are mediocre. Ditch the negative ones right away. Negative SEO can happen to anyone, and you may not realize somebody has an ax to grind with you until you see your organic traffic drop. However, your strategy should be half removing bad backlinks and half actively adding new, good ones. You will know great links when you see them, because the content is fantastic, services/products are great and your competitors are likely using similar links.
Bad link management is a risk you should never take in SEO — especially when preventative care is so accessible.