Many search engine optimizers and web designers thought they were in the clear after adjusting to the Google Penguin 3.0 update on Oct. 17. Google has held itself to an informal no-update policy during the holidays since the Google Florida update in Nov. 2003, but this year, the hits seem to keep coming.
Though Google has only confirmed Penguin 3.0 and Penguin 3.1 (which it considers part of the former), Search Engine Land is reporting at least three more updates, on Dec. 2, 5 and 6 — which they’re referring to as Penguin 3.2, 3.3 and 3.4.
Google Penguin filters out spam links and penalizes websites that use search engine optimization techniques Google doesn’t approve of. Many people hit in this update saw changes on Thanksgiving Day.
Typically Google avoids doing this to keep from disrupting the holiday shopping season, and the search engine giant is still claiming that the remaining hiccups are just part of the Penguin 3.0 rollout. Experts at Search Engine Land, however, claim that one update usually doesn’t take this long to launch, and changes usually wouldn’t be noticeable this late in the process.
Sites penalized in this update won’t have a chance to redeem themselves to Google until the next filter goes around. So what can web designers do to adapt to these changes and avoid being penalized?
First of all, check your backlinks. Now is the time to use that disavow tool Google provides you with, if you have any backlinks that are less than genuine. You want backlinks to be organic, genuine, and posted to reliable, relevant sites. If you used a backlinking scheme before this update that won’t fly anymore, disavow as many links as you can.
You should also check your internal links. Try not to repeat the same link on more than one page, and make sure each link uses relevant and original wording. Navigation should be fairly simple and streamlined to allow Google’s crawlers to make sense of your site easily. Having a mobile-optimized or responsive website could get you extra points.
Make sure your site has been updated with relevant content recently, as well, since Google is looking at content quality and relevance.
“Transparency and common sense are still the general rule to avoid and solve all these issues,” says Jorge Benito, Marketing Manager for Ibis Studio. “Valuable content will be naturally linked from other websites, there’s no workaround; DIY or Cheap SEO are destroying website’s rankings and those quick-fix positioning tricks are showing their consequences now.”
One of the most important things you can do is keep your ear to the ground for more updates. Since so much is still unknown, many webmasters will have to adapt to issues as they arise.