Google updates are natural part of the SEO landscape. But recent changes have occurred in the way in which Google is updating its search algorithm. This is making it difficult for businesses to manage and optimize their sites for the best results.
The ability to track where drops in rankings come from has allowed businesses and SEO professionals to keep their positioning in SERPs despite the updates.
But the continual Penguin update makes this task even more difficult. Businesses must find new ways to navigate the changing tides of SEO.
What is Penguin?
Google’s Penguin update first appeared in April of 2012. It was designed as an effort to penalize and remove sites that have achieved rankings through low-quality and questionable link profiles.
Over the years, businesses have been able to boost their rankings using artificial link building methods. These include the purchase and exchange of links, as well as the misuse of article directories.
This goes against the organic approach that Google prefers whereby links are generated through quality content and user experience.
The Problem With Penguin
The intention behind Google’s Penguin algorithm is to provide high-quality results for its users. But the unintended consequence is that businesses are having a harder time maintaining their rankings.
Rather than one single update, Penguin is being optimized on a continuous basis. This makes it unique from previous updates and presents a new obstacle for SEO professionals.
Changes in rankings can no longer be compared to update schedules because the updates are ongoing. Announced updates gave businesses a chance to measure (and prepare for) the impact on their rankings that a given algorithm change may have had.
Diagnosing Penguin Issues
There are ways you can overcome the challenges of Penguin. Tools like MozCast and others can help you determine which changes are likely impacting your results.
Your own site can be a great place to look first. If you’ve changed the site configuration or any other elements, then you may see some changes in your rankings.
A review of your link profile is also recommended. Low-quality links can build up without your realizing it. There are a number of tools available that help you analyze your links including Google Webmaster Tools and Majestic.
Google Webmaster Tools can also identify any penalties on your site that have been given to you by one of Google’s site reviews.
Eliminating spammy links from your profile will improve your results over time. You can also disavow links. This involves contacting other websites that link back to you and making an official removal request.
Although the process of uncovering these link providers and contacting them can require a significant time investment, it’s worth it to keep your rankings where you want them.
Future updates will continue to present new challenges for SEO professionals and business owners. The Penguin update has presented a new way for Google to optimize their results.
The continuous nature of its rollout makes it harder to withstand the SEO changes. But knowing what to look for and using the right tools will help you stay on top of your search engine rankings.