Penguin 3.0 was finally released on October 17th, 2014 i.e. a full year since the release of Penguin 2.1. This has been a long awaited update among many webmasters whose websites were negatively affected by the Penguin last year. This algorithm is not applied on a constant basis and has to be rolled out by Google in order for you to see any changes to the traffic on your website if you have been hit in the past. Meaning, even if you made the necessary changes to your website and removed spammy links/disavowed the links that made you get the penalty in the first place, your site would not have recovered until Google refreshed the update for all the sites in its index.
Thankfully, Google finally did so on October 17th and many webmasters who were hit previously have reported improvements and restoration to their traffic. Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky as the Penguin specifically targets the links on a website and if you have spammy links or links that are against Google’s TOS, then you will be penalized. A penalty means that your search engine rankings will drop and you will lose most if not all the traffic to your site which will cause you to lose income.
This last Penguin update is reported to have only affected approximately 1% of queries. Unfortunately, if you happened to only disavow bad links to your website within three weeks of the update (after 26th September, 2014) then you’d have been too late to avoid the effects of Penguin 3.0.
So, exactly how do you go about doing SEO after Penguin 3.0? Well, the first thing you need to do is take a close and critical look at your website. Do you currently offer paid posts or paid links? The penguin is extremely focused on links and we all know that Google is against paid links and selling links in general. However, selling links on your website is a good way to make a monthly income. If you can avoid selling links, that would be best, however, if you insist on doing so, then make sure to use a “no follow” attribute. This tells Google not to pass any link juice from your website to the website you’re linking out to and looks more natural. You should also add a few links that go out to high quality, related websites such as to Wikipedia. This will serve to dilute your paid links and make your website more useful.
Another point to note is that Google’s penguin algorithm also cracks down on websites that offer excessive guest posting. You should therefore only allow a few guest posts from relevant and related websites and try to keep these links natural. Meaning, don’t allow over optimized anchor texts within the guest posts.
This leads to my next point on the importance of anchor text variation. Anchor texts usually help search engines to determine what keywords the post or site is related to and was a huge factor that helped webmasters to rank for their desired keywords. This was until the point that webmasters and internet marketers started abusing it and caused Google to crack down on this practice and reduce its relevance. As a result, you should always have very varied anchor texts and rarely use the keyword you’re targeting within your anchor texts.
Another common SEO method that many webmasters have been using to generate a lot of backlinks is the use of links within free products, widgets, WordPress themes, plugins, infographics etc. This was once very effective as you were able to get large amounts of links from all types of websites that used your free product. Unfortunately, this method can now only get your site penalized by Google. Therefore, if you must include a link, make sure it is no follow and vary your anchor text so you don’t get an over optimization penalty.
Next, it is absolutely critical that you avoid link farms and paid links. Building backlinks is hard work, however, taking the easy way out and using paid links is a sure way to Google doom. Don’t fall for those fast $5 fiverr backlink services or private blog networks such as Rank Hero. It’s no longer 2011 and your site will be penalized!
As you can see, the world of SEO just keeps evolving and you need to adapt your web optimization methods if you want your site to remain penalty free and keep receiving free organic traffic. Once you follow the above tips, your site will definitely be Penguin 3.0 proof.