As many of you will now be aware, Google has been at it again. By that I mean they’ve issued another updated version of Penguin – this time called Penguin 3.0. (I’m sure some of you would want to tag the words ‘The Revenge’ onto the end of that, but as you’ll see that may be a little too hasty.)
The update went live on Friday 17th October and the main aim was to fight spam. This in turn should lead to a more productive and better-quality outcome across the search results. It is the sixth version of Penguin to be released since 24th April 2012, and this particular one will only affect around 1% of all queries.
Focusing on links
There has been much interest in the way Google has approached the topic of links within its Penguin updates. No doubt you’ve heard of the Google Disavow Tool, which permits site owners to attempt to get one or more links ignored by Google whenever the site is assessed for quality. Getting good-quality links is important for any website, since this practice helps the site gain in standing.
So is a site with bad links pointing to it going to be penalised?
This is where some clarity in the matter should be brought in. Penguin is not in itself punishing sites that have bad or poor links pointing to it. Rather, it is erasing the value of those links.
Let’s say for example your site has 10 links pointing to it. Two of those links come from authority sources that are well-respected. The remaining eight come from sites offering zero value – maybe some are crammed with keyword-stuffed content while others are deemed to be spammy in nature. In Google’s eyes it will disregard the eight poor links and assess the site in terms of ranking according to the two good links.
Of course if you can try and get the owners of those sites to get rid of the links they have pointing to your site, so much the better. The Google Disavow Tool will hopefully help you remove those links you can’t remove any other way.
The crux of the matter is…
Really the most important thing to remember is to create a site with lots of worthwhile content that doesn’t resort to keyword stuffing. The more hard work you can put in to create a great site people love, the less you’ll have to worry about the effects of a Google update.
Whereas before you might have been able to skate into a higher position in the search results with the help of some ‘bad’ links, that’s no longer the case. Bad links will instead be ignored and won’t help your position at all. That’s not the same as punishing those links. If you work at building good quality links (or better still, allow them to develop by themselves as more people find and link to your site) you shouldn’t be affected by the Penguin updates at all.