I’ve been having as number of new clients reach out to me over the past few weeks following Google’s October 2014 Penguin update. It’s time to dispel some of the nonsense and give some actionable advice on how to get out of a Penguin penalty. Please note this isn’t going to work for everyone. It depends how much damage you have done to your site.
What is Penguin:
Google’s penguin algorithm’s is designed to demote pages that violate Google “Webmaster Guidelines” and use paid link schemes to artificially increase the ranking of a website.
Before 2012 it used to be possible to rank a website by creating links using anchor text that was an exact match for a money keyword. Think “Build My Rank” and other PBN’s. If you had a competitive term, you could simply build multiple links using the same anchor text.
Whilst this worked great for a number of years, it creates an un-natural backlink footprint and made it easy for Google to identify websites that had exploited the mechanism to gain an advantage within the search index. Penguin works simply by applying a penalty (slap) to any site with a backlink profile that falls into this category.
Penguin is manually applied when Google deems fit. Refreshes are supposed to be every 3-6 months. In the last instance there was no Penguin re-fresh for 12 month.
If a website falls foul of Penguin, the site is penalised and will lose at best -50 positions for an over-optimised keyword. At worst the site will not rank at all for a given keyword at all.
Getting Out of a Penguin Penalty: Getting out of a penguin penalty is simple. Whilst Penguin is the most feared update, people tend to give Google too much credit. A the end of the day, Google is still just a black box. If you understand how it works, you can create the conditions to break a website out of a penalty by feeding the search engine variables that will give the impression of a natural back link profile.
Naturalising the backlink profile of a site:
What the components of a natural backlink profile:
What does a natural backlink profile look like:
Penguin friendly anchor text ratios are hotly contested amongst SEO’s. I am personally risk adverse and never use exact match anchor text within a client’s backlink profile.
How to break out of a penguin penalty: