Google expects to release Penguin 3.0 within 2014, reports Search Engine Land. It’s actually almost a year since the fifth Penguin update, Penguin 2.1, was released.
Did you know Google actually refreshes Panda monthly? Penguin 3.0 is expected to be a major update. And part of the update may include refreshing it more frequently like Panda so those impacted know where they stand.
Part of the reason it’s taken so long to get to the next Penguin update is that Google needs to completely refresh its data. It’s not a simple tweak to its algorithm, according to Google’s John Mueller.
One of the unfortunate negative effects of Penguin is that if you were penalized by it in the past, you don’t get your rankings back until the next refresh. So, many small businesses have been struggling to stay afloat for the past year while they’ve been awaiting the next Penguin update.
Most likely, Penguin 3.0 will be even more sensitive to paid, spammy, and low-quality links. Just one spammy link could negatively impact your search rankings.
Let me explain further.
What Should You Do?
There’s not a heck of a lot you can do – unless you’re technical and have a lot of time on your hands.
What you need to do to stay safe is to perform a complete audit of all the links pointing to your site. Here are some of the things you should look for:
Paid links – Google’s warned publicly to never have any of these pointing to you.
Exact match anchor text (EMAT) – You shouldn’t have any of these coming to your site either. An EMAT link would be one saying “personal injury lawyer Dallas,” or whatever would fit your business.
Spammy – This term is very broadly defined, which makes SEO so tough. Basically, “spammy” links come from low-quality websites. And “low-quality” is a broad and subjective term too. Generally, if the website the link comes from tries to regularly publish interesting, engaging content, and they have a respectable design, it’s going to be a good link.
Monitor for negative SEO – It’s not very fair, but negative SEO is a reality every website owner deals with. It may not actually happen, but you do have to watch for it.
It’s actually very easy to do. All your competitors have to do is go to low-quality forums, article directories, and website directories and start posting exact-match anchor text links to your website. It could be sooner or later before Google catches on, but they will punish you for your competitor’s actions.
Sound unfair? It is, but it’s one of the realities of SEO in 2014.
I have even been the victim of such negative SEO attacks.
Proactive Businesses Will Survive
If you’ve used a low-quality link building service, or you’ve built your own links, you may be at risk for a Penguin penalty. And when that refresh comes, it could tank your entire business – instantly.
Smart businesses who have any question about the quality of their links will audit them now and disavow any questionable ones. And if you’re looking for links in the future, you’ll focus exclusively on writing high-quality content and promoting it.