How Not to Get Penalized by Next Google Penguin Update


How Not to Get Penalized by Next Google Penguin Update

If you keep an eye on SEO industry update, you would know current most talked topic is Matt Cutts statement on upcoming Penguin algo change. Till now, there is only one major Penguin update which happened till now, and in recent SES San Francisco conference Matt Cutts added:

“If you remember, in the early days of Panda, it took several months for us to iterate on the algorithm, and the Panda impact tended to be somewhat larger (e.g. the April 2011 update incorporated new signals like sites that users block). Later on, the Panda updates had less impact over time as we stabilized the signals/algorithm and Panda moved closer to near-monthly updates. Likewise, we’re still in the early stages of Penguin where the engineers are incorporating new signals and iterating to improve the algorithm. Because of that, expect that the next few Penguin updates will take longer, incorporate additional signals, and as a result will have more noticeable impact. It’s not the case that people should just expect data refreshes for Penguin quite yet.”

Avoid Penguin Penalty

Now, many of you might not take it seriously and will consider it as just another update, but those who got hit by earlier algo changes like Panda updates, and first penguin update, they will understand how big this change going to be. Obviously, unlike minor data refresh, next Penguin update is going to be a major SEO change and many online businesses are going to go down and many will get great push with new update.

There is no deadline or expected time-frame for next Penguin algo change, but I’m sure once it will be rolled out, it might be too later for many to make changes and get back to business. Now, here is the time when you should work on your blog and link building campaign and start putting your brand in the front, and avoid Penalized by Next penguin change.

Things to Implement now for Avoid Penguin Penalty:

Here are few things which we can do today, to ensure safeguard against next update. Penguin penalty is mostly related to links and anchor text. That includes, external links from your site, incoming link quality, Anchor text variation. There may be other signals, but links are the major reason for penalty. You should also consider making your site Panda proof, because the update will also include signals from Panda algo and any of them could be culprit for your site ranking drop.

Paid links:

Paid posts are very useful way to monetize your blog, but Google is against the link selling, when it’s done with the intention of passion link juice. If you have sold the paid post first with SEO optimized link back, go ahead and remove the link or update the link to make it natural. You can also use Nofollow link if you have excessively linked out. Another thing which you can do is, add few quality links along (link from Wiki, Useful quality content) and add few inter-links, which will dilute the paid link and bring it back to normal link.

Tips for Blog allowing Guest posting:

I have discussed it a lot of time and will repeat again, most of the blogs offering guest posting are the one, who are more likely to get penalized. Since most of the blogs I have seen offers anchor text-based backlink. Adding more to it, many time such blogs offer links to irrelevant domain.  Imagine, how does a link to Pet shop looks like in a SEO blog? More over, such links are anchor text optimized and will be bad for your blog SEO.

It’s time to go ahead and check all the guest posts published on your site and start making changes on the links.

  • Remove/Edit Anchor text optimized back-links
  • Keep it natural
  • Make sure link pointing out is relevant to your domain or at-least the article

If you are still not sure why you should make changes, read my earlier guide on How outbound links help in better optimization.

Free Product for anchor text link:

How many times, you have released a Theme or plugin and trying to get lots of exact anchor text backlink. Now, the major problem with this is, either you will end up getting thousands of anchor text link and it’s good enough to penalize your site. WpMu and QuickOnlineTips, both of these blogs became a victim of anchor text spam.  Go ahead, update your free theme or plugin and add nofollow tag  to link. Change your keyword variation may also help.

Anchor text variation:

So, you must be thinking what is Anchor text variation. Go ahead and read about Anchor text and you will know how important it is for SEO, It helps search engine bots to understand what Keyword that post is for and helps in improve ranking. But again, once this is clear , many webmasters and internet marketers, started abusing the system. Either by buying paid links, by guest posting they build lots of same exact anchor text links, which will again put them in penguin penalty threshold.

Anchor text variation

Go to Ahrefs and check the anchor text variation for your domain. If you or your SEO guy, generated exact anchor text backlinks to your page, it’s time you should fold your sleeves and start working on it to avoid penalty.

  • Make a list of pages, where you are getting maximum SEO optimized links.
  • Drop an Email to admin/webmaster to change the anchor text. Use Variations like Plurals, brand name, non money links.
  • If this works, it’s great and even if the Anchor text variation is not high and you have too many exact anchor text links pointing to your site, start working on new link building campaign. Create new links with anchor text variation via Guest posting, Blog commenting or any other method you usually use.

Avoid link Farm and Paid links:

See my first point and I’m repeating it again, as Google made it official they are against paid link and private blog networks. Many bloggers still fall for those $5 Fiverr backlinks or paid link services offered by forum. If not now, Google will identify the foot print for such links and your domain will be the first one to get penalized. And do you really expect high quality links for $5?

If you have to build links, use legit and Google safe ways to build links. Try Guest posting or even high quality article directory submission will work. Create high-quality infographic or do case study and grab natural links. The idea is to keep your link profile natural and should not be manipulative.

Site-wide link and Internal link:

We often use Site wide link to Key posts at the footer of the blog or on sidebar with exact matching anchor text, which could be one major reason for penalty. Google doesn’t hate SEO but overly optimized SEO sites are the first one to be affected by future Penguin updates. If you have been using this practice (Used to work), it’s time to update yourself with latest algo and avoid such practices.

Also, internal links are very useful but again vary your anchor text while linking. You might not like to link all “SEO” word to one of your article targeting SEO keyword in the post. Keep it natural and keep it meaningful, as it will not only be loved by users but also by bots. If you are using plugins like SEO smart links, which is actually useful, make sure to use plugins like WordPress insights for adding manual links too.

Keyword density :

On page optimization is important and I use EasyWPSEO plugin to help me with optimization. Though, if you are trying to do over SEO optimization with Keyword density and Keyword stuffing, you are more likely to get penalized. Maintain a decent keyword density (1-2%) along with related Keywords.  Avoid, Avoid and avoid Over optimization at any cost.

Integrate known Google signals. 

Over the time, Google officially announced some of the signals they consider for ranking. It’s time to implement them and this will not only help in avoiding penguin penalty but will also help in improving ranking.

Read: Google Happy Feet : Penguin algo survival tips

Last word, never rely only on Search engine for traffic. Organic traffic is important but relying your business to run on only one form of traffic could be worse decision for your Website. Implement Subscription options for your blog and work on stuff like Video Blogging, making Email list to grow your own blog via community building.

There are many more things which you can do to improve your site but for now, if your worry is next Penguin update, it’s time to start working with a plan and make positive and constructive change for your site. None the less, if you still get hit by the next update, refer to our Penguin recovery guide.

Do let me know, what all steps are you taking to work on avoiding penguin penalty. Do let us know, if you taking any extra steps to avoid getting hit by Penguin penalty again?

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Article by Harsh Agrawal

Harsh has written 1039 articles.

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  1. says

    Hi Harsh,

    I am reading your articles from long time and i am doing SEO for my website by own, as i am may not be very good at it. I would like to give me more descriptive information on anchor text how to use it in the website.


  2. Rakesh Narang says

    Nice tips but I have a doubt. Should I do anchor text variation or not — while commenting on other blogs.

    • says

      It depends how you are commenting:
      Since it’s one of the way to create backlinks, other way will help in creating anchor text variation. Though if you are into excessive blog commenting, a Keyword variation would be good idea.
      Ex: Harsh Agrawal, Harsh, ShoutMeLoud, Shout me loud

  3. says

    Yes, Harsh. That’s true. In fact I lost lot of traffic since penguin v.1.0 and slowly started recovering after getting rid of low quality articles on my blog. I wrote a lot of poor quality article at early stage of my blog and now I almost deleted them and kept only good ones.
    Also, as you mentioned I’m taking link building seriously. Thanks for sharing wonderful information as always.

  4. says

    Great Tips, Paid links are no go with the penguin updates and we have to make a mix of ancor text pointing to our sites….
    PS: I am using WP Easy SEO plugin and it works really great giving the keyword density for the complete page.

  5. gaurav says

    hey bro,
    your blog is very helpful for new comers as well as for professionals.

    i started doing seo this year so i don’t have much exp. in this industry, i have some questions if you can help me out i’ll be greatfull to you.

    Q1. if i’m creating backlink on two sites and can i use the same title, description and other content on both sites.

    Q2. if these sites are article directories, can we submit the same articles for both or more sites.

    Q3. if we are submitting an article, is it good to give link in between article or we should link back only in signatures.

    waiting for our reply……

    Thanks and regards…….

    gaurav heera

  6. Samir says

    Hi Harsh!

    Thanks for summarizing the recent and future Google Search Algo changes. After Panda, I’ve not paid much attention to specific details of SEO. However, lower keyword density and more relevant outbound links seem to be working now.

  7. Nizam says

    Well yes, internal linking is important, but keeping it natural/meaningful is more important and maintaining a decent keyword density and avoiding over optimization are really good strategies to follow for better results. Thanks Harsh for this informative and helpful post :)

  8. Swaroop says

    Thanks for telling important tips to avoid seo mistakes. I was using site-wide links to navigate my blog posts easily but now I am going to change it. Thanks again.

  9. Franklin says

    Hello Harsh ,
    Your Blog is so informative.I liked it.I have 1 question.
    Will it cause a huge damage for small Bloggers like me?


  10. says

    It is important to address keywords variation to new or small size bloggers as this is the common mistake in building links. On top of that, I think the advice to build links on both nofollow and dofollow should be included as well as we know most people like to build dofollow links only and totally ignored nofollow ones.

    You had mentioned it in the sidewide links. Probably could emphasize again somewhere else. ;)

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