It’s official, Google announced three days ago that the Penguin algorithm update has now successfully been integrated into the core algorithm.
What a lot of people may be asking at this point is: What does this mean for me? What does this mean for my business and our SEO? Is my site going to be penalised?
What this “integration” means at a high level
Google’s search algorithms collate a bunch of signals in order to rank web content that is most likely to match and meet user intent. These are broadly divided into “on-page” (signals related to the websites being considered for ranking themselves) and “off-page” (signals related to the web outside of the website being considered).
SEO’s have known this for a long time, and for many years some SEO’s have specifically tried to game or trick Google’s algorithm into believing a website is high quality by building particular kinds of links to the website. This is backlink spam.
Because Google has a world-class spam fighting team, Google became aware of this behaviour and created an algorithm specifically to counteract these efforts, called “Penguin”. The Penguin algorithm is designed to discourage spammers by penalising sites (or removing them completely from Google) when they detect a site has been using these tactics. Huge businesses such as BMW and JC Penney have been slammed with Google penalties in the past.
Initially when Google created Penguin (and similar spam-combating algorithms), they did not integrate them into the core algorithm. What this means is that Penguin ran “refreshes” at certain frequencies wherein it would gather data and feed that back into the core algorithm but only once in a while. In between those times, Penguin was not running actively.
How Penguin Updates Used to Occur:
What has changed over this announcement is that Penguin now updates its signals continuously, like the rest of the algorithm.
What does this mean for my business?
Your vulnerability to a Google Penalty depends entirely on the type of SEO that you currently do:
1.1 I don’t actively do any SEO
It is very unlikely that you will be negatively affected by this update.
1.2 I do SEO with an agency
Simply doing SEO with an agency does not give enough information to determine whether or not you will be affected by Penguin, because the likelihood depends almost entirely on the kind of SEO your agency does on your behalf.
1.2.1 My agency does not build links on my behalf, but focuses instead entirely on on-page optimisation
It is very unlikely that you will be negatively affected by this update. However, most agencies don’t approach SEO in this way.
1.2.2 My agency does build links on my behalf
This is where the risk of being affected by Penguin increases. But it still depends on the kinds of links that your agency builds.
- Are they with real websites / blogs / news agencies / publications etc.? Then the risk is lower.
- Are they hesitant to disclose the links to you or don’t proactively tell you where they are? Then it’s more likely that what they are doing is spam and could leave you vulnerable to the Penguin update.
How can I find out if my site is vulnerable?
Unfortunately there are no tools online that can automatically assess your risk without first your having to pay for it. However, as a favour to everyone, for the next two weeks only, E-Web Marketing is allowing anyone free access to our top SEO consultants to assess whether their site is at risk of being hit by Penguin.
All you need to do is enter your details here, and one of our experts will email you within an hour about your site’s Penguin risk.