Thursday, November 6, 2014
Each year, Google makes hundreds of algorithm updates, many of which go undetected and have a relatively minor impact on a very small number of sites. In the past few weeks, however, Google rolled out Penguin 3.0 which was both a data refresh and an algorithm update; this update is expected to have impacted a much larger number of sites across the globe. Much like the earlier versions of Penguin, this update looks to further penalize sites with spammy backlinks.
What do we mean by a “spammy backlink”?
In measuring the quality of a website (and consequently, how it will rank for various searches), Google looks at the links coming into the site from various spots on the web. The quality of these links is based on the relevance of the site linking to the website and the reputation of the site where this link resides. As an attorney, if you have a link to your firm’s website in the byline of an article that you wrote on the American Bar Association’s website, this would be considered a high-quality link because the link comes from a legal organization’s website and it is a very highly regarded site in the eyes of the search engines.
On the other hand, if an ice cream shop located in a neighboring state has a link to your website, the search engines are likely to consider this an “unnatural” or spam link. While a handful of unnatural links may not harm your ranking, dozens of these links may be perceived as a black hat technique designed to game the system and lead the search engines to believe that your site is more popular than it really is.
Should you be concerned that your site will be impacted?
If you haven’t taken part in any unnatural link building, your site won’t be impacted. However, if you (or someone you have hired for SEO help) has been using an automated tool that generate thousands of backlinks to your site to achieve a top ranking, chances are your site was adversely impacted. This update is an important reminder that you must be very selective when it comes to hiring an SEO consultant, and be sure to review all of their activity when it comes to your site optimization. If you’re looking to retain outside assistance, we highly recommend that you review our free report on some key considerations to ensure you don’t fall victim to this update or the many others that Google is sure to roll out in the months ahead.