Following on from last week’s blog post about Google and its algorithm changes, here’s another; Penguin. This algorithm update targets those websites using black hat techniques such as unnatural link building and keyword stuffing in order to gain an unfair disadvantage over other genuine credible sites. When a good, well known site builds links with yours you get a kind of thumbs up, and Google learns to trust your site and your content. If you get recommended via a link through a small website, it’s still positive, as it all adds up, and because of this it used to be common practice to grab hold of as many links as possible.
But this was easy to manipulate and make look as though lots of sites had recommended another when really those links were purchased, or were badly linked. You can’t link a website selling handbags to a plumber in Russia, because the link is not credible. People can create self-made links and a whole bunch of websites, and manipulate the anchor text in order to make it look like they’ve been recommended when really, they’re cheating. Penguin looks for practices such as these and penalizes the website owner, because it’s unethical and unfair to those sites who work hard to build relationships and credible links.
If Penguin determines that lots of links to your site are not credible or trustworthy, it reduces Googles trust in your website and you’ll see a sharp dip in your rankings n search results. The only way to recover from this is to identify those bad links you’re using and remove them, or use the disavow tool. Using the disavow tool however requires that you know exactly what you’re doing; you could remove credible links without realising. Manual removal of bad or purchased links or any links that aren’t reliable is definitely recommended.
You need to regain Google’s trust and this can take six months sometimes, the bottom line is you have to be ethical and honest; excessive link building, bad links, doorway pages (where one website looks like another and takes the user elsewhere rather than where they wanted to go), all of these bad practices and techniques will bring penalties down onto your site and it can be hard to recover. Penguin hasn’t had as many refreshes since its inception, so you might find you’re waiting a while to see results from the SEO changes you made.
You just have to be good, behave online when building a website, Google can find things out even when you try hard to hide what you’ve done. Businesses can suffer as a result of losing a website, and the bottom line here when it comes to a business is that if your website is shoddy or takes visitors all round the houses with bad links or too many links, they can become confused and chances are they’ll just click off your site and on to another, losing you money.