Penguin with a bow and arrow shooting at a chain

Penguins are cute until they kill your backlinks and your rankings.

Those of us who follow news and changes from Google to their organic search algorithm have been anticipating the Penguin update for some time. This update was supposed to roll out at the end of 2015, but has been delayed. The last Penguin update was in October of 2014, and continued the practice of investigating and scrutinizing the backlinks that sites have. There were many domains that saw their rankings plummet, due either to questionable SEO tactics, or just shoddy link building strategies. Google defines link spam as “Any link placed with the intention of manipulating rankings.” Obviously this covers a pretty broad spectrum, and with that wording, almost ANY link could fall under that category, but there are a few things to avoid in your backlink profile.

Link Schemes
Link schemes could be anything from links that are bought, rather than earned through good content, to cross linking, or trading links. The safest, most organic link is one that is placed on a site, linking back to you and citing you as a source, or an expert on the topic.If there is a link to your roofing company in a story about organic bananas, that is probably not an ideal link, and will probably catch the eye of Google.

Over optimized Anchor Text
Anchor text is the part of the sentence that contains the link back to your site. When performing a routine backlink analysis, it is glaringly obvious that something is unnatural if a preponderance of links are pointing to your site from your main target keywords.
Example: There are hundreds of running shoes on the market today for runners of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Before running in your next big race, make sure that you have the best running shoes available.
This is very blatant over optimization, but you get the idea.

Links to Duplicate Content
There are some times that you would have content that was not originally written by you or your staff on your site, but few, if any times when linking back to that duplicate content would be beneficial.You should have as much original, engaging, and educational content on your site as possible. This not only increases the amount of content indexed by the search engines, it also increases your digital footprint, making it more likely that prospects find you, and become clients.

Any time Google is rumored to be changing or updating their algorithm, some business owners get worried. We know how hard you have worked to earn your keyword rankings, and how potentially devastating it could be to lose them. A good SEO strategy should alleviate those fears, and we have seen business owners who can’t wait for these updates, as they know that their content marketing strategy will be rewarded, while others who have taken shortcuts will be penalized. If you have any questions about the Penguin worthiness of your site, please call us, and we can talk about some backlink analysis and cleanup options. The Penguin will march soon, that’s for sure. Make sure you are ready.