It seems that we may have experienced a Google Penguin Refresh on Saturday, October 18, 2014. One of our clients just experienced a 7 page jump on one of their penalized keywords. It should be noted that our client was utilizing a different SEO company and hired us to help them recover. For those that have worked so hard over the past year cleaning up unnatural links on low quality websites, this day may go down as a joyous occasion. But, for those who have been practicing unethical SEO, they might find themselves kicked out of the search results altogether.
Several weeks ago, I wrote an article about the different types of algorithm changes at Google. Today, I want to focus on the Google Penguin algorithm and how it can affect small businesses. There are a few things you need to understand about a Google Penguin penalty:
- Google Penguin does not penalize your entire website or a specific page.
- The Penguin algorithm does penalize a specific keyword that has too many unnatural links on low quality sites.
- The last Penguin refresh was October 4, 2013. If you get penalized, there is no hope for the keyword recovering until Penguin refreshes again. And, it’s been a whole year and a few days since the last documented refresh.
- You can prevent a Google Penguin penalty by focusing on natural links with diverse anchor text.
- For those hit by Penguin, you can recover from the penalty by disavowing bad links and working to drown out the bad links with natural links.
How to Disavow Bad Links
First, you need to understand the symptoms of a penguin penalty by Google. Here are a few signs:
- A single keyword begins dropping significantly in the rankings after appearing at the top.
- You will not get a message from Google in Webmaster Tools about the penalty. You will have to figure it out and clean it up yourself or hire an Atlanta SEO expert to do so.
- You can run a backlink analysis to determine where your links appear around the web. If you have 10 percent or more links that have the same anchor text, you may have a Google Penguin penalty.
- If your links appear on unrelated, low quality forums and gaming sites, you most likely have a penguin penalty.
Once you determine the low quality websites where your links appear, you need to reach out to the webmaster and request that the links be removed completely. If after a couple of weeks you do not get an answer, try again. If all else fails, create a disavow file and submit it through Google Webmaster Tools. Anyone with a Google account can verify their website with Google Webmaster Tools. Once you do so, you can browse to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main.
Keep in mind that simply submitting a Google disavow file will not guarantee that Google will lift the penalty. You need to do everything you can to remove the unnatural links and work towards establishing good quality, natural links going forward. Even then, you will have to await the next Google Penguin Refresh before you know your work has paid off.
If you think you’ve been affected by the latest Google Penguin Refresh, contact PersistSEO to run a Free SEO Analysis and backlink audit to determine the health of your website. Call us today at 770.580.3736 for a free consultation.