Everyone in the digital marketing industry, whether in house or agency, has heard of or experienced the effects of the perilous Google pair, Panda and Penguin. If you haven’t, you may be left alone, in tears and confused in the coming weeks. With a new Penguin update just around the corner, webmasters’ eyes return once again to their link profiles.

For years the Google culture and general attitude to the updates has been “no need to worry, you may have been a naughty site, but repent of your sins and return unto your rankings”. Whilst this is true, kind of, repentance doesn’t come from a Webmaster Tools link check and a quick disavow. Being a leading Search Agency in Birmingham means we know a thing or two about getting the best results online, and trust us when we say a Google penalty isn’t an easy fix.

Do not get comfortable in assuming just because you have removed those ‘spammy’ linking domains that your are going to regain your historic rankings and results. Google is forgiving, but not stupid, and what Google offers is a chance to try again.

Enough context, here is our in depth and clean guide to not only surviving Penguin, but also improving your online strategy to keep your search results safe.

Link Audits

Link removal is paramount in combating Penguin. Many SEO’s have a better safe than sorry fear-mongering attitude – chances are it is a very select few links from your profile than attract Penguin to your site. The ‘if in doubt – disavow’ attitude can be detrimental to a sites performance. The best metric to look out for when reviewing your backlinks is relevancy. Why is this link here? Who is this link for? and What Context is the link in are the big questions you need to be asking.

Identifying all your links is tough work and no software out there pulls off 100% of your linking domains. Just using Webmaster Tools can lull you into a false sense of security thinking your profile is looking great. Using a couple of other tools to run additional backlink checks is always worthwhile, even for the one or two additional links you get. Majestic SEO runs one of the best backlink analysis tools on the web, we seriously recommend you check it out. However the best link analysis tool is an active webmaster.

A link audit is not something done on a Friday afternoon. It requires consistent monitoring and a watchful eye. All webmasters for active sites should be keeping an eye on their backlinks not only to spot any negative or less than desirable links but also to make the most and scout out those natural link opportunities!

Quality Inbound Links

If you have not yet seen our piece on Outreach: It’s All About Relationships, i suggest you give a read. Creating those quality inbound links isnt a matter of ‘how much should I invest on SEO’, its about how active you want your company to be online.

Your current links, even those that Penguin targets, are likely going to have a hand in your organic rankings in the SERPs. Take those away and you undeniably have a smaller link profile and therefore, less people talking about you.

Once you have been sufficiently pecked by Penguin and removed all the links that Google took exception to along with probably a few more that they didn’t have an issue with don’t expect your website to rank well. You are back to square one. You now (hopefully) have a good quality site that provides a great user experience but with no links and online activity. Google’s advice is now to build the quality of your site. Remember it’s not about appearing natural, it’s about being natural. Getting creative with your SEO strategy is something we all need to be thinking about.

Creating these quality links needs to have started yesterday. Removing a significant number of domains without actively bringing in new links is when a site gets stuck in rut and leads to significant traffic losses.

Look at Site Layout and Structure.

If you site has been or is hit by Penguin, this can be a flag for other Google updates targeting poor quality sites, including Panda. The two algorithms are more intertwined than people realise with both referring the other to sites they deem below their high standards.

Rethink Your On-Page SEO to create engaging content. Look at your site structure, how is the online journey for both users and search bots? Make their time on your site as fluid as possible guiding them through your content to the converting pages. By ensuring your site maintains a high standard of content, you tick of another box in keeping future penalties and algorithms away.
If you’re worried about the upcoming Google updates, and are not sure of the potential effects on your site, talk to us today. Unlike Penguin, we don’t peck.