How to fight back against a penguin attack

How to fight back against a penguin attack

Google’s latest tool in the fight against spammy backlinks imposes harsh penalties on websites it views as suspicious. Christoph C. Cemper of LinkResearchTools explains how to recover from algorithmic penalties and says affiliates should be proactive in preventing them.

Published 14th August 2017

The web consists of links and Google has reiterated many times that links are one of its top-ranking factors.

Google hates it if you try to manipulate its search results. To prevent that Google developed Google Penguin, which is an automated link spam fighter.

With Google Penguin 4.0 we reached a new evolutionary step; Google Penguin is now in real time and granular. That means you can get a penalty at any moment and not just for your domain but also for any subfolder or page. If Google thinks that your backlink profile looks suspicions, it can trigger a penalty, and suddenly your domain, subfolder or page is just gone. And losing your rankings means losing your traffic, which results in a drop in conversions.

The only thing you can do is do link audits. You need to know your backlink profile. How many links do you have?

How strong or risky are they? Do you already have a penalty without even knowing it? Any website can link to your website without your knowledge. There is no way to prevent that. This sounds a little dark but don’t worry, there are a few simple steps you can take if you’re not happy with a link to your site.

Audit your full backlink profile

The first step is to be aware of your backlink profile and to know what power your links have. They have the power to get your website to the top of the search results but also to remove you from the search results entirely. But your awareness is useless if you don’t look at your full backlink profile. To only audit a fraction of it won’t do the trick because Google sees and evaluates them all.

We just launched the 25th link source that crawls and verifies your site data in real time, which is especially important in the real-time Google Penguin era, and you would be well advised to use a tool of this type.

Identify all the risky links

You need to evaluate all the links you have, identify the risky ones and remove them.

Contact the webmaster to remove this link or disavow it if you agree with this recommendation. Available tools such our own Link Detox will create a disavow file for you automatically.

Google does not assume anything.

It can happen that you do a link audit and you are shocked when you realise that your website has spammy links. Google doesn’t know that you don’t like those links. You must tell it. Put those links in the disavow file and upload it to your Google Search Console. That is the only way that you can communicate with Google. Unfortunately, it can take some time for Google to recrawl your website after you have uploaded the disavow file. But the aforementioned tools can force Google to recrawl your website — sometimes this can happen as fast as just three days.

Build Penguin-friendly links

Google Penguin likes high trust links.

Sometimes those highly trustworthy links are easier to find than you might think.

Just check your 404 pages. Even though everyone hates them and you do your best to redirect them all, some always fall through the cracks. But those 404s can have very powerful and trustworthy links, and with a redirect you can use those links for your website. Check out your competitors.

Which strong and low risk links do they have that you are still missing? Those are the ones you should go for.

Link auditing is not a one-time thing, it’s a continuous process and you must do a link audit regularly. Just because you did a full link audit once doesn’t mean the internet stops linking to you. But believe me, you will get into a routine, and it will become much faster. The web changes constantly and Google Penguin has the power to keep up with those changes, so you need to too.

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