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A backlink – a link from another website to your own – used to be good for your search engine ranking, wherever it came from
However, this led to website owners employing automated tools to spam the web with links by joining directories, and link networks set up with the sole intention of boosting sites’ positions in search engine results pages (SERPs), paying for links or otherwise falsely enhancing their backlink profiles to dupe Google into boosting their rankings and grow traffic.
Then Google decided enough was enough. It’s mission is to provide users with accurate, well-written and relevant answers to their search queries and it decided it would crack down on link schemes by penalising sites using manipulative link building techniques.
The birth of Penguin
The Penguin update was launched by Google in April 2012 and is now part of Google’s core algorithm that crawls and indexes websites. Its aim is to penalise sites that are considered to have unethical backlink profiles. Penalisation basically means that your website will see a decline in Google’s search ranking.
Any site that was deemed to be engaging in ‘black hat’ linking techniques, be that via directories, link farming, paid or rented links etc, can receive a penalty that affects their ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
How do I know if my website’s been affected?
If your link profile is deemed by Google to be negative, your site will be penalised and you’ll see your search engine ranking fall. If your site’s analytics report displays a sudden and severe drop in traffic and SERPs rankings, it’s likely that you’ve been issued with an algorithmic penalty.
Bad links, penalties and building a healthy backlink profile can sound like a complicated process. This boxset contains our advice and best practice on understanding how this can impact you and how you can improve your ranking.
This boxset contains:
Link Auditing, Removal & Recovery
A detailed breakdown on the history of backlinks, the different forms of penalties and how to execute the link auditing, removal and recovery process effectively.
Link Building Through Outreach
How to engage with influencers to expose your content to relevant audience, drive targeted traffic to your site and build quality links.
What is Google Penguin?
The ultimate cheat sheet to help you understand how Google penalises sites with unethical backlink profiles – and how to ensures yours is healthy.
Real Examples: Penguin’s Impact on Search Visibility
We analysed how the last Penguin update impacted on our clients – here are the results, demonstrating the importance of a healthy backlink profile to search visibility.
Google Timeline Infographic
Early changes to the Google algorithm came somewhat thick and fast at times and not at all at others, but it has evolved consistently since Larry Page and Sergiy Brin began on the search engine at Stanford University.
Google’s Greatest Hits
This infographic gives an overview of each of Google’s updates, their industry nicknames, when they happened and their impact on websites’ organic rankings.
Link Building Through Outreach
How to engage with influencers to expose your content to relevant audience, drive targeting traffic to your site and build quality links.
Traffic Drop Troubleshooter
Suffered a drop in traffic or loss of ranking? What has caused it? Could spammy backlinks be to blame? Find out with this easy-to-follow flowchart.
How does Google decide what is a ‘good’ link?
To detect the quality and relevance of a backlink, Google’s spiders analyse a number of factors, such as:
- The authority of the linking site.
- Whether or not the link looks natural.
- The relevance of the link’s anchor text.
- The subject matter that appears on the linking page.
The theory behind this element of the search engine’s ranking algorithm is that the more high quality backlinks a website possesses, the more valuable that site is deemed to be. In turn, valuable websites are likely to be positioned higher up on SERPs, where they tend to draw in more traffic than those appearing lower down on SERPs.
What can I do if my website’s suffering from a link-related penalty?
There’s good news – it’s possible to recover your rankings and traffic – and ensure it remains on Google’s good side going forward. The process to follow it:
Gather a comprehensive list of your website’s backlinks and analyse their quality to determine are natural and which are unnatural.
Contact the owner of each site on your finalised list of URLs that need to be removed and asking for the links to be deleted.
Rebuild your site’s authority and regain the trust of Google by building ethical backlinks. The following techniques are key:
- Content marketing
- High quality on-page content
- Digital PR
- Blogger outreach
- Social outreach
- PR & editorial outreach