Launched in April of 2012, the Penguin update was aimed to improve Google’s ability to detect sites that spammed a search results page. The sites that suffered in particular were those who obtained links through networks or purchases in order to improve their own ranking. Over a year later, sites can sometimes still suffer penalties due to the update, and we’ve put together a list of precautions you can take against Penguin.
Disavow Links Tool
Google has provided a webmaster tool that lets Google know to take into account that you are unaware if your site is being affected by links that are poor quality. When your site is being impacted by poor backlinks, it can sometimes be beyond your control. Using the disavow links tool simply lets Google know that, to a degree, those poor quality links are not your fault.
Avoid Paid Links
Whether it was someone you hired out for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes or you, paid links are a poor way to build up back links to your site. Google considers this a characteristic of link schemes. PageRank is one of over 200 indicators that Google uses when crawling your site, and as such PageRank will take notice of certain elements. This includes, but is not limited to, the buying or selling of links, link exchange to an excessive degree (i.e. reciprocal links), or linking to unrelated or spam sites.
Exercise Caution with SEO Firms, Agencies, & Consultants
Many times, someone claiming to be an SEO specialist will send you an email out of nowhere claiming you are not listed as a result in major search engines and directories. They may also make guarantees, which are also to be approached with caution. Nobody can make the promise that they can make your site number one on a search engine results page (SERP).
The SEO may use poor practices, such as purchasing or creating low quality back links, or use doorway pages that are just filled up with keywords relevant to your site. Unfortunately with these pages, much of the time SEOs add in backlinks to themselves or other clients.
If you have an complaints about poor, unfair, or unjust business practices, report the firm to the United States Federal Trade Commission as soon as possible.
Everyone wants quality content, but not everyone is always willing to put in the work for their site. That’s where guest posting comes in. Guest posting provides a way in which quality content can accompany a back link, improving links in terms of quality in contrast to the stereotypical poor no-content backlinks Penguin (and PageRank) seek out to catch. You can either contact the webmaster of another site letting them know you have a quality guest post to contribute, or you can use sites such as myblogguest, which brings together those willing to produce and those seeking to use guest content. If people truly enjoy or want more of the content you post, you can steer both traffic and readership your way. This only adds to the quality of your backlink.