In 2012, Google waged war on low-quality content with the launch of its Penguin algorithm. Before the Penguin algorithm, Blackhat SEO’s used manipulative link building tactics to acquire page rank for their sites.
As a result, cyberspace became saturated with bad content, and Google users were not happy with the results their search queries were generating.
A once easy process for gaining page rank has evolved into a dynamic and challenging landscape.
SEO’s must continuously assess and monitor the link profile of their pages to maintain positive SEO and avoid penalties.
Companies and businesses that ignore SEO run the risk of developing a profile compiled of bad links that create negative SEO and decrease organic traffic.
Here are some things to consider about link building, Google’s algorithms, and avoiding penguin penalties.
Keyword Research and Quality Links
Building a good link profile begins with doing thorough keyword research and understanding the difference between high-quality and low-quality links.
Keywords are the phrases that will be most effective in guiding traffic to your site. They are the foundation for the content you create and links that you build.
There are a variety of tools and metrics available for determining what keywords and links will generate good traffic to your site.
Exact Match Anchor Text
Anchor text is the phrase(s) within your content that contains a link. You can typically identify anchor text within a piece of content because it is underlined or highlighted.
Exact match anchor text is a linking strategy in which a link is only built into the specific keyword your content is targeting.
For example, if the targeted keyword phrase for a piece of content is “searching for a home,” a link would be built into that phrase.
Exact Match Anchor Text and Negative SEO
Exact match anchor text used to be a popular linking mechanism used by SEO’s to build link profiles.
However, as the underlying infrastructure of algorithms has evolved, the rules have changed.
If you use too much exact match anchor text, your site is likely to get penalized by Google’s Penguin algorithm.
In today's search engine environment, good SEOs will typically only build one exact match anchor text in a piece of content.
The Penguin Algorithm: A Closer Look
Google developed the Penguin algorithm in response to SEOs that were gaining the first-page rank by utilizing manipulative linking tactics.
These SEO’s would use a spamming technique to infiltrate the comments sections of blogs with bad links.
With the use of automated tools, these SEO’s were able to place thousands of links across the Internet that drove their sites up on Google’s page rank.
The Penguin algorithm analyzes the backlink profile of a specific page or website and determines if there are any unnatural links or spamming practices.
If the algorithm determines that a website is utilizing bad linking strategies, they prevent the site from gaining page rank and impose a penalty.
When the Penguin algorithm was first launched in 2012, it would update periodically. For SEOs, this meant when webpages accrued penalties, they had to wait for the next Penguin update before the penalty could be lifted.
In October 2016, Google rolled out a penguin update that enabled the algorithm to operate in real time, allowing the algorithm to detect faulty SEO practices and impose penalties immediately.
Live updates are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the real-time nature of the penguin algorithm allows SEO’s to recover quickly and provides better insight into the underlying cause of a penalty.
Alternatively, real-time updates make the SEO landscape challenging to monitor as penalties can be imposed at a higher frequency.
Discovering Penguin Penalties and Techniques for Recovery
The real-time and dynamic landscape of SEO requires constant monitoring and maintenance. To identify penguin penalties, SEOs must constantly monitor analytics for decreases in traffic or sales.
If your traffic has dropped off, your page might have lost rank due to a penguin penalty. Through constant maintenance, SEOs can make sure their link profiles are clean by removing low quality and artificial links.
Maintaining positive SEO is time-consuming and requires constant assessment. Google’s Penguin algorithm has revolutionized SEO techniques. Practices that were once popular no longer suffice.
In the contemporary SEO environment, it is vital to minimize exact match anchor texts and remove penguin penalties as quickly as possible.