Last week, we published a blog post that informed you about the latest Google Penguin update and what you could expect to see happen because of it. It’s now a week later, and we’re still seeing the update roll out, so we can still expect to see search rankings change as this process goes on. Gary Illyes, a webmaster trends analyst for Google, stated on Twitter that we can expect the recovery process to continue into next week.
What Does This Mean?
When Penguin 3.0 was released, a lot of websites were hit with Google penalties due to spammy link building practices. Although many of these sites took steps to get any dubious links removed or disavowed, getting reinstated in the search engines took a long time, if it happened at all. The recoveries happening now are reinstating all websites that took steps to change their backlink profile, and are actually taking things one step further with Penguin 4.0 no longer demoting links but rather devaluing them.
Demoting vs Devaluing
Penguin 3.0, as we mentioned above, penalised sites that had dubious backlink profiles. Unfortunately, some websites that hadn’t actually performed any black hat SEO tactics were demoted at the same time due to natural links being built on poor domains by other people. This was seen as unfair by many, and gave some of the bigger websites a lot of work to do in order to rectify the problems.
The Penguin 4.0 algorithm no longer demotes sites for their backlink profiles, instead it devalues any links it is unsure about. What this means is, that instead of dropping, for example, 10 pages in the search results, a website may only drop 1 or 2. When certain links are believed to be spammy, these are ignored by Google as opposed to being penalised. It might feel like a demotion to some website owners, but most will agree it is better than dropping off Google altogether. And, building high quality, relevant links should see your position in the SERPs increase.
You Still Have Time to See Improvement
If your site was one of those hit by Penguin 3.0, there is still time for your website to see an improvement in search position. As we mentioned above, Penguin recoveries are still rolling out, and if you took the time to clean up your backlink profile, it’s likely that you will see your site recover over the next week.
If your site hasn’t improved, or has dropped, this is likely due to Google devaluing some of the links pointing to your site – especially if those links had helped you to gain the higher ranking to begin with. The best course of action in this case is to focus on improving your backlink profile. Google Penguin 4.0 is an algorithm that was built with the aim of real-time changes, so it’s likely you will see an improvement once you do this.
It is important to note, however, that Google can, and will, still penalise websites that are systematically trying to spam their search results. The manual actions team will still give sites harsh penalties if they believe you are using black hat tactics on purpose.
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