The looming worries around Penguin 4.0

By the Editor In SEO No comments

There’s been a lot of talk about Google’s next real time update, Penguin 4.0. Penguin is a terrifying update, but only for those people who are doing things that are against what Google has said. Do we understand why people are worried? Sure, but if you’ve done things correctly then you really don’t need to worry because at the end of the day, you’re more than likely going to gain visibility in the search engine results through the lowering of your competitors who have performed underhanded tactics.

Image credit: Simplio Web Studio

Google’s Penguin updates have always been about links and by links we mean links from other websites that point to yours. So what Google is doing is looking at the links to your website and determining how much value these links hold and whether they’re relevant to your website. The idea behind Penguin is to kick the websites that have bought links or acquired links through manners that Google have said to be underhanded from their results.

If you’ve bought links, used a cheap SEO company or feel that you’ve acquired links to your website through questionable means, it’s probably a really good time to review your links and possibly get some removed. Google’s algorithm updates are getting more and more frequent, and as Google rolls them out it’s intelligence is increasing through training its machine learning – soon the concept of crooking the system with links will fall away completely (Okay okay, so we admit, there are black hat tactics such as cleverly set up PBN’s that will always work, but that’s not a space we dabble in, ever, so please don’t ask).

The question is, how do you check if you have bad links to your website? There are many ways but possibly two of the easiest are:

  1. Google’s Search Console
  2. Moz’s Open Site Explorer

Search Console (clicky)

If you have (you really should) your website added to Search Console you can navigate to Search Traffic > Links to Your Site and discover all the links pointing to your website that Google has picked up on. Click on the “More >>” option under the links and you’ll be presented with all the links to your website. Here you have the option of being able to download the list of links and then you may analyse them accordingly.

Open Site Explorer (clicky)

This piece of software by Moz allows you to enter in your website address to receive a list of all the links pointing to your website. What’s really useful about OSE is that once you are presented with the list of links, it tells you the Spam Score, PA (Page Authority) and DA (Domain Authority) of the websites linking to you. This allows you to quickly filter the columns to identify good links and bad links based on those three criteria. The free version of Open Site Explorer is good, but if you’re a paying subscriber you’ll be able to avoid limitations as well as view social media metrics about all the links and that further’s your ability to identify bad links.

As a website owner it is crucial that you’re aware of the websites that links to you, not only to avoid bad links, but to also benefit from great links and further benefit from these great links by reaching out to the website owners – That’s a story for another day though.

Fire up Search Console and Open Site Explorer right now and have a look, the last thing you need is to find your website suddenly vanish from the search results in March!