Google Penguin, you should have heard of it by now, it’s kind of a big deal.
It’s the algorithm responsible for links and it has been behind the changing landscape of modern SEO when it comes to trying to falsely inflate rankings and authority by buying links, creating low value links, spamming links and generally gaming the link system (Mostly) that for many years, worked.
Well, we’re due another update right about… NOW!
Back in December 2014 we saw the last update. At the time I reported on speculation that it was supposed to be the real-time version rolling out as a continuous algorithm but, well, it wasn’t. Meaning if you were hit last year then you’ve had to wait for a refresh this year, which is a VERY long time in internet terms. Talk is again pointing to this update being a continuous algorithm but until that is certain, I will keep my mouth closed this time around!
Whilst I like to think that spammy links are really a thing of the past, I know from penalty recoveries we’ve done for new clients and and the misinformation available online that it is a practice which still goes on. With the guidance of a reputable SEO Agency who knows their stuff, auditing links might not be top of your agenda but it should be.
You should keep an eye on links: always. But if you don’t, here are a few pointers to watch out for and fix before Penguin goes live…
Avoid Exact match anchor text.
External links should not use exact match anchor text for the terms you want to rank for. (Internal blogs are fine though!)
External links should really be varied by your URL, brand name, longtail and non-descript keywords with branded really being the safest way for external link referrals. Avoid links for your actual services which in our case might be “best SEO agency” or “ppc management service”.
Disavow “Dodgy” Links
Own up and you shall be forgiven.
Whilst it is best practice not to get dodgy links in the first place, it may not be entirely avoidable for a number of reasons. That being said, it’s always best to run regular link detoxes to stay ahead of the loop and react accordingly.
You can find an old blog from Brett at DPOM explaining the disavow tool and providing some insight into removing those links here.
Optimise Your Internal Links
Internal links certainly don’t have the same impact on rankings that external links do but they really have some sway over how search engine crawlers index your site.
These internal links should be relevant and show that you may be passing that relevancy between pages to show that perhaps a category is more important that a product or your blog about XYZ is pointing to your XYZ service page. You can over-optimse links on pahes and de-value them by simply having too many. Here are a few pointers:
Link related pages, like the XYZ example above
Use internal links to show hierarchy on your site. Categories > Brand > Products for example.
Vary that anchor text! Don’t just use the exact match anchors you think are useful.
Free Tools To Help:
There is a lot of misinformation about which tools to use so let’s keep it simple and trust the source of 89.9% of all UK searches: Google.
- For search console help regarding links: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/55281?hl=en&ref_topic=4617161
- For Google Search console (Formerly Webmaster Tools): https://www.google.com/webmasters/
- To check your webpages for broken links there is this hand Chrome externsion : https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/check-my-links/ojkcdipcgfaekbeaelaapakgnjflfglf?hl=en-GB
There are of course a lot of other pieces of software, many of which are quite pricey and many of those we use at DPOM so i suppose the best bet is to find a reputable, reliable SEO agency who knows what they are doing and let them check this for you.
But be quick, as the Penguin update is due any day now!