Matt Cutts (Google’s head of webspam team and chief source of information on algorithm updates) has announced an impending overhaul of the Penguin update to be rolled out “in the next few weeks.”
The Penguin update, if you’re not already familiar with it, wasfirst launched in April 2012 and has seen two refreshes since- one in May and another in October.
Predominantly focussed on poor quality links, the Penguin algorithm update is not to be confused with Panda- Google’s algorithm updates focussed on poor, thin, duplicate and advertisement heavy content.
The first generation Penguin algorithm updates were predominantly focussed on targeting link spam by penalising webmasters who utilised “black hat” link building techniques such as excessive use of exact match anchor texts in externally built links.
As for what generation 2.0 will hold- we can’t be certain, but we can reliably expect that the update will further target poor quality link building campaigns, and Cutts has also confirmed “the next update of Penguin will be larger”.
It is rare for webmasters to be in the position where we know an algorithm update is coming. Previously updates were simply implemented and webmasters are forced to work retrospectively to fix potential issues. Although we don’t know precisely when it will take place- it will almost certainly be before the end of the month (May 2013) so it’s important you act NOW to prepare your website.
The safest way to ensure you’re ready for the upcoming update is to conduct a full audit of your backlinks- looking for any which might be from unreputable, poor quality sources. Links should then be requested to be removed before, as a final option, they should be correctly submitted to Google’s disavow tool.
To help webmasters prepare for the upcoming update we’re offering a free backlink audit to anybody who is concerned the impending update could affect their website’s performance.
Whether you’re aware poorly built links have been created in the past, or you’re simply erring on the side of caution; to request your free back-link audit send a message to [email protected], or call the team directly on 01524 566 736.
Information and references from Matt Cutts
Content written by Henry Davenport