Blog Post

What Small Businesses Should Know About Google Penguin 3.0


If you’re following Google and SEO, you’ve probably heard the breaking news, Google Penguin 3.0 was rolled out. Google’s Pierre Far provided some clarification on Tuesday, October 21. He said it is a refresh, as opposed to an update. Contrary to what John Mueller said Monday, Google Penguin 3.0 is still rolling out and will be for the next few weeks. It is a worldwide refresh and impacts less than 1% of English search queries. We wanted to cover this breaking news about Google Penguin 3.0. Watch this Daily Brown Bag to learn what Google Penguin 3.0 is, what this Google Penguin 3.0 refresh means for small businesses, and how this Google Penguin 3.0 refresh, along with others have impacted the SEO community.

Also available on YouTube.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Hello, and welcome to the Daily Brown Bag. Today, we're going to be talking about Google Penguin 3.0. I'm Chad Hill and I'm joined by Adam Stetzer.

Yeah, good afternoon, Chad. This is definitely breaking news in the SEO space and I know, for our SEO reseller community, there's really nothing bigger than a large Google algorithm update and today we're talking about the Google Penguin 3.0 refresh. Google Penguin is the monster of all algorithm updates when it comes to web spam and it has not been updated in a year. So, this actually is pretty big news today, Chad. I'm sure a lot of people are out there scouring the internet, looking for some sort of new site to help them digest what's happening with Google Penguin. Let's try to bring them up to speed with what we know.

Friday night, Google started this roll out. It was highly anticipated, though, so it's not a surprise. Pretty much everybody in the entire community knew that Google Penguin 3.0 was coming. For those who, somehow, don't know what Google Penguin is, Google Penguin is a series of algorithm updates, now, that have been aimed at spam and practices that violate the Google webmaster guidelines. Chad, we have talked about these quite a bit. Some people call this web spam, other people call it black hat. We've covered this in a number of our webinars and Brown Bags over the years, talking about Google Penguin and reading the Google guidelines. Basically, if you read the Google guidelines closely, I know we've presented them and covered Google Penguin-proof SEO with our reseller community a number of times, it comes down to what is your intent when placing a link, which makes things admittedly gray.

So, a little history here. The first Google Penguin updated rolled out in April of 2012. There have been periodic updates, there were Google Penguin updates in May 2012 and October 2012, then in 2013 there was Google Penguin 2.1 and now this latest one in the fall of 2014. Google is officially confirming, even though they said for a long time they weren't going to make any comments on this, that policy seems to have died, Chad, pretty quickly, although the voice this is coming from is no longer Matt Cutts. It's now John Mueller, who has been running a lot of the Google Webmaster office hangouts for awhile, particularly since Matt Cutts went on his sabbatical. And he did confirm today that it has indeed rolled out and, as far as he knows, has completely updated, so we don't have to wait for bits and pieces of this to keep coming. It is out.

So, I think, Chad, the question on everyone's mind is what does this mean for small businesses and I know our SEO resellers are always eager to know what's the impact, what do they need to do.

Right, that is the big question of the day and I think that you can really answer that question, one, and what you're going to do moving forward and then, if you were impacted by Google Penguin 3.0, and probably the best way to see that would be that if you see an increase in rankings or a drop in impressions in webmaster tools around Saturday, the 18th, that you probably should keep digging because you may have been hit, but let's look forward.

I think the real thing you really want to do, and we've been talking about this, as you said, Adam, for really a year, is you want to continue to look for ways to make sure that the content that you're creating is aligned with real audience and we call it real SEO, which is research what people are interested and then basically write compelling, interesting information and then, from there, it's launch and measure. So, really, it's all about aligning content with real end-users and one of the best ways that we found to do it is to look for ways to incorporate our clients into the news cycle. So, there's all this great information happening all of the time. A lot of our clients are experts in their field. They have interesting, compelling information on their websites, so there's no better way than to try to incorporate what our clients already know, as Subject Matter Experts, into the news cycle to create compelling content.

So, that's really, in our view, the way forward. If you did happen to run into an issue here, usually what you need to be able to do is you need to go back and look at your backlinks and figure out were there any low quality links created? There are a number of tools across the web that can help you do that. There are tools that simply help you find your links, there's tools that analyze those links to see which ones are good and bad. Again, no one really knows for sure which ones are good or bad, because Google doesn't tell you, but people have tried to kind of reverse engineer that process.

Again, big algorithm update here with Google Penguin 3.0. Our advice for everyone is to look forward, continue to create great, compelling content for end-users that's shareable and that's going to be your best recipe for continuing to stay on the right side of these algorithm updates.

That's well said, Chad, and I know we run across a lot of people that say well, I liked how it was a couple of years ago. I want to go back to those days of link building. I don't want to earn these placements, these citations and, of course, I think our answer is well, if you want any more proof that that's getting further and further away with each algorithm update, I don't know what more you could have. Those days are just simply over. That's not how SEO works anymore. We've said that many times.

SEO and PR are rapidly merging in how you think about presenting your brand and creating great content for a real audience. It has to be front and center in how you promote yourself to earn those backlinks. You have to police your backlink profile and the one thing I would probably add there, Chad, is you have to not only look at where the links are coming from, you have to look at the anchor text, because it used to be that having a lot of money terms in your anchor text was really valuable, geo-targeted terms was really helpful. Not anymore.

These algorithm updates have shown up that Google has changed their policies on a number of those things and they now see those as a signal of manipulative intent and so, if you have that in your profile, you need to work to get rid of it and certainly moving forward, you need to let things happen much more naturally, which is why we favor, as Chad said, a statistics based approach of getting in the news, where you're actually helping the story and earning that placement, which is readily obvious to anyone who looks at it. Data and statistics, we think, are a great way to earn your way into a lot of stories, real media placement, particularly where there's an editor and there's editorial approval that you don't have any control over. It's another way to make sure you're on the right side of these updates.

So, that's our breaking news for today. The Google Penguin 3.0 refresh is out. As of Tuesday, October 21st, Google’s Pierre Far provided some clarification that Google Penguin 3.0 is a refresh, as opposed to an update. And contrary to what John Mueller said on Monday, October 20th, Google Penguin 3.0 is still rolling out and will continue doing so for the next few weeks. Google Penguin 3.0 is a worldwide refresh and it impacts less than 1% of English search queries. We hope you've enjoyed the Brown Bag. I'm sure there's lots of discussion to be had on Google Penguin so we’d like to hear your comments on our blog and please subscribe to our YouTube channel. We'll see you tomorrow.