Once again Google has moved the goal posts on everybody by launching Penguin 2.0. Allegedly if you had followed their guidelines to the letter of the law then you probably wouldn’t have been affected.
Whilst everybody on earth tries to follows these guidelines it is near impossible to comply completely.
Everything can be twisted. Google does not like paid links at all and has publicly, on numerous occasions gone on record saying this. Although, they themselves publicly advertise a form of purchasing links in their satchel advert for Google Chrome.
What they are advocating is to give stuff away so people will link back to you in the form of blog posts, shares etc. Technically you are buying links, but because you have gone around it in an ethical way this seems to be OK.
This latest round of Penguin proves that Google is taking a much more serious look into link profiles so we all need to be extra careful going forward.
Google has turned up Penguin and is taking a much closer look various types of links aswell as anchor text within links. They have also announced that they have hit some major link networks along the way. Therefore your site may have been hit as a result of one of the sites linking to you using a link network. So although not a direct hit you can see how bad links on another website may affect your own. What we do know is that Penguin is now algorithmic rather than manual therefore we can expect to see a lot more sites getting hit going forward.
We are also hearing rumours that this round of Penguin was a mild hit and the big one is coming sometime in the summer (whenever that might be)
The question is what should you be doing about it?
We suggest going through your link profile with a fined tooth comb removing anything that is obviously not a good link. We are not saying that all directory links, forum posts article links and so on are bad links but you need to use your best judgement. If you think it is a bad site then it probably is so get it removed. There are lots of articles on the internet telling you what to look out for so it might be worth doing a search before removing any links. This is a very time consuming process but by doing it now you are safe guarding yourself from future updates and putting yourself ahead of the curve.
If you have an agency working on your behalf we suggest that you instruct them over the next month to perform a complete link audit and manually remove any obvious bad links that point to your website. After they have done this they will then need to mop up the links they couldn’t get removed with a Disavow file.
Remember you are removing lots and lots of links so your rankings will probably take a bit of a dip as well as conversions. Unfortunately this is something that you are just going to have to deal with as the SEO landscape is changing and webmaster have no option but to change with it.
The focus should now be on quality content for your website. Quality content will ALWAYS win out in the end. You need to start thinking about producing quality content as this acquires quality natural links. Quality content will gain you those natural social shares. Quality content will win out every single time so you need to start producing it from today.
Anchor text! Forget about it, let people link back to you however they wish. Variation is the key.
To conclude, if you are producing quality content, although it won’t be as fast and furious as past efforts, over time it will help your site flourish and is the only real way to make your site algorithm proof in the future.