Google Penguin and SEO Link Checking – What you need to know

Google Penguin

It has been widely rumored that we should expect Google to run a Penguin update in the beginning of 2016. Let me begin by explaining what Penguin is, then we’ll talk about how you can check if you need to worry about its impact on your website’s ranking.

What is Google Penguin?

Google Penguin is an algorithm that detects unnatural links to a website and filters them as spam. These websites are then unceremoniously removed from Google search results.

Yes, that’s right. If you have low-quality unnatural links to your site — your entire website will be removed from Google. What SEO’s and website owners need to accept is that it’s not nice to fool Google. Google Penguin is a cracked down on people buying or trading links to game the system.

Penguin runs periodically (last run in October 2014). The expectation is that with this Penguin update, Penguin will begin running in real-time. This means that those who have been caught out by Penguin should be able to remove the questionable links and be reinstated sooner.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Before your site is penalized by #GooglePenguin check links to your site are natural″ quote=”Before your site is penalized by #GooglePenguin check that links to your site are natural”]

You to be concerned about Google Penguin if you have…

  • Hired an SEO company for link building then you need to be concerned.
  • Been involved in unnatural link buying or trading.
  • A nasty competitor who has created spammy links to your site.

Even if you think you’re good, it doesn’t hurt to check your inbound links.

SEO Link Checking & Disavowing

How to find and assess the quality of links to your site?

Begin in Google Webmaster Tools, now called Google Search Console and from the dashboard, click Search Traffic, and then click Links to Your Site.

Here are some other link-checking tools

Now that you’ve discovered where the links are coming from, assess the quality of the link.

Is the linking site or page that you’re looking at high quality? If you aren’t sure about the quality of links you’ve been building you can read more here about what determines link quality?

Use good common sense. If a link is from Russia and your business is based in Toronto then that doesn’t seem like a natural link. If the linking site is in no way related to your business then get rid of the link.

Clean up links

Go into Google Search Console (formerly called Google Webmaster Tools) to disavow the links. You can upload a file of all the links you want to remove. Note that uploading a new file will replace all previously disavowed links.

I have been working to reorganize and optimize a client’s site and I’ve found hundreds of spammy links. I have also found a file of previously disavowed links.  Properly disavowing these links is a priority before Penguin strikes.  What is upsetting is that this client paid an SEO company to build links. Now she needs to pay someone to help her remove all of those links.

I’ll say it again…. it’s not nice to fool Google.  Instead of spending time trying to game the system, put your efforts into creating quality content and connect with others on social media. The natural links will come.

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