Is Google Penguin 3.1 here?

Is Google Penguin 3.1 here?

Blog SEO

Overall we didn’t notice many positive or negative changes in Penguin 3.0 update on the 17th October, for a major update we’d all been waiting for I couldn’t help think is that it?Like many SEO’s we do a lot of link auditing for clients that come to us with penalties already, as long as there is SEO there will be the need to help correct poor quality work too.

Google sure do love to give during the holidays

Easter & Thanks Giving have both been times when Google have cared enough to share a cuddly creature for us all (ain’t that nice?) But when I heard via Bartosz on his blog (nice chap by the way I called him today and had a bit of a chat) that he thought Penguin 3.1 was rolling out or so he believed , I wasn’t all that surprised. I checked all our sites and client sites but sadly nothing….or so it seemed.

Why did we expect a Penguin refresh so soon after 3.0?

The reason I was expected to see an update around this time was because of the Easter bank holiday update, yes a nice chocolate egg laid by Google that hurt so many users sites out there and because of John Muller ‘s comments on ‘more regular updates’ could be expected. Great for those who’ve been hit and work hard to recover.

I’ll be honest I was disappointed to see no changes it sites we’ve been trying to correct and get on the right path but then I reminded myself, the UK saw Penguin 3.0 roll out first so maybe the it was our Stateside friends turn to receive first. After all it was thanksgiving.

Monday 1st December Penguin 3.1 hits the UK

Early Monday morning on December 1st 2014 I couldn’t resist and started to check sites, immediately saw BIG things happening and sites showing up in the top 5 positions for the majority of their searches. GREAT!

I am sure i am not the only one who does this but i was immediately obsessed with checking positions and although a few fluctuations probably more likely down to which server was been accessed to pull results, all was looking good.

One health site in particular which we had been working on for a good 9 months if not more hadn’t seen any positive or negative changes when Penguin 3.0 rolled out but as if by magic it’s #1 for it’s most important search term.

Fluctuations in rankings after Penguin roll out

The only time i noticed something a little odd was when I was out of the office and I searched again and saw something completely different, almost every time I searched the same thing i was presented with different results. I cleared my cache, changed browsers, everything you can do even change location of my position. I put it down to server location again and waited till i was back home. Bingo! Search results still presenting as they did on Monday morning across all devices.

After going back to the office and repeating the same thing across Monday and Tuesday all looked well, apart from the occasional search where something random appeared or something I wasn’t quite expecting.

Data correlation in search results

From what I can see there are 3 ways of the results showing currently over the last 3 days after the 3.1 Penguin roll out.

  1. Pre 3.1 update
  2. Post 3.1 update
  3. Mix bag of frogs (only happens when i choose certain cities or locations to search or access data from and not conclusive.)

Mixed bag of frogs refresh

I think it’s worth mentioning my mobile device is not longer showing the mix bag of frogs results as it was Monday. So if we go off the same assumption that this mixed bag of frogs result is probably just some missing data or incomplete data for the algo update that hasn’t gone through yet. Or at least i am hoping that.

That’s all for now but we’d love to hear your findings and how you’re seeing data

Google Penguin Penalty: What to do if you’ve been penalised


What to do if your website has taken a hit in rankings from Google’s latest Penguin update

google penguin penalty what to do

With over 700,000 websites already reporting their organic rankings affected by the evil Google Penguin update there is a lot of talk within the SEO community on what to do if you have received a message in your Webmaster Tools inbox from Google re: suspicious links.

Here’s our take on the situation and what to do before resubmitting your site to Google for re-consideration:

1.) Stop link building immediately

Why? How do you know you won’t get another bad back link to your site, which Google is going to see, and get a further penalty?

Two wrongs will kick you in the ass and I don’t know any webmaster, SEO or business that wants to get the site removed from Google’s indexed, or blacklisted for 3-6 months.

2.) Analyse your back links that have cached. A great tool which has a 30 day free trial is SEO Powersuite and it can effectively analyse your current back links much more accurately than some of the free online back link checkers.

3.) Remove all suspicious looking back links. There are ways an means such as contacting the webmasters themselves if your link building company can’t remove them or don’t know how. Another great service is DMCA takedown – we’ve used them twice to get stolen content taken from our site down. They usually do it in well under than 24 hours and it’s not an expensive service about £100.


What to look for when searching for bad/suspicious back links:

SEO Powersuite will tell you using a green to red colour scheme if these links you have indexed to your site have any warnings on them, green = good and red = bad.

Look at the domains themselves, are they really new with lots of outbound links?

Paid for links – Personally we avoid any sites with ‘buy links here’ or ‘paid back links’ on their site. You’re just asking for trouble. Of course it is likely that Google has a filter in built to look for such tags, alt text or meta data. Just avoid like the plague it’s a fundamental rule of Google to not use paid for links.

Anchor Text Density

Quite a recent find but if the majority of your links say ‘best seo’ or ‘diamond rings cheap’ for example that looks un-natural to Google. In reality if it were organic link building we’d all write them slightly different it’s not like your customers care what is says after all. So very them, alternative try long tails, spelling mistakes this should keep you off Google Penguin’s radar.

Google Penguin has a darker side

The other interesting point I don’t see people talking about is if Google really is going to be using this in it’s algorithm and quality checks to determine site positions then surely if you wanted to beat your competition without link building you would just buy really bad links to your competitor’s websites. I’m not suggesting in any way we all do this, I for one am against black-hat SEO.

We’ve all seen those links advertised for 10,000 for $5 – and we avoid them.

But you can see where I am coming from, there has to be a darker side to this we must be all aware off. Nothing worse than playing it by the book for some rogue SEO trying to get you penalised.

Google Penguin Case Study:

I thought I would add this on to this post as it is relevant and i’m sure some people will be able to relate to.

Yesterday I spoke to a business (not a customer just a cold caller) who wanted to know about the Penguin cull. They told me they received a penalty warning from Google in their webmaster account approximately 4 weeks ago.

When I asked what they were doing about it they said ‘Oh nothing!’……..

Really? Nothing that’s an odd decision, and you said your ranking are dropping everyday?

To which they replied sheepishly ‘Yes’.

So at least you’re not still link building, and not with the same company you’ve been using that have picked up this dodgy back link though right?

There was a bit of a silence and then a ‘errr yes’.

I was stunned to be honest. You get a penalty but yet you still carry on link building and haven’t tried to remove any potential suspicious back links. I can’t believe any company would willingly go toe to toe with Google. It’s Google they hold all the cards, it’s their casino. You all saw what Joe Pesci did in the 90’s film Casino right? [Head-in-Vice] Same thing applies here. Play by the rules and don’t mess with the don, he will have your head and squish it like a grape.