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How to overcome Google Penguin update in link building SEO

Updated on January 12, 2013

When Google Penguin update hit late last year 2012, many websites and blogs went down crumbling while many others dropped on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) to far bottom places. Newer sites and blogs, some looking simple but with concrete content, have now dominated the SERPs and are riding high on traffic.

You look at your website or blog and you ask yourself how such sites or blogs can be on top of SERPs before your content. Well, you need to look back on your link building Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and more so the source of your backlinks.

Google Penguin update was meant to demote sites which draw their backlinks from low quality sites and especially those sites with backlinks that look unnatural to Google. Many webmasters, having known that backlinks have a direct impact on search engines page ranking, have embarked on all sorts of link building SEO.

Be warned if your site or blog has links from link farms, link exchange sites, link directories and all other forms of unethical or questionable link building practices. Such link building SEO strategies can hugely cost your site.

Google Penguin update
Google Penguin update | Source

What happened?

Earlier, webmasters and internet marketers paid much attention to the quantity of backlinks pointing to their sites without much consideration to the quality. With Google Penguin update, Google now rewards more on quality than quantity.

In post Penguin update, it is better to have 10 backlinks from authority sites, (read, sites with high PR), than 50 backlinks from low quality sites including cheap article submission directories.

Search engines like Google have become smarter with intelligent algorithms and will run down on any website, web page or blog with backlinks crafted purposely to artificially inflate a site's backlink profile and cheat on SERP valuation system.

Having a site or blog with backlinks from low quality sites or links acquired from link schemes will be like begging Google for penalties. Google now even consider the relevancy a site's content and its backlinks by comparing the language used on the site and the one used in backlinks.

Source

A lot of buzz has been on with SEO experts on why Google Penguin will penalize links with anchor text from authority sites but it is all natural to Google. Having backlinks from multiple sources with keywords stuffed in form of anchor text like “Click here” or “See it now!” and all pointing to a single landing page is no longer darling to Google.

Although search engines will not necessarily penalize a site for having some keyword-rich anchor text, when anchor texts are not deservedly diverse enough, it appears unnatural to search engines and therefore triggers red flags.

This implies that Google want to see more distributed quality backlinks on your site and not thousands of them pointing to a single landing page. It is important to note that currently Google does not penalize sites sparingly but rather, if some sections of a site have problems, then the entire site faces Google penalty.

Source
Backlinking SEO
Backlinking SEO | Source

The way forward on Google Penguin and link building

Google has openly shown that quality will always come before quantity in backlinking and relevance will always be a key factor in link building. The sites which will matter to Google are those with high quality natural backlinks and which consistently pass Google’s relevancy indicators.

If your site was hit by the latest Google penguin update, the first step to remedy that will be to carry out a thorough link audit on your site. Using web tools such as link analyzers and backlink checkers, get a detailed report of the current health state of your site’s backlinks.

The worst case scenario will be if your site was badly hit, which may require bringing the entire domain down. That has already happen with some sites.

Link Building SEO
Link Building SEO | Source

Tips on how to build backlinks

If the link audit report shows that your site is recoverable, you need to drop all the bad links and then follow proper and ethical link building SEO when building new ones. Here are some tips:

  • Multiple Backlink Sources

While most webmasters regard article directories as quality link sources, a lot newer and cheap ones have come up so desist from going for every any other article directory and especially the newer ones.

Do not even think about link farms, link buying, link schemes or any questionable link building practice because doing so will only attract the wrath of Google. There are better sources that offer quality backlinks such as guest blogging, blog commenting, online forums, social bookmarking sites, submitting to PDF directories etc.

  • Multiple links with anchor text

Pull down any link that you posted for your site that is keyword stuffed and any that overly reference your site or a single web page. Google penguin can now detect different types of clickable anchor text and those that contain excessive keywords. Distribute links evenly in a natural way and avoid too many links pointing to your site from one direction such as article directories.

  • Link building for landing page

Homepage is regarded by many as the ideal landing page for a website and while it may look so, pointing every link to your site’s homepage can appear unnatural to Google now, more or less like spamming. It will be safer to find a more diverse range of landing pages on the site such as selected web pages rather than the homepage only.

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    • profile image

      James Ikandi 4 years ago

      Very well explained, i think Google is trying very hard to clean its house lately.

    • dwachira profile image
      Author

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi bridalletter,

      We can only keep on trying as we don't have much control over Google, thanks for finding time to visit and comment.

    • dwachira profile image
      Author

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi sgbrown,

      I don't think we'll ever know what Google want, details about their algorithms are scanty and apart from what we learn after updates, very little is known. Thanks for the visit, comment and support sharing this article.

    • bridalletter profile image

      Brenda Kyle 4 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      It helps to have the insight and understanding now. It was such a hard hit at the time. My experience with technology is always that same result. Once implemented, it shatters productivity, smooth transitions and affects everyone trying to use it. As the bugs dissipate and people develop an understanding for the new version, things start heading in the right direction again.

      It just hurts more for us on here when it affects income.

      Very helpful hub, thank you.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      It is a good thing that Google is becoming more strict, but it sure can be a pain in the --- trying to figure out what they like and don't like. I just try to write a good quality article and link to it in one of my blog posts. I share it on several site such as FaceBook, Pinterest, and a few others. I have been posting my article on RedGage, but don't know if that is good or bad yet. Thank you for the information, this is very useful! Voting up, useful, interesting and sharing! Have a wonderful day! :)

    • dwachira profile image
      Author

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi torrilynn,

      I guess Google has made a habit of sneaking these update when we least expect. Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 4 years ago

      dwachira, i never knew what google penguin update was until i read your article. thanks for the information and voted up.

    • dwachira profile image
      Author

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi Daniel,

      I guess there are more Kenyans out there, thanks for the visit and comment. Am happy that your blog is up again. Sure, i do have a blog, here: http://online-finder.blogspot.com/ please have a visit.

    • profile image

      Daniel 4 years ago

      Hi,

      It is good to see a Kenyan here, one of my blogs was run down actually and am just starting to come up again. Thanks for this info. Do you own blog? may be we can share ideas.

    • dwachira profile image
      Author

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi Perry,

      Yes, you should now that Google is becoming more strict. Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • profile image

      Perry 4 years ago

      I should be more careful with links, thanks for letting us know this.

    • dwachira profile image
      Author

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi Petrice,

      Thanks for the visit and comment, am glad that this article was helpful.

    • profile image

      Petrice 4 years ago

      You really have a know how in SEO, i have acquired much from this article and i wish i knew all this before. Thanks sir.

    • dwachira profile image
      Author

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi Faigh1982,

      Penguin update hit a lot of sites and in fact some have gone under, it is good to hear your site is up again and certainly we are more wiser on Penguin update now than before. Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • dwachira profile image
      Author

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi Archa Ghodge,

      Thanks for the visit and comment, am glad that you found this article to be helpful.

    • profile image

      Faigh1982 4 years ago

      Thank you for this information. Yeah Google is quite strict lately by introducing Penguin Update. Indeed, 3.1% of search queries in English and 3% of queries in other languages were affected by it and it is still increasing in figure. Sad to say, my dating site was affected by it last quarter of 2012.

      My ranking and traffic dropped deeply. Despite of the changes I've noted my dating site was able to recover. I just carried out all the directions in the Penguin Breakthrough which is incorporated in the Panda Breakthrough. After participating in the program I was able to figure out why was my site penalized by Google.

      I found out that I have on-page issues and links that are penalizing me. But when I've resolved it my site is ranking again. It makes me think that you're right on the aspect that," review your links" because that might the reason you'll be penalized by Google Penguin Update.

    • Archa Ghodge profile image

      Archa 4 years ago from India

      Nicely explained the concepts of SEO and Penguin update.

    • dwachira profile image
      Author

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi teaches12345,

      Thanks for the visit and comment, am glad to know this article was helpful. Have a nice day!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Although search engines will not necessarily penalize a site for having some keyword-rich anchor text, when anchor texts are not deservedly diverse enough, it appears unnatural to search engines and therefore triggers red flags.

      This is very helpful for me. Thanks for another educational lesson in technology.

    • dwachira profile image
      Author

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi healthylife2,

      That is certainly true, even for content writers, the loops are techie and we have to do the best to up the game. Thanks for the visit and comment. I appreciate the support sharing this article.

    • dwachira profile image
      Author

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi Carol7777,

      It is good to be forearmed with information especially because these Google updates will keep on hitting on us again and again. Thanks for the visit and comment. I really do appreciate the support. Have a nice one :-)

    • dwachira profile image
      Author

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi formosangirl,

      I am glad that you found this article to be useful, thanks for the visit and comment.

    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 4 years ago from Los Angeles

      Very informative. Thanks.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      I found this most helpful and will bookmark for future reading. Thanks for taking the time to share all this valuable information. Voting up and sharing.

    • healthylife2 profile image

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      This article is full of useful information. There is so much technical stuff to deal with and I am slowly learning it but have a long way to go. I need to start including backlinks carefully and will be returning to this article often. Voted up and shared!

    • dwachira profile image
      Author

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi kenyanXstian,

      It is good to see you here, yes - now we have to be extra careful when building those links if we are remain favorable to Google. Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • kenyanXstian profile image

      Eword Media Unit 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Sir, this is very useful information, I will definitely look up better was of doing SEO. I have to admit I new very little about backlinks and this article has pushed me to find out more about them. Good work.

    • dwachira profile image
      Author

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi Bill,

      Every time there is a Google algorithm update, webmaster, online publishers and bloggers hold their breath watching on their traffic and every "Bad news" indicators they know to see what will happen next. It is good to be armed with the information. Thanks Bill for the visit and comment.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That was very helpful! It is the first explanation that I have understood, so well done and thank you!

    • dwachira profile image
      Author

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi Rajan,

      Thanks for the visit and comment. We have be careful how we do our linking and where we draw our backlinks from even in our individual sub-domains here on HP. It is the only way to remain friends with Google.

    • dwachira profile image
      Author

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi NotPC ,

      It is good to hear your traffic has recovered, i have a friend who had three , very well doing blogs but were hit by Penguin late last year (2012) that he had to bring them down. Google is more serious now and we can only abide by its rules. Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very useful info, Danson! Backlinks from reputed sites is the best way to remain being hit by Google.Thanks for sharing ways to build good backlinks.

      Voted up, useful and shared.

    • NotPC profile image

      NotPC 4 years ago

      Thanks for this info! I was definitely impacted by the Penguin at the end of last year. My traffic has since recovered for the most part. I never even thought about how the incoming links could have such a huge impact on the measure of a websites search engine value.