September has been a volatile month for rankings, and Google has recently confirmed why - a change in its algorithm known as Penguin 4.
What is Google Penguin?
Penguin was an algorithm update first launched by Google in 2012. It’s designed to identify websites that spam its search results with irrelevant, poor quality links. The introduction of Penguin had an immediate and significant effect. Sites that hadn’t been playing by the rules saw themselves fall quickly down the rankings or even disappear in some cases.
Links continue to play a huge part in how Google decides which websites should rank highest in the search results, but those links have to be natural and relevant.
What About the Latest Update?
Penguin 4 is the name for the latest major update to Penguin, introduced this month. These are just some of the changes you should expect:
1. Updated in real time
This means that Penguin will update automatically rather than periodically as before. This should mean that sites using spam links are caught much quicker, and allow companies that have made mistakes to bounce back more quickly once they’ve sorted things out.
2. More granular
Penguin now adjusts rankings for individual pages rather than hitting the whole site with a penalty. If you only have spam links to one page, the rest of the site should be OK.
How does this affect you?
As before, it’s important to focus on earning quality organic links, rather than buying them or trying to get loads from article directories or social media profiles. It will benefit you much more to focus on quality rather than quantity.
If you’ve noticed your rankings fall over the last month or two, you could have a backlink problem. You’ll want to identify poor quality links and remove or disavow them. This in itself requires some expertise, so get in touch if you need help sorting things out.