While webmasters and marketers were still recovering from the latest Panda update, Google discreetly rolled out Penguin 3.0. Though still in the early stages, this rollout is the first Penguin algorithm update in the past year and has yet unknown consequences for those using Joomla (though Moz is reporting tame preliminary results). Despite the uncertainty, what we do know about the update is enough to take some restorative measures and implement best practices in preparation for the future.
Penguin 3.0’s Reach
Designed to combat blackhat SEO techniques, paid guest posts, and spammy backlinks, Penguin 3.0 officially rolled out on October 17th, with little information provided to webmasters. Because the launch is currently only affecting 1% of English searches, the overall impact of Penguin 3.0 has yet to be fully realized.
3 Signs that Penguin Affected Your Site
If you haven’t already seen obvious changes occurring in your data, look for the following as evidence of being affected:
- Reduced position in SERPs/rankings. Penguin 3.0 promises to send a massive blow to sites using unnatural linking, paid guest posts, and other blackhat tactics. The most noticeable result is a drop in ranking.
- Official notification from Google. Receiving a notice from Google about your site is an obvious one, but failing to take swift action can be detrimental to your site’s visibility.
- Decreased organic traffic. Among other stats taking a hit is organic traffic, which some webmasters began to see drop as of Penguin 3.0’s launch.
Google describes the latest version of Penguin as being gradually rolled out, meaning the sooner changes are made to avoid an official penalty, the better.
Your Next Steps
Recovering from Penguin (or any update) can take time and resources, but it’s well worth the effort. Take the following steps to improve your site and pass the Penguin test:
- Conduct a link audit. While it sounds complex, if you’ve ever completed one, you know it can be tedious. Identifying bad links is the first step to removal. Google Webmaster Tools is useful for this.
- Remove questionable backlinks. Webmasters are using WHOIS to find site owners and request link removal. Unfortunately, requesting link removal for thousands of links can become overwhelming; in this situation, some webmasters choose to pay for link removal services.
- Reach out to influencers. Moving forward, use digital influencers and authoritative content to encourage natural backlinks from quality sites.
- Perform social media outreach. Social signals significantly influence a site’s ranking and organic traffic. Spend time performing outreach on various social media channels; the result can be powerful.
- Use PR to boost online visibility. By no means is traditional PR dead; it’s simply underused by individuals and small businesses. Instead of risking a penalty, create and promote original press releases online to enhance your digital presence.
- Commit to high quality linking strategies. Between the creation of quality content and adherence to natural backlinking practices, webmasters will experience an improvement in site statistics. A commitment to obtaining backlinks using whitehat tactics leads to increased organic traffic and SERP ranking.
Making these practices your focus will lead to improved content, a more engaged readership, and increased online visibility.
Vindication for the Good Guys
On the plus side, sites that were corrected after the last Penguin release are experiencing an increase in SERP rankings. Joomla users from businesses to schools and online publishers to ecommerce establishments are now receiving due ranking in search engine results, provided all previous issues were addressed.
Have you protected your Joomla site from Penguin 3.0?