On September 23, 2016, Google rolled out Penguin 4.0. This long-awaited update to the Penguin algorithm was first announced by Google as “coming soon” in October of 2015. Website operators waited eagerly for the new release, especially site owners whose websites had ended up being penalized by the prior Penguin version as a result of bad links. Now, Penguin 4.0 has arrived, and it is important for law firms to understand how this new algorithm affects your SEO strategy.
Google’s Penguin and Bad Links
When Penguin was released in April of 2014, it was touted as tackling spam. What it ended up doing was lowering the ranking of sites that used questionable back link strategies. For sites that used these strategies, it was unfortunately virtually impossible to fully recover from the penalty that Penguin imposed… until the next update came along. Unfortunately, innocent sites could be hit as well if targeted by spam link attacks.
The process of dealing with bad links was also cumbersome in the prior Penguin version. Site owners had to send out requests for the questionable back links to be removed, but not all of these links would go away. For the links that could not be removed, the site owner would have to add them to a “disavow” list, submit the list, and simply wait.
Fortunately, this process has now changed. The disavow option is still there, but the speed at which change happens is significantly improved. If a website has been impacted by penalties due to bad links and the site owner corrects the problem, changes in Google’s ranking will happen in a much timelier manner as soon as the site is recalled and re-indexed.
Google is now being more focused in its penalties as well, targeting only individual sections or pages affected by bad links rather than impacting rankings site wide for the entire domain.
How Google’s Penguin Update Impacts your SEO Strategy
Google’s Penguin update is of the greatest relief to people whose sites were still being penalized due to past link problems. However, there is something for every site operator to love about the new Penguin 4.0.
One of the major benefits to the update is that companies cannot target competitors with negative SEO tactics any more. Since entire sites are no longer demoted, this black hat practice won’t be effective so site administrators won’t have to worry as much about spam attacks.
Another big advantage is that Penguin is part of the core algorithm of Google, so this means real-time updates and faster changes to site rankings soon after issues are addressed.
Finally, because of the way that Penguin operates, black hat SEO tactics are going to die out, along with the shady SEO agencies that use these tactics. Sites with sound SEO strategies won’t have to worry about competing with scammers who artificially boost their own rankings and sites with truly great content are going to excel.
If you want your law firm’s website to rank as highly as possible, seek help from true SEO professionals who can use the right tactics to ensure your site is designed to be optimized effectively.
Director, Web and Online Marketing Services
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555
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