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Google’s latest algorithm update, Penguin 3.0, hit last Friday and has sparked some confusion among webmasters as to whether or not their website has been hit. The recent update marks the third algorithm Google has released under the Penguin name and is designed to reduce a website’s visibility in search results if it is guilty of using various link spam tactics that Google don’t approve of.

When building links to your site, always remember, quality matters more than just quantity. Review the 10 factors to consider when building links.

If you want to find out whether or not your website has been affected by Google Penguin 3.0, review the following factors:

  1. Analyse your organic search traffic over the coming weeks. Start by checking your organic traffic reports in Analytics: if you’ve noticed a sudden drop in your organic search traffic coinciding with the period when the update was rolled out, chances are that you’ve been affected by the update. See graph below, which illustrates the sort of precipitous decline you should look out for.


  2. Once you’ve analysed your website’s organic search referral stats, go to Google (via an incognito browser session with no prior search history) and search for your own brand. If your brand name is a generic, commonly used word, try searching for your website’s URL. If you don’t rank for either your brand or your domain, then you’ve probably been hit.
  3. Lastly, pick out a few keywords that you knew your site was previously ranking well for. Check the ranking of these terms and if they are not to be seen on the first 5-10 pages of Google’s search results, then you are quite likely to have received a spam penalty.

During your analysis, if you find that your website still shows up on the search results, but your ranking has just fallen a few pages, then you’ve probably not been hit by a full penalty. In this situation it’s more likely that some of your links have been devalued causing your ranking to fall.

If your analysis leads you to believe your website has been hit by Google’s Penguin 3.0 update, you might need to clean up spammy links that currently point to your site, disavow any bad links you can’t clean up, and focus on finding new links.

Get in touch with us if you need help recovering from a hit, or if you need help building good quality links to prevent being hit by future Google updates.