|Weekly SEO news: 18 October 2016|
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In a podcast, Google's Gary Illyes revealed more information about Google's latest Penguin algorithm update. Here are the most important statements of Gary Illyes from that podcast.
1. Penguin is mainly (but not exclusively) about link spam
Although Google says that Penguin is a web-spam algorithm, it focuses mostly on link spam. If your website was penalized because of the Penguin algorithm, you have to focus on the links.
is] not just links. It looks at a bunch of different things related to
the source site. Links is just the most visible thing and the one that
we decided to talk most about because we already talked about about
links in general.
But [Penguin] looks at different things on the source site, not on the target site, and then makes decisions based on those special signals."
2. The linking site is important
It's not just the link that can cause problems, it's the website that links to your site (the 'source site'). If the majority of links to your site come from empty profile pages, forum profile pages and similar sites, Google's new Penguin algorithm will discount those links.
"For example, like I was looking at the negative SEO case [...] and basically, the content owner played hundreds of links on empty profile pages, forum profile pages. Those links with the new Penguin were discounted.
But like if you looked at the page, it was pretty obvious that the links were placed there for a very specific reason, and that’s to game the ranking algorithms. But not just Google’s but any other ranking algorithm that uses links.
If you look at a page, you can make a pretty easy decision on whether to disavow or remove that link or not. And that’s what Penguin is doing. It’s looking at signals on the source page. Basically, what kind of page it is, what could be the purpose of that link, and then make a decision based on that whether to discount those things or not."
3. The new Penguin algorithm ignores these links
The old Penguin algorithm penalized websites that had a lot of these links. The new Penguin algorithm simply ignores these links, i.e. they have no value at all (positive or negative).
"So in general, unless people are overdoing [links from these sites], it’s unlikely that they will actually feel any sort of effect by placing those. But again, if they are overdoing it, then the manual actions team might take a deeper look."
4. Google labels your links
Google adds labels to links and a link can have multiple labels. For example, a label can classify a link ('is footer link') or add an attribute ('was disavowed'). These labels help Google to rank a web page, and they can be used by Google's manual action team to determine if they should apply a manual penalty to a site.
"If [the manual action team sees] that most of the links are Penguin real-time labeled, then they might actually take a deeper look and see what the content owner is trying to do. [...]
There are tons of different kinds of links on the Internet. There are footer links, for example. There are 'penguinized' links, and all of these kinds of links have certain labels internally attached to them, basically for our own information.
And if the manual actions team is reviewing a site for whatever reason, and they see that most of links are labeled as Penguin real-time affected, then they might decide to take a much deeper look on the site."
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Gary told us in the interview, when we asked about Panda devaluing versus demoting, '[S]o essentially, if you want a blunt answer, it will not devalue, it will actually demote.' [...]
As you may remember, Penguin 4.0 now devalues links by ignoring them, as opposed to demoting or penalizing the links. But that is not how Panda works."
The algorithm doesn't do this but rather a manual action can lead to not trusting all the links."
It’s unclear exactly how the mobile index will work. For example, since the mobile index is the 'primary' index, will it really not be used for any desktop queries? Will it only contain 'mobile-friendly' content? How out-of-date will the desktop index be? Desktop usage is now a minority of Google queries but still generates substantial usage."
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