Realtime SEO Penguin

by Jim December 2, 2015

UPDATE: Video transcript available for ‘Realtime SEO Penguin’.

I’m not sure why Google rolls out “massive” changes this time of year but they’re about to do it again. Google Penguin, the part of the algorithm that penalises link spammers, is about to go realtime. Up until now Google has manually applied a Penguin update at various intervals. This will be great for some that have been waiting for this update but probably crush a lot of other businesses at Christmas time.

Here comes the Google Christmas Penguin
Here comes the Google Christmas Penguin

What we think we know

  • The update will be a “huge change” and be realtime

    Google's Gary Illyes on the looming Penguin update
    Google’s Gary Illyes on the looming Penguin update
  • If you have already cleaned up spammy backlinks but rankings have not returned, this maybe the update you’ve been waiting for
  • If you still have spammy backlinks you maybe about to lose rankings
  • Being realtime, you should be able to recover a lot quicker from a ranking drop.

How You Should Prepare

Make sure you get rid of any spammy backlinks and those that you cannot remove or get removed submit a disavow file for.

Can You Recover From A Google Penguin Update?

Thankfully because Penguin is going realtime you should no longer have to wait months for your rankings to return after you have cleaned up your backlink profile. Here are the steps. So yes you can recover from a Penguin update, here’s how.

  1. Remove spammy backlinks if you control them.
  2. Asked for spammy backlinks to be removed if you don’t control them.
  3. Download the CSV file of backlinks from Google Search Console as shown in today’s video.
  4. Delete the backlinks you want to keep from this file
  5. Copy and paste the remaining links into a plain text file (Notepad, Text Edit, Vim etc)
  6. Annotate the links you were unable to remove using a # to denote the annotation (see below)
  7. If you want to remove a whole domain the syntax
  8. Submit the disavow file 

Google’s example of the disavow file.

# removed most links, but missed these
# Contacted owner of on 7/1/2012 to
# ask for link removal but got no response

You can read more about that on Google’s official help page.

UPDATE: According to Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land the update will now be in the new year despite what they have said publicly previously. At least Christmas retail will not be affected.

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