This week Google gave some status updates on Panda and Penguin, two of its major spam-fighting algorithms, as well as some confusing advice about link building that we’re going to try and clear up for you.
More details about each of these top stories in this week’s SEO news roundup.
Latest SEO News – Week Ending 7/10/2015
Panda and Penguin: When Are The Next Updates
Depending on the overall SEO health of your website, you may either dread or welcome the thought of an update to Panda or Penguin.
To refresh everyone’s memory, Panda is the algorithm that targets thin/poorly written on-page content, and Penguin is the algorithm that targets spammy inbound links.
Google updates each of these algorithms throughout the year as the company learns more about how to fight web spam. Invariably, after each update there’s an outcry from one camp whose rankings went down, and celebration from another camp whose rankings went up.
Panda Update is Coming “Soon”
Google’s Gary Illyes recently mentioned that a Panda update will be coming “soon”. The last official Panda update was in September 2014. given the length of time that has passed since the last update, it wouldn’t be unusual for another one to roll out in the coming months.
So if you’re working to clean up your on-site content before the next Panda update, the clock is ticking. If link building is more of a concern to you right now, you have a bit of breathing room before the next Penguin update.
Penguin Update is “Months Away”
Google’s link spam algorithm is months away from another update, according to Gary Illyes once again. Penguin is known for its long update cycles — the last update was in October 2014, and the update before that was an entire year prior.
It’s possible the next Penguin update won’t be until this fall. If that’s the case, then you have plenty of time to work on getting those spammy links removed (if you have any to begin with).
Linkbuilding: Ask for Links, or Nah?
Website owners can’t ask for links to their own site — that technically incorrect statement came from Google this past week, after which it was rightfully debated by a number of webmasters.
The exact statement was, “do not buy, sell, exchange or ask for links.”
Google back-pedalled on this statement, later adjusting it to “not buy, sell or ask for links that may violate our linking webmaster guidelines.”
So, can you ask for links or not? Of course you can, sometimes it’s even necessary.
Let’s say for a example you come across a piece of content that quotes one of your articles and there’s no link to the original source. Or a picture you took is being used on another blog without any credit.
In these cases it would be perfectly acceptable to reach out and kindly ask for a link back to your site. That’s not a violation of Google’s guidelines.
A violation of Google’s guidelines would be to ask for a link for no apparent reason. Say you have a friend with a popular website and you said to them “Hey, would you mind slipping in a link to my site in your next article?”
Outright asking for links, like in the example above, is a violation of Google’s guidelines.
Now you may be asking “how would Google ever find out about that?” — well I’m not sure, that’s the risk you take. Google likes all link building to be done naturally, and has its ways of detecting unnatural linking patterns.
Hear Pam’s Thoughts!
Pam we recently a guest on “This Week in Organic”, a new, weekly London based web show discussing organic search. The latest episode discusses the controversial idea of asking for links. Hear what Pam has to say about it on the show.
Wrapping it Up
Panda is likely coming soon, Penguin is a few months away, and asking for links is cool as long as you respect the rules of the big G.
If you have any questions or concerns about any of this week’s update, please leave a comment below and I will be sure to respond.