Editorial note: we’ve made an error in this post. According to recent information we’ve received current disavow files will not be processed before the Penguin 3.0 update. Please refer to the correction made here. All other information contained within this post is accurate.

We’ve been hearing a ton of Penguin 3.0 chatter over the last few weeks, and the last few days in particular.  Pretty much every major search blog has made some sort of prediction about Penguin 3.0 rolling out.

But rather than trying to guess when it is going to happen, I’d like to offer up some last minute tips for webmasters worrying about the Penguin 3.0 refresh.

In July of this year I wrote about preemptively disavowing and avoiding a Google penalty which was right on track with this post. Ideally, most webmasters should have been removing / no-following and disavowing all along but I can definitely relate to waiting till the last minute.

penguin SEO bronx tale

Penguin 3.0: Let’s get honest

Ok lets get honest here, all webmasters are pretty much in 1 of 2…maybe three categories in terms of Penguin.

  1. The first category is a completely blackhat SEO that does a ton of spammy linkbuilding and all that jazz
  2. The second category is whitehat SEO, and never builds blackhat back links.
  3. The third category is somewhere in between. It is a very cautious webmaster, but might have made some mistakes in the past.

So today I’d like to talk about that 3rd category of webmaster. The type of webmaster that might have made a few mistakes in the past. They’ve dropped a few backlinks to their site, and maybe even paid for a few links.

If you’ve been spamming yourself into a coma for the past year and are worried you might get hit by Penguin 3.0 a few days before the refresh, the only thing you can do is hold on and brace yourself.

If you’ve made a few mistakes or maybe have some old / stale links that might not be considered white hat backlinks then listen up, you might have a chance.

Be honest with yourself about your situation. If you think you have some links that “might get by” or “don’t look like they are paid for” you are fooling yourself. Time after time we’ve seen webmasters who thought they had squeeky clean link profiles

Penguin 3.0 is an algorithmic update

Remember that Penguin is an algorithmic update. It is not controlled or applied by humans. This means that your your fate has not necessarily been determined until the roll-out actually happens.

Chances are this update is going to be even more stringent than the other Penguin updates.

If you are an SEO company and have a new client you are working on, keep in mind that it is possible that you could inherit a penalty from another SEO company. Be mindful.

Prepping for Penguin 3.0

Lets get serious here. Since we are hearing that they update is upon us, there is no time like the present to make some preemptive moves.

Start by doing a full link audit. Export all of your links to Excel via Google Webmaster Tools. There should be 2 categories:

  • squeeky clean / pure white hat
  • other

Take the “other” list and start grinding. Remove as many links as you can by emailing webmasters or doing it yourself if these links are on a private blog network or site you control.

If it is a link you want to keep, no-follow it. Any other links that can’t be removed, run them through a disavow.

But it might be too late

Like I said before, if you’ve been spamming all year even it might be too late. Even if you do manage to remove all of the bad links a few days before a major spam algorithm refresh, the link echo might be too strong. Granted, that is just a theory but one that I personally believe in.

If you have a brand that you care about, that you want to be around for a long time, treat your link portfolio like your credit score. It is something that will stay with your website for the rest of your life, takes only a few seconds to tarnish, and in some cases years to repair.

Also, if you liked this post you might be interested in checking out “Flavors and types of Google Penalties Explained.