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Freezing Penguin
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What does the Penguin update mean for SEO?

The penguin update was a major change when it comes to Google's detection of spammy link practices. Things like buying a link used to be very effective when it came to improving your rank on Google and other search engines; since the penguin update, however, this practice comes with a significant risk.

While some forms of linking had already been of limited use, such as reciprical links and links Manual Action in Google Search Console coming from a page with many links and little real content, since penguin many more links are detected as spammy and are devalued - or even get your site marked for "manual action" which can be VERY hard to recover from!

How can I be sure my website is safe from this penalty?

The best way is to think of your links from a visitor's perspective.

So how can I get good backlinks? Do they still matter?

Backlinks are still the most important factor for a good ranking in most search engines. They are the single most representative signal of the quality of your website, as a good backlink means a real person felt your site had significant value to their visitors.

Since Penguin, the only links that you can work to get and still know are safe are those you earn. This can be through compelling content on your website, guest blogging, giving a truely exceptional product/experience, or being newsworthy. It's a lot harder than it used to be, but the results are worth the effort!