Google released the layout update. This update was the first to use a rendered page to assess layout issues, and it resulted in algorithmic penalties. What Shadow Making do algorithm updates cover? Most algorithm updates fix issues that fall into the following categories (note that mobile and desktop are grouped here): Link issues Technical problems Content quality User experience But how do you know what rules our site violated when Google won't even Shadow Making confirm something happened? What are the categories for if I don't know what the rules are for these categories? Let's see how we can rate these domains without Google telling us much about the changes that have occurred. Link issues: It's all about Penguin One of the most scrutinized areas of organic SEO is, of course, links – and Penguin is the algorithm that evaluates those links. Arguably, Penguin was one of the harshest and most brutal algorithm updates Google has ever released.
With Penguin, if a site had a very spammy link profile, Google Shadow Making wouldn't just downgrade their links - they'd downgrade their site . So it often happened that a webmaster whose site had a spammy backlink profile would find their entire site dropped from the index (or so dropped in the rankings that it might as well have been). Many site owners had no idea until they achieved over 70% drop in traffic in one day. The site owner would then have to make fixes, remove Shadow Making links, disavow, and wait. And wait. And wait for Penguin to be updated again. When it was last refreshed, there had been a two-year gap between algorithm updates. Without the update, your site could not fully (or sometimes even partially) recover its ranking losses. September 2016: Penguin in real time In September 2016, everything changed: Google integrated Penguin into its core algorithm.
Penguin data now refreshes in real time and no longer impacts the ranking of an entire website by default. So, with this update, Penguin was no longer a site killer. When Shadow Making Penguin runs now, it will only downgrade the links, not the site - meaning rankings can be adjusted at query, page or section level. It would be rare to walk in and check your site in the morning to find that it has completely fallen off an analytical cliff. It could happen, but if your site's links are that spammy, you're much more likely to get a manual penalty. When real time is Shadow Making not real time Now, real-time Penguin doesn't literally mean real-time. Google should always re-crawl your site after linking issues have been resolved, which can take weeks depending on how often Google crawls your site. Still, this real-time update makes it much easier to fix your link profile if you determine that links are your problem (spam links are usually very obvious).