If you are a website owner or digital marketer, you are likely very familiar with Google’s Penguin update. The Penguin update was institute to penalise websites that have taken short cuts to obtain backlinks and is considered “spamming Google’s search results”. Companies soon learned that if they have links from poor quality sites, they could be removed from or significantly decline in rankings. The first Penguin update occurred in April 2012. The last Penguin update, 3.0 happened in October of 2014. Another update was expected in 2015; however, Google announced in December 2015 “With the holidays upon us, it looks like the penguins won’t march until next year”.  Now, sites like SearchEngineWatch  are warning that Google is likely to launch a new Penguin update in the first quarter of 2016.
The best kinds of links to get are through guest blogging and following best practices. Guest blogging is time consuming and often not easy. The other aspect of backlinks that surely isn’t easy is that the offending links are not even on your own website. So what happens if the other site won’t remove the problem links? For this, there is a disavow tool  from Google that allows you to ask Google to not take them into consideration. However, Google explains that you should still make every effort to clean up unnatural links pointing to your site and warns that simply disavowing them isn’t enough. Before trying this, it is very important that you read more information here. Instead of disavowing all links to your site, some of which might be valid and even helpful, you can use tools to look at your backlink profile. Some of the tools listed include: Open Site Explorer, Majestic SEO, or Ahrefs, HubShout, and Link Detox.