During the first week of October 2013, Google once again had many businesses and website owners quaking in their boots, as they launched the latest edition of the Penguin update. This fifth edition update â€“ like the search engine giantâ€™s previous algorithm updates â€“ has left many people worried but Google has made it clear that it means business when it comes to clamping down on Webmaster Guideline breaches. 2027
The purpose of Penguin is to ensure that manipulative links used in websites and pages are devalued in a bid to reduce the use of tactics that are against these guidelines.
Penguin release timeline
The first edition of the algorithm arrived in April 2012 but since then various improvements have been made to make it more efficient and effective. This fifth update, known as Penguin 2.1, is a relatively small update to the larger one that was launched earlier this year, which was Penguin 2.0.
Below you will find details of Penguin update releases since the initial launch of this algorithm.
April 2012: On 24th April 2012, the initial Penguin algorithm was launched, called Penguin 1.0. Following the release of this new web spam hunting algorithm, 3.1 percent of queries were impacted
May 2012: A minor update was released in May 2012 shortly after the initial launch of Penguin. This was called Penguin 2.1 and impacted less than 0.1 percent of queries.
October 2012: In October 2012, another minor update was released, and this one was called Penguin 1.3. The number of queries impacted by this was slightly higher than with the last minor update, standing at about 0.3 percent.
May 2013: May 2013 saw a major update of Penguin being released, and this was called Penguin 2.0. Like the very first edition of Penguin, this had a bigger impact, affecting around 2.3 percent of queries.
October 2013: Google released its fifth edition of the Penguin update in October 2013, with a small update called Penguin 2.1. Around 1 percent of queries were impacted with this release.
As Matt Cutts, the head of the web spam team at Google, stated around 1 percent of searches under the new version of Penguin will be affected to a noticeable level.
What will the new edition of Penguin be looking for?
Some of the tactics that the new edition of Penguin will be targeting include:
Backlinks that are of a low quality, such as those that have been generated using automated tools
Pages that have a high number of links containing optimized anchor text
Link exchanges considered to be excessive
Text ads that pass PageRank
The new updates, like other versions before it, will be aiming to penalise the sites that are in breach of the Webmaster Guidelines. Many companies and individuals in the past have got away with creating websites that are designed specifically to rank highly on search engines thus increasing exposure rather than being designed as informative sites that are consumer focused. Increased exposure has often been achieved through the use of methods such as black hat SEO, keyword stuffing, and other methods that compromise the quality of the website simply to try and improve its ranking.
In short, the Penguin 2.0 update earlier this year focused on factors such as the use of black hat SEO, link spamming, non authority sites, and paid sponsored posts on blogs. It is thought that the latest update will target similar factors but on a deeper level in order to achieve Googleâ€™s aim to encourage the creation of authority websites that are well designed, contain high quality content, provide value to the customer, and follow its Webmaster Guidelines.
Recovering from the latest Penguin update
If you feel that your site has been affected by the latest Penguin update, there are a number of steps you should take. This includes:
Work out which backlinks are responsible: Unless you have advanced skills, you may find that it is easier to get a professional link profile audit carried out in order to work out which backlinks could be responsible for your site being penalised.
Get those links removed: Once your audit has been done and the offending links identified, you need to get as many of them as possible removed. You may need to contact each individual site owner in order to get them to remove the links, so it can be a time consuming process. Once you have done this, you can use the Google disavow tool in order to disavow any remaining links.
File a request for reconsideration if applicable: In the event that you have a manual penalty showing up in your Google webmaster tools account, you may need to file a request for reconsideration at this stage. If you donâ€™t have a manual penalty you wonâ€™t need to do this.
Need Help Removing A Penalty? See Our Google Penalty Recovery Services