The Penguin update is one of Google’s most well-known
updates and one of the company’s most important algorithm updates. The update
was launched on April 24th 2012 with the aim of giving a ranking advantage to quality
websites, and lowering the rankings of spam generating websites that employ
invalid SEO methods.
This update comes in addition to the Panda update which was
released on February 2011, and the Page Layout algorithm update which was
released on January 2012, and it aims to tackle spam that the previous updates have
failed to deal with.
The Penguin update deals with the same spam issues which
Google have notified of over the years, but shows an improvement in Google’s
ability to identify such websites.
The update addresses a number of different issues:
- An unnatural website link
profile – links from spam websites, a large amount of links with exact anchor
text, paid URLs, and a large amount of inbound site-wide links.
- Website keyword stuffing –
pages that are loaded with keywords for the sole purpose of promoting the website
and have no actual user value.
The Penguin update goes through periodical ‘data refreshes’
every few months. If you were impacted by one of the Penguin updates and made changes
to your website in order to fix the problem, you’ll have to wait until the next
data refresh in order to see if your efforts have been fruitful.
Dealing with the update:
- Removing site-wide footer
links that are referring to the website. While 10 years ago such links were an
easy and simple way to raise your website’s rankings – ever since the release
of Penguin these links now simply harm the website when there are too many of
- Creating diversity in the
website’s link profile. If the website has too much exact anchor text, we’ll have
a problem. In cases where the website wasn’t impacted by the update, we’ll
simply need to act to make sure any future links we’re obtaining are more
diverse. In cases where the website was already penalized, we should also
consider editing some of our historic links in order to create diversity. This
method is less recommended since it’s considered less natural.
- Checking our website’s link
profile in order to find backlinks originating from spammy or poor quality
websites, if we find any such links we’ll need to remove them or use Google’s Disavow
- Paid links or links
appearing to be paid. The update also comes to penalize websites that have paid
for links. In case we did purchase any such links, we’ll need to decide what to
do – whether removing the bad links (the desired state for Google), or changing
our purchase strategy so that our legitimately obtained links wouldn’t appear
as paid links.
- Searching our website for pages
with high keyword density and editing them. Unlike previous updates – Penguin impacts
the entire website if the website contains enough problematic pages, rather
than impacting the problematic pages alone.
- More helpful advice can be
found in this