Google’s Penguin Update Explained and Recovery Strategies

High rankings on Google’s search results pages should be a top goal in your SEO strategy. For a good reason, Google is the number one search engine in the world. Their web admins do a stellar job of providing a fantastic user experience.

They ensure that they’re ranking quality sites at the top of their SERPs by creating algorithm updates like Penguin, the one we’ll explore in this article. Penguin is an update that filters out sites that, according to its links, Google’s web crawlers deem manipulative. We’ll give you a rundown of Penguin’s triggers, how it assesses areas, and how you can build your site to avoid being downranked.

Initial Launch Date: April 24, 2012

How often is Penguin Updated? Though Penguin launched in 2012, it’s been part of Google’s core algorithm since 2016. In other words, the Penguin algorithm isn’t “updated” anymore, like different algorithms, but it works in real-time. Panda was Google’s first concerted effort to tackle low-quality sites. After Panda rolled out, Google’s team noticed there was still quite a bit of spam showing up in their SERPs. So Penguin was designed to care for the leftover spammy sites that Panda missed.

What Google Penguin Impacted

Google’s Webmaster Guidelines explain what your site needs to include for Google to find, index, and rank it. They also outline what you need to avoid, so you’re not punished or downranked according to the updates, like Penguin. However, if Google deems your site spammy or manipulative, you’ll feel it in your rankings on their SERPs.

When designing your site, avoid at all costs the following:

Link Schemes

The main goal of Penguin is to locate and punish sites using spammy or irrelevant links. Google knows when sites are carrying out link schemes to boost their rankings. So when a place is buying links or procuring them through networks designed to boost Google rankings, Penguin will sniff it out.

Over-optimized anchor text

Your anchor text should bring users to a relevant link to your page. On the other hand, too much anchor text on your page is a red flag for the algorithm, as is the manipulation of anchor text at the expense of the user experience.

How Penguin Algorithm Works

If you’ve got spammy or annoying links, an unnatural amount of anchor text, or deceptive text, Google’s users will be annoyed. And the team at Google will do anything to prevent that from happening, hence the creation of Penguin.

Having links on your site is expected (and good for your SEO). But if you’ve got over-optimized anchor text or an unnatural amount of links, that’s a problem, according to Penguin. More and more, Google can identify good content versus links posted to achieve a higher ranking. So if you’re manipulating the system to boost rankings, you’ll feel it when Penguin hits you with a penalty, and your rankings drop.

How to Fix Your Website If Google Penguin Impacted it

Because the goal of Penguin, like all other updates to Google’s algorithm, is to showcase high-quality sites, work to improve your affected pages or your site by doing the following:

Conduct a backlink analysis

It is crucial for your website rankings that you audit your links. You can have quality, useful websites linking to you, and they can have fantastic orders themselves. But if you’ve got links from questionable sites, all of those good links might be for naught. Use software or a backlink checker to do an analysis yourself or, better yet, hire someone to do it for you.

Disavow links

If you’ve been penalized on account of links that you can’t control, make good use of Google’s Disavow Links Tool. The easy-to-use tool allows you to ask Google to disregard these links when assessing your site.

Remove troublesome site-wide links.

You also need to evaluate your site. For example, are there any spammy or unhelpful links to your users? Or do you have too much anchor text?

Build new links

Out with the old, wrong links, and in with the new. Now that you’ve gotten rid of the links, Penguin targets (and hates) work to build better, more relevant, and helpful links. Link to legitimate, authoritative sites. And to get links to you, create great content that other brands want to share with their users.

Create an Excellent Experience

The best bit of advice we can give site builders and web designers is to do the work to give users a fantastic experience. Build links, create quality content, and avoid taking shortcuts that you think will increase your rankings. Google’s web admins know what they’re doing, and the Penguin update enables Google’s algorithm to find every spammy and irrelevant link. As a result, your SEO strategies can no longer include repetition or cramming hundreds of links onto your site to increase your rankings. Instead, make the needed changes and enjoy better ranks on the same day because Penguin works in real-time.

Additional Google Update Resources