Google Penguin 2.1: A Must Read Guide For Every SEO

SEO world seems to be on the roller-coaster ride with Google launching algorithms update one after another. Post Google’s release of the Hummingbird, it came out with the 5th Penguin update on 11th October, 2013 when Google’s Head of Search Spam Matt Cutts announced its release on Twitter. Also, he said that the update impacted 1% of search queries. Penguin update investigates potential spam activities within the websites. Many SEO professionals reported that they got affected by the update.

Penguin 2.1 update has been released as an update to the initial Penguin 2.0 Google update that was launched in May 2013. It seeks to penalize everything spammy which was missed by Penguin 2.0. Thus, the fundamentals of the Google Penguin update have not been changed.

The difference between Penguin 2.1 and other Google updates is that Penguin 2.1 looks at the website from backlinks point of view, but not the on-site content. On-site spammy SEO content has already been penalized by Google Panda algorithm, which Google runs till date.

Penguin 2.1 – The History

Penguin-2.1 The History

Google Penguin is the name given to the Google Webspam Algorithm. The whole purpose behind updating this algorithm is to decrease search engine rankings of websites that do not follow Google’ s Webmaster Guidelines and use Black Hat SEO techniques and Web spamming.

Google’s Penguin update aims to reduce the spammy search results on search engine. There are few important factors that Penguin takes in account which are as follows:

Anchor text matching in poor articles. Bad Links coming from auto approve, non-moderated blogs On-site real activity missing by visitors as compared to inbound links. Till now Google has released five Penguin updates and each have affected the percentage of queries to an extent.

The details are as follows

  • Penguin 1: April 24, 2012 – 3.1% queries were affected
  • Penguin 2: May 26, 2012 – less than 0.1% queries were affected
  • Penguin 3: Oct 5, 2012 – 0.3 % queries were affected (English Language)
  • Penguin 4/Penguin 2.0: May 22, 2013 – 2.3 % of queries were affected
  • Penguin 5/Penguin 2.1: Oct 4, 2013 – 1% of queries gets affected

How does Penguin 2.1 work?

How Penguin-2.1 works

Even after Google’s algorithms update, it was still producing spammy websites and WebPages on search results. However, with Penguin 2.1 update, Google aims to push down spammy sites. Google focuses more on the websites’ specific areas particularly purchased or paid links.

The new Penguin has impacted the following link spams

  • Low quality and non-relevant links
  • Spammy links
  • Paid links – not mentioned as nofollow
  • Guest blog site-wide links.
  • Spammy or black hat SEO techniques
  • Article syndication links
  • Forum or blog posting abuse (low quality blog posts on 3rd party sites, like Blogger, for the sole sake of acquiring backlinks)
  • Exact match keywords within external links
  • Backlinks from one website.
  • Widget links

The Next Step

Webmasters must examine their traffic post Penguin update. They must also:

  • Do a Backlink Monitoring
  • Ensure website is free from bad backlinks.
  • On seeing a bad backlink on your website, ask webmasters to remove link from their site or disavow those links by sending request to Google.

How to Judge if the Website is Affected?

SEO professionals try to achieve rankings on search engine using keywords. Keyword rankings must be checked to know if the website is affected by Google Penguin update or not. If the ranking is dropped, your site is affected by the update and if your keyword rankings are rising, the site is rewarded by it. Google analytic data should also be checked. The SERP rankings and traffic data must be closely examined till 2 weeks of Penguin update.

Look if the following issues exist: No Ranking of Your Site: If the website does not rank for most of the keywords, while some interior pages might be ranking, then the website has been penalized. Traffic Loss: If there is significant drop in website traffic around Google’s algorithm update, then the website has been penalized. Warning Message: If a warning message from Google webmaster account is received, then there is a penalty in place. Content strategy: Content should not be stuffed with keywords and should be informative and valuable to its readers.

The Solution

If you find your site affected by Penguin update, here are the top five recommendations for recovering:

  • Penguin targets unnatural links. Efforts should be made to remove them.
  • Analyze your link profile thoroughly. Also, ensure exact match and rich anchor text.
  • Ensure unnatural links aren’t being added anymore.
  • There is always a possibility of recovery prior to the next official Penguin update.
  • Collect backlink data using Google Webmaster Tools.
  • Check the data to weed out the spammy links.
  • Detoxify backlink profile and ensure it looks natural.
  • Use Google’s disavow tool to remove spammy links.
  • Build new links and use White-Hat link building practices.
  • Create compelling content and ensure it makes sense to the readers.

Solution
Penguin 2.1 is nothing but an extension of previous Penguin updates. Efforts should be made to follow the correct strategies to save your website from getting affected by such updates. In case your website is affected, you can even consult a professional SEO company to help you combat Penguin 2.1 aftereffects. If you take right actions on right time, you will observe improvement in traffic and search rankings which mean you have been successful in winning over penguin 2.1.

Rihana Watson

Rihana Watson is an online marketing expert, who has been associated with BetterGraph for many years. She has keen interest in writing and sharing knowledge regarding the best practices for search engine marketing, ASO (App Store Optimization), mobile SEO and many more verticals. Her digital marketing based articles have become a source of inspiration for many digital marketing professionals all around the world.