Google Penguin Update: FAQ

google penguin update

Google Penguin Update went live on April 24, 2012. Photo by Shellie. View license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Google Penguin Update is a new algorithm change that released on April 24, 2012 to decrease the ranking of those websites which are using Black Hat SEO techniques to rank themselves high. Google officially announced this update as Penguin Update, but interestingly Matt Cutts of Google first called this update “over optimization filter” and then “webspam algorithm”. These previously suggested names describe themselves that how new algorithm (Google Penguin Update) is going to impact your websites. Web publishers should rethink and recreate. Stop keyword stuffing, spamming and overly optimizing title tags. Instead of writing for search bots, start writing for your readers. Search engines respect you if you respect them.

1- Introduction to Google algorithm

The algorithm is acquired by Google and nobody is legally authorized to use the algorithm to produce web based search results. As Google has become the synonym of “Web Search”, competitors are always looking for ways that can help them to defeat Google; but Google is never going to disclose its secrets. The most challenging part for Google and for its competitors too is that the Google algorithm is always changing. While Google is flexing its muscles with new establishments in algorithm developments, internet users are benefitting from more refined search results.

2- How Google Algorithm works

Google PageRank Elements

When you search for an item or word, Google runs a query processor to find those pages which include the query term in their contents. If the word points to matching documents, Google starts showing up those web documents in SERPs. However, most interesting part for a search engine is deciding which ranks first or top ranking pages that offer relevant and useful content. How does Google eliminate unwanted pages?

The code methodology which decides the importance of a particular page is called Google Algorithm or PageRank. The algorithm looks for how many times a keyword has been introduced in the page content as well as its obvious presentation in page title and HTML tags. There are hundreds of other factors to interpret the usefulness of a page, and one major factor is outbound/inbound links and also the importance of those links.

3- What is a Google Algorithm Update?

The update or Google algorithm change is something that happens every day or more than 30 times every month. The fact is enough to make webmasters worried who are very much dependant on the search engine. Well, these are minor changes and part of routine updates at Google’s office. However, you should have an eye on major changes that happened almost 20 times in year 2011 and I am expecting 40 in the year 2012.

Google algorithm is a mechanism which is based on a set of concepts. Black Hat SEOs try to use these concepts to trick the algorithm so that their webpages could rank high though the pages are not qualified and lack quality content. Google needs not only to work on mechanism to disqualify these pages but also to extract more refined and accurate search results every morning.

4- What is Google Penguin Update?

introduction to google penguin

Black and white animals or Black and White Hat SEO tactics?

Black Hat SEOs are on a quest and they will never stop trying to trick search engines so that they can reach high in less time and without much hard work. Google knows where it stands for its users and Google is real serious about that; not going to loosen its position. So Google also keep updating its algorithm not only to figure out spammy websites in a better way but also to overcome issues that never surfaced before.

Whenever a major update comes out, it needs to be recognized by its unique name. This is how webmasters can easily determine where an update is pointing to and its aftereffects. Also they can establish its relationship with a website performance in context of search ranking. Penguin is one such big update that went live on April 24, 2012. Google has also released Penguin Update 1.1 on May 25, 2012.

5- The goal of Penguin update

Google Penguin Update isn’t a penalty; rather it’s a change to prevent spammy sites from ranking high.

Matt Cutts, who is defending spammers for years using his search engine, maintains that Penguin isn’t a penalty; rather it’s a change to prevent spammy sites from ranking high. It’s an effort to degrade those pages that try to gain better rankings through keyword stuffing, link schemes, cloaking or duplicate content.

Someone can raise the question, “So it’s not over optimization filter?” Before looking for an answer, it is important to understand that over optimization could not be defined with unit or quantity. Sometimes an over optimized page could be a result of white hat SEO or there may not be SEO at all. Matt Cutts answers in simple words, “This change is targeted at webspam, not SEO”.

6- Pre-release warning from Google

Before start penalizing sites, Google sent out a message for webmasters and stated a warning. Google wrote on its blog, “In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam.”

Google loves White Hat SEO and it has also stressed on the SEO methodologies multiple times. Google wants that whatever changes it produces should benefit the right people. Google also advised webmasters to give up aggressive webspam tactics and to create meaningful sites to attract mass internet users. This is how Google warned before releasing Penguin Update, “The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines.”

7- The Penguin aftereffects

The findings are showing that the traffic has decreased to sites that are using unnatural inbound links. Point to note that Google is not penalizing sites as the term is being used widely to define Penguin aftereffects. Penalty is something that Google does by hand and not an algorithmic penalty. Google also notify you for its manual actions if you have signed up for Google Webmaster Tools.

Google is targeting webspams and those using paid text links or automatically generated backlinking. Remember that Google is expecting high with its new algorithm change and it will make modifications and updates to Penguin to target more advanced and evolving tactics. Google is determined to hit majority of the spammy sites but its goal is to offer better search results.

8- Google Penguin Panda disorder

google algorithm update.jpg

Google Algorithm Update.

Before boosting your site performance, it is necessary to recognize that which part of your website optimization seeking your attention. Frequency of Google Penguin Panda changes has made it difficult to recognize the weaker part of your website. However, Google Analytics is a great tool to get insights of your site’s performance in response to Google Panda and Google Penguin Algorithm changes. Set the timeframe logically to view traffic numbers through various algorithm changes and also compare by setting 2 or 3 different timeframes.

google analytics

Comparison is easy with Google Analytics.

Determine if you get hit by Google Panda or Google Penguin Algorithm by analyzing traffic fluctuations. The ups and downs of trending graph tell you whether yours is Penguin site, Panda or bit of both or Google friendly site with almost no fluctuation that survived Google Algorithm changes.

9- Google Penguin Algorithm recovery

If your site has gotten hit by Google Penguin Algorithm, you are probably looking for Google Penguin SEO tips that is widely known as Google Penguin Update recovery. A penguin site (hit by Penguin Update) could start fixing with calling quality links. A major step would be using different anchor text for your inbound links. Use keyword phrases that include 3 or 4 words, they help ranking high easily. Do not use too much keywords, keyword synonyms or duplicate keywords.

As we are close to end of this page, the essence of this article pointing towards good quality pages and website with user friendly contents that helps them to share pages on social sites easily. Instead of altering, editing and waiting after every Algorithm update, why not spend time on creating website with White Hat SEO for once and move on to new projects. You will get ranked automatically after a little patience.

10- Future of Penguin Updates

The next few Penguin Updates will be “jarring and jolting” for webmasters and SEOs.

Google is all set to make it hard for spammers to rank their sites. The Google team is happy with the success of its first Penguin release. Internet community is going to face major Penguin updates in coming months. Matt Cutts also warns that the next few updates will be “jarring and jolting” for webmasters and SEOs. Since Penguin is a new term for SEO guys, it’s making news and going to be like this for almost a year. It’s also a challenge for Google to work on freshly released algorithm and keep adjusting the code and making fixes for future updates.

There is also a positivity among people who know that they are not spamming and welcoming Google Penguin Update. Webmasters are advised to keep watching their site’s ranking stats as well as visitor’s traffic as updates keep coming in. This is the best time to understand the nature of new algorithm and how your sites perform in response to coming updates. I am sure you will be benefitted after the Penguin algorithm update reaches a saturation point (stops changing algorithm heavily), hopefully within a year or so.

Google Penguin Panda

External Links » Read more on this topic

Penguin 1.0 Initial Findings
Determine if your site is target of Penguin or Panda
Google Penguin Panda: How to recover