What Penguin Is
Google’s Penguin update was originally intended to cut down on low quality ‘spam’ websites appearing in search results. This was the first update that specifically targeted the quality of links coming to your site or going out from it. Before we get too far into it, here’s a quick recap of the Penguin updates so far:
- Penguin 1 on April 24, 2012
- Penguin 2 on May 26, 2012
- Penguin 3 on October 5, 2012
- Penguin 4 (AKA Penguin 2.0) on May 22, 2013
Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid
Penguin 2.0 is a deeper technology of the original Penguin update, which was targeted at people who have been using manipulative link building tactics to game search engines. I’m not just talking about submitting your site to a general web directory, though many low quality web directories were deindexed around the time Penguin rolled out; I’m talking about spam. Link networks, blog networks, dynamically generated low quality content, etc. Another thing that made this update unique is that it takes into consideration where your site is linking to, not just where the links are coming from. The update wasn’t perfect in the beginning, and that’s why it’s evolved over the last year or so.
The biggest reason you shouldn’t be worried – Google Webmaster Tools. Check your account and make sure you don’t have any messages. If you don’t have any messages from Google waiting for you titled “Unnatural Links Warning,” then you should be just fine for now. This means that no link penalty/manual action has been taken against your site. If you’ve got a message, then you should start cleaning up your link profile as best you can, then get ready to disavow the links you can’t get removed and send in a reconsideration request. There’s no reason to sit around and play the blame game, just move straight ahead to recovery.
Why Penguins and Other Cute-Sounding Animal Updates Should Scare You
Like I said earlier, these updates aren’t perfect the moment they roll out. There will always be a few unfortunate cases where good sites with solid practices get the short end of the stick. Sometimes you may never recover from an update like this. That’s why it’s very important to make sure your traffic is coming from a number of sources.
Also, just because your site hasn’t been dinged by the algo yet doesn’t mean it’s not coming. If you’ve been up to some manipulative link practices, just know that as the algorithm gets smarter, the more likely it is that your site gets hit, or manual action is taken against you.
What’s Next in SEO?
I’ll let Matt Cutts take it away with this one: