Google penguin initially launched on April 24, 2012. It is also named as ‘Webspam Algorithm Update’. It was created to reduce the number of sites that are using the black hat SEO technique, manipulate the results with the help of link schemes. Between 2012 and 2016, the filter went through 10 documented updates, evolving over time. As of early 2017, penguin is now part of Google’s core algorithm.
Penguin attempted to ensure that natural, authoritative, and relevant links rewarded the websites they linked to, while manipulative and spammy links were degraded, by better understanding and processing the types of links domains and webmasters were gaining.
Penguin is only concerned in the incoming links to a website. Google only looks at links that point to the site in question and ignores any links that point away from it.
Google penguin mainly targets the link schemes and keyword stuffing in a website.
• Link schemes:- Any links used to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results might be deemed a link scheme and a violation of the Google Webmaster Guidelines. Any conduct that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site falls under this category.
The following are some instances of link schemes that can have a negative impact on a site’s search engine ranking:
• Purchasing or selling PageRank-passing links. This includes the following:
1. Money exchanged for links, or postings with links
2. In exchange for links, goods or services are exchanged.
3. Sending a “free” goods to someone in exchange for them writing it and adding a link
• Excessive link exchanges or partner pages only for the sake of cross-linking are not recommended.
• Keyword-rich anchor text links in large-scale article marketing or guest blogging initiatives.
• Creating links to your site with the use of automated tools or services.
• Requiring a link as part of a Terms of Service, contract, or other similar agreement without giving a third-party content owner the option to qualify the outbound link if they so desire.
• Keyword stuffing:- Using a large number of keywords or keyword repeats to try to influence rank by giving the appearance of importance to specific search phrases.
If any of the above are discovered on your website, you will face a Google penalty. A Google Penalty means that not only will your ranking in SERPs drop, but so will traffic to your site. However, Google has diluted Penguin’s impact in recent years. The Penguin Update has become more granular and real-time.
The Penguin 4.0 update was actually very beneficial to website designers. It resulted in the Penguin Update becoming more selective in terms of penalties. This means that instead of penalising the entire site, the algorithm can now target specific sections of the site. This could be a single page or a subdirectory, for example.
The Penguin Update is now also updated in real time. This means that a website can be flagged at any time for link schemes. As a result, it is critical to keep track of your backlinks. You don’t want a penalty to catch you off guard. To avoid this, disavow links on a regular basis.
The update, on the other hand, is a good thing. It means you no longer have to wait for a refresh. If you make an effort to correct the situation, Google will notice quickly, and you should be able to regain your ranking.
Penguin’s first edition was released in 2012, but Google didn’t stop there. Since then, there have been numerous upgrades. Here are the most important ones to be aware of:
Penguin 1.0 is a version of Google’s search engine (April 2012)
The first launch focused mostly on links to the home page rather than internal sites. It only affected just 3.1 percent of inquiries, but it shocked the SEO industry and permanently transformed how businesses implement link-building methods.
Google Penguin 2.0 is a new version of the Google Penguin algorithm (May 2013)
If you count the initial launch, this was the fourth update. For the first time, the algorithm checked for link spam outside of the home page and top-level category sites. As a result, around 2.3 percent of English inquiries were affected.
3.0 version of Google Penguin (October 2014)
Penguin 3.0 was a data refresh rather than a big algorithm improvement. It allowed individuals who had cleaned up their backlink profiles to recover, while penalising those who had continued to utilise spammy link techniques but had been missed in previous editions. Less than 1% of English search queries were affected.
Penguin 4.0 is the latest version of the Google search engine (September 2016)
The most recent Penguin algorithm upgrade. Penguin is now a component of Google’s core algorithm, which constantly evaluates websites and links.
When an algorithm is elevated to the core, it does not imply that its functionality has changed or will change drastically in the future. It means that Google’s perspective of the algorithm, not the algorithm itself, has changed.
Penguin now examines websites and links in real time while operating alongside the core. As a result, you can witness (relatively) immediate results from your link-building or repair efforts.
The new Penguin was also not stingy with link-based penalties, instead devaluing the links themselves. This is in contrast to prior Penguin incarnations, which penalised the negative.
However, according to studies and personal experience, algorithmic penalties for backlinks still exist.
After the Penguin algorithm was released, webmasters and brands who had utilised deceptive link building tactics or stuffed their backlink profiles with a large number of low-quality connections saw a drop in organic traffic and ranks.
Some Penguin downgrades were partial, affecting only specific keyword groups that had been excessively spammed and over optimised, such as major items and, in some cases, brand.
How to Recover from Penguin
Unlike a manual link penalty, which requires you to file a reconsideration request with Google once you’ve cleaned house, a Penguin penalty does not require you to do so. Rather, taking action to resolve issues will often result in ‘forgiveness’ the next time Googlebot crawls your site. These recovery steps are as follows:
• The removal of any unnatural links that you have control over, including links that you’ve constructed or caused to be put on third-party websites.
• The rejection of spammed links that you have no influence over.
• The modification of your website’s content to correct over-optimization, ensuring that keywords are utilised naturally rather than robotically, repetitively, or in a nonsensical manner on pages where there is no relationship between the topic and the keywords employed.
Even after going to considerable pains to clean up their link profiles, webmasters may not notice an increase in traffic or rankings.
This could be due to a variety of factors, including:
• The initial traffic and ranking bump witnessed prior to the algorithmic penalty was unwarranted (and most likely temporary) and was caused by poor backlinks.
• When links are removed, no effort is taken to replace them with more valuable backlinks.
• Not all negative backlinks have been disavowed, nor has a sufficient percentage of negative backlinks been removed.
• The problem wasn’t caused by a link in the first place.
When you recover from Penguin, don’t expect your ranks to return to where they were prior to Penguin, and don’t expect it to happen quickly. Many website owners believe that once Penguin is dropped, they will immediately resume ranking at the top for their top search queries.
In summary, Penguin was intended to address a serious flaw in Google’s system that allowed enormous quantities of low-quality connections and keyword over-optimization of pages to ‘fool’ their algorithm. To avoid being penalised by Google for spamming, all of your material should be written in natural language, and your link-building and earning activities must be judged “safe.”