When Google’s latest algorithm update, Penguin, hit the Internet on April 24, webmasters around the globe found themselves wondering how the update affected their site’s rankings.
The update targeted sites that were violating Google’s quality guidelines by engaging in web spamming practices such as: keyword stuffing, link schemes, cloaking, “sneaky” redirects or “doorway” passages and purposeful duplicate content.
But, as we all know, nothing ever goes according to plan. So what kind of results did we get with Penguin? Did it succeed in the task it was designed for? Was your site negatively affected? If so, what can you do to recover?
Penguin’s Noble Goal
Google is in the business of providing information to web users. Therefore, it’s in their best interest to promote websites that provide high-quality content and not spam. Penguin was Google’s latest attempt to block webspam.
The algorithm change penalizes sites that had been spamming Google by violating their quality guidelines. Google makes these algorithm changes periodically to level the playing field and to base the rankings on site quality. By periodically updating and refining the algorithms that rank sites.
How Can I Tell If I’ve Been Hit By Penguin?
The easiest way to determine if the Penguin update has affected your site is to review your search-engine organic traffic on Google Analytics. Did it drop after the Penguin launch date on April 24 or did your site gain traffic after that date? Either way, whether you saw a drop or a rise in rankings Penguin was probably the cause. If you noticed no change, then the update didn’t affect you, which means you’re doing a good job keeping your site clean and full of quality content with ethical link building. Good Work!
If you did notice a drop in rankings, there’s a good chance you had keyword stuffed pages or more likely, spammy links. Prior to Penguin, these actually pushed your rankings; this is no longer the case. If you relied heavily on these links to push your rankings, then you probably noticed a drop.
In essence, your rankings are now where they should have been all along had you been following Google’s quality guidelines to the letter.
Recovering from Penguin
The algorithm targets spammy methods such as those previously mentioned, so if you want to recover from Penguin you need to rid your site of the spam that flagged it. If you don’t know why your site was targeted, another thing to do is check your messages from Google at Google Webmaster Central Tools. If you have a message from Google such as the unnatural links message for example, You might try removing links that directing to your site from low quality sites.
If you don’t have any messages and you are certain Penguin affected your site, remove everything you can think of that could be construed as spam from your site.
- Keyword stuffed pages
- Intentional duplicate content
- Linking schemes that are specifically intended to up rankings
- Cloaking and sneaky redirects
If you have checked all of the above and still think Penguin wrongly targeted your site, try to notify Google by submitting your story in your feedback form. According to the interview with Matt Cutts on June 5th, even if you didn’t manage to remove all bad links pointing to your site, if you show them a serious removal effort, they will take this into account.
Remember, this was an algorithm change as opposed to a “manual action” or “penalty.” Sites are not being flagged manually, which means filing a reconsideration request with Google won’t help your situation. The feedback form is your best bet if you’re certain you’ve been incorrectly targeted. Some sites such as WPMU, have reported a bounce back after the latest reported Penguin refresh. This occurred after submitting their case in the feedback form as well as removing a large quantity of their low quality links from various sites using their WordPress templates, and keeping the link to them located in the footer.
The Road Ahead
Overall, Google seems happy with the results of Penguin. The algorithm is doing what it was designed for in Google’s opinion – prioritizing sites doing “White SEO,” or following Google’s quality guidelines, versus those engaging in “Black/Grey SEO” or webspam.
If you have been hit by Penguin, don’t panic. Google frequently tweaks their Penguin algorithm thanks to data received via webmasters like you, as a part of their regular algorithm updates. This is important because it means you have time to change your site, get rid of the spam and place yourself in a better position for the next time Penguin is refreshed.
According to Google, once the spam violations have been corrected, the site should recover in rankings naturally. It may take time for you to recover since you’ve lost so many links that used to count in your rankings, but if you play by the rules, and start adding quality links and quality content, you can get there.
Revolution Web can help turn your site around and recover from Penguin casualties. We offer quality content writing and web marketing services that are designed to increase your rankings naturally so algorithm changes like Penguin don’t hit you in the future. Contact us at
866-203-2002 to learn more about our services.