Google’s Penguin updates started in February of 2012 and have been deemed the “over-optimization” updates because the expressed goal of Penguin was to stop websites from “over optimizing” in the form of poor quality links from poor quality (and unrelated) websites. The way Penguin basically works is two-fold. First, it looks at a website and even pages on a website to determine if they are being over optimized or are spam – does the site or page have repetitive keywords (keyword stuffing) in the content? Secondly, Penguin checks to see if there are too many inbound (and outbound) links with the same or similar anchor text, which is another spam flag. If penguin determines a page, or worse an entire site, to be an over-optimized spam page, the power of that page is significantly diminished as a “penguin penalty” is placed on it. Penguin has always been a manual update, meaning it is not a part of Google’s indexing algorithm process. That is why Penguin updates have been rolled out periodically and the impact is felt by offending websites immediately after an update.
Google announced a “significant penguin update” in March of 2013. More specifically, that update was set to occur on Friday March 15th or Monday March 18th. It seems that this major update did take place, however Google has not confirmed or denied it yet, other than their original announcement that the update would indeed take place. This Panda 25 update integrated the Penguin algorithm into Google’s normal indexing and algorithm process. So, this means Penguin is effectively functioning all the time now, and will no longer need manual updates to integrate Penguin data into Google’s results.
So, while the SEO community was bracing for a major Google update that would collapse clients’ search rankings and change SEO as we know it, all data points to there being no major change to the algorithm, only that Penguin will no longer require manual updates. There is some debate in the SEO community whether this is a positive or negative change, and we believe it is an overall positive for SEO. That is to say, white-hat SEO! The reason we feel this way is if a website does something that negatively impacts their SEO or keyword rankings, it will show immediately in their results, rather than waiting months to get evidence of a penalty. That way, Penguin penalties can be more easily avoided and fixed once they are found.
Submit Digital is fortunate that none of our existing clients have been impacted by any of the recent Penguin updates, which is a testament to the quality of our white hat SEO services. If you believe you may have a penguin penalty on your website, contact us today to discuss how we can help get your website back on the right track.