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The Google Penguin Update

One of Google’s most talked about algorithmic changes since the Panda update in February 2011 rolled out on the 24th April. Many lost rankings and in the process, most of their web traffic because it impacted so many websites which is why it has been talked about so much.

Needless to say, this can be catastrophic, to say the least, for most businesses that rely heavily on traffic referrals from Google. But why were so many websites affected by the “Penguin update” and what is it exactly?

It is Google’s job as the leading search engine to make sure that the results that it produces are relevant and of a high quality when we use Google in some way or another to find information. Maintaining faith in Google and continuing to use the service are the users in that way. The latest update was said to be for webmasters that were over optimising their websites, building spammy back links and generally abusing the Google guidelines in order to rank better within the organic search results. Penguin was implemented to make sure that sites that over the years which had been gaming the system somewhat, would be penalised by the algorithmic filter and demoted in the search results, which was the primary reason for its implementation. The 3.1% of search queries which was said to be affected by the update, considering that Google receives hundreds of millions of search queries every day, it means that it equates to millions of websites being penalised.

A manual penalty, where a human has followed say a spam report and taken action is not what the Penguin update is which is worth noting. An algorithmic update which filters out sites based on certain criteria which assesses whether or not a site has been over optimised or been building spammy back links is what the Penguin update is.

Just after the 24th April, if you lost pretty much all of your websites traffic from Google then it is pretty likely that you were hit by it. One thing that is noticeable is that, appearing to retain their page rank and continuing to be crawled and indexed are the sites. It could be that these sites have now been devalued meaning that the links that were pointing to your site previously have also been devalued if you obtained many low quality links or paid links. A penalty is what this can appear to be but in fact is purely a natural drop in rankings due to a devaluation of those incoming links.

For us, clear is the future of marketing of your site. If you have been affected by the Penguin update, a different approach to your online marketing is what you will need to start adopting.