What is the Google Penguin Update?

Penguin is the label given to Google’s latest algorithm change, which has been developed to specifically target spamming and websites that subscribe to this black-hat notion. It was launched on April 24 and has been confirmed as fully live by Google. The update follows on from Google’s Panda update, which had a big focus on penalising websites which utilised poor quality content.

How to determine whether your site was hit by the Penguin

Check your Dates:

The first port of call is to look at the date your traffic changed.
If your traffic dropped or improved after April 24, odds are that you have been hit, be it positively or negatively, by Penguin.

Maybe it was Panda?

If your traffic changed before April 24, you are more likely to have been impacted by Google’s Panda 3.5 update, which was launched just a week earlier on April 19. Confusing, we know.

Whilst Panda and Penguin are both about improving the quality of websites, there is a distinct difference. Penguin has an inherent focus on spam and sites utilising spamming techniques. Panda is designed to target pages that are of low-quality, which includes but isn’t restricted to just spam.

What About Over-Optimisation?

Previously Google had signalled that an ‘over-optimisation’ penalty would be coming into play. Penguin looks like the answer to this statement, with spam being the target rather than the hard to define ‘over-optimisation’ angle.

My website was impacted by the Penguin update – how will I ever recover?

By following these 8 tips! The Google Penguin update is aimed to make your site better and more user-friendly, so odds are that if you’re hit, you could use a little refresh!

  • 1. The Penguin Feedback Form

    If you think you’ve been unfairly targeted by the Penguin update, there are avenues of resolution. Google has created a new Penguin Feedback form that you can use to report errors applied to your site. They also advise to post on the webmaster forum to get feedback from others. What won’t work is submitting a reconsideration request because, in their eyes, Penguin is the gospel according to Cutts. *This page is now a spam report page. It can be found here.

  • 2. Avoid Un-Natural Link Building

    Blog networks and article spamming sites have been hit hard as a result of both Penguin and Panda. As a result, if your website previously utilised these mediums, remove all links and stop doing it! Getting links from credible sites in your industry or as a result of writing up a great guest blog post are much more beneficial than paid or spammy link sites. Build your link profile naturally and steadily and you’ll be rewarded.

  • 3. Check Webmaster Tools for Notifications

    Your Webmaster Tools account is chock full of information that can improve your site. Jump in there to see if Google has highlighted any unnatural links or other errors on your site. It’s a simple way to identify and resolve site problems.

  • 4. Hidden Text, Hidden Links

    Are you being sneaky? Hiding text and links from site users is seen as cheating the system and will cop a traffic slap. If the content or links aren’t worthy to your users, they aren’t worthy to Google. Remember the golden rule – always optimise with the user’s experience in mind.

  • 5. Uncloak and De-Shade Your Redirects

    Cloaking has been bad from the get-go, so if you’re doing it you’ve been going wrong for some time now. It refers to when you have one page set up for crawlers and another set-up for users that are essentially the same thing. The same goes for redirects that use meta refresh, Javascript, PHP, ASP and other techniques that are intended to mislead both crawlers and users.

  • 6. Take Control of Your Outbound Links

    Outbound links may have a direct impact on your site’s rankings and traffic. Google use your outbound linking profile to determine the type of websites that you associate with. If you link to poor quality, or less credible websites, Google may come to the conclusion that you are also poor quality. The amount of links on any given page, and across the domain, also matters. Try to keep outbound links down on any given page in order to avoid Google’s anti-spam algorithm update. So remember: keep your outbound link profile to a small percentage of highly credible sites and you will come out on top. If you have a large number of links on a page, splitting a page up and increasing the amount of original, unique content could help fight the mighty Penguin.

  • 7. Say No to Keyword Stuffing

    Much like its equivalent chicken, the risk of over indulging keyword stuffing is something all content writers go through. Previously we relied on densities, but, with Panda on our case, the need to throw this out the window and focus purely on quality is vital. Forget the keywords, focus on the user. It will all come naturally if written by a professional.

  • 8. Don’t Send Automated Queries to Google

    Sending queries from your site or blog automatically to Google servers gets on their nerves. It’s clearly stated that they don’t want to receive them, so follow the rules and avoid it! Third party software programs that automatically request for ranking check and page reviews are the main offenders here.


If you’ve lost rankings because of the Google Penguin update, the team at roi.com.au are able to help. Our expert SEO consultants and support teams are available to ensure your site is running to perfection – not struggling with every algorithm change Google puts in place. Fill in our enquiry form to learn more today!

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