Thomas K., Clickworker
When webpage operators hear the term “Penguin” they do not associate it with the cute, black-tailed creatures of the Antarctic. They link it to a Google update that has driven one or two webmasters to desperation by making their perfectly search engine optimized webpage suddenly disappear from the Google ranking. The webmasters had to put a lot of effort into winning back the former rank. But what exactly does Penguin do? And which changes does the version Penguin 4.0 bring? What we can reveal is that Penguin 4.0 will make it simpler to undo penalties by Google.
Penguin is the name of an update that combines various changes of the Google ranking algorithms. Penguin’s goal is to suppress so-called web spam in the search results. “Web spam” is a term used to describe webpages that use unauthorized methods to achieve a better ranking in Google. Webpages with a better ranking are supposed to provide the searcher with enhanced value. This is not the case with web spam. These pages are written for search engines and their goal is to produce a large number of clicks.
The first Penguin update was released in 2012. Its effect was immediately perceptible. Many top ranking pages suddenly disappeared from the ranking. In English speaking countries, 3.1 percent of all search queries were affected. In Germany three percent of the search queries were impacted, and in Poland as many as five percent.
Unfortunately Penguin didn’t just suppress spam pages until the 3.0 version. If a website was over-optimized, even a standard homepage with good content disappeared from the ranking or was banished to the rear. Those who were affected were told to remove the over-optimization and get in touch with Google. If you were lucky, your website was able to recover its ranking. However, in most cases, the webmasters had to wait for the next Penguin update. With a lot of bad luck, reworking the web page was not sufficient. The bans continued and one hoped the next update would solve the problem.
Penguin is now part of the core algorithm. This means that the system works in real-time. If Penguin repositions a homepage as a result of over-optimization, the webmaster can now adjust the webpage. Adjustments are recognized the next time Google crawls the site. If all of the negative signals have been removed, the page will find its way back to the hit list. This means that it is no longer necessary to wait for the next Penguin update.
Furthermore, not the entire website is penalized anymore if spam signals are only coming from the backlinks. The penalty now only applies to the relevant backlinks.
Bans from the search results are less disastrous than before. A quick return is achieved once the over-optimization has been removed. Moreover, Google now gives a more detailed evaluation and does not penalize the entire domain, since the webmaster is sometimes not responsible for certain backlinks. In addition to Penguin, Google’s core algorithm also includes Panda, Hummingbird and RankBrain. Thanks to these components, the search engine improves in recognizing user relevant content. Therefore, using outdated SEO tactics, such as artificial backlinks or keyword stuffing to create a website will make it more prone to penalization by Google. Therefore, Webpage operators have to provide unique and high quality content more than ever. The intentions and needs of users must be recognized and fulfilled. The technical implementation of the website must also be correct to ensure a solid ranking in Google on a long-term basis.
Thomas K., Clickworker