One of Google’s algorithms that it uses to produce the best, most relevant, results for users is named Penguin and it joins Panda, Hummingbird and RankBrain to make up Google’s complete algorithm. The Penguin algorithm update originally launched in 2012 but has been updated over the years as the search engine has become even more advanced. All of these algorithms have different impacts on results when users are searching for content. In this blog, we will explore how Google uses Penguin.
What is the Google Penguin Algorithm?
The Penguin algorithm update was launched to identify and penalise sites that were deemed to be spamming the search results. For instance, sites that were caught buying links or gaining links through black hat tactics to manipulate the search results. As a result of this algorithm update Google was able to push sites with a trustworthy backlink profile up the rankings and punish those sites with spammy links. Before this update, sites with huge numbers of links were being awarded a higher score by Google. This meant that low quality sites were appearing in search results, impacting on the user experience of the engine.
Key Features of the Penguin Algorithm
The key aspects of a site that the Penguin algorithm is designed to look for are unnatural links and keyword stuffing.
- Keyword Stuffing – this refers to web pages that fill their content up with an excess of keywords so that the information is less about offering value to the users, but rather to manipulate Google into thinking it is really relevant about that specific keyword/topic.
- Unnatural Link Building – this is where a site acquires backlinks through low-quality or unrelated sites in the hope to boost their backlink profile and manipulate Google into thinking it is a more trustworthy site than it actually is. This used to be done by commenting in multiple forums and adding links back to their site despite it not being relevant.
How to Recover from a Penguin-Related Penalty
Unlike other algorithm penalties Penguin penalties are often easier to recover from. This is because the issue has often come from something you have done to your website or, in the case of spammy links, it is something you can take action on yourself without having to submit a reconsideration request to Google. These are the steps you can take to recover when hit by Penguin.
- Content Review – by reviewing the content on your site you can identify any pages are stuffed with keywords and any which do not provide users with value. It is important to include keywords throughout your content but these should be used naturally, rather than just over-optimising your content by repeating them continuously.
- Disavow – looking through all of the external domains that link to your site can highlight any that aren’t relevant or are low-quality. Once you have a list of domains you want to get rid of, you can submit these to Google so they can remove these from your backlink profile. Google has its own disavow tool you can use.
- Link Removal – some pages that link to your site you may already have control over and do not need to submit for disavow. Instead, you can remove or no follow these links to improve your backlink profile and rankings.
Since 2012 the Penguin algorithm has been updated by Google several times and is now on Penguin 4.0, which was launched in 2016. It is now part of the core algorithm which just means that the way Google use that part of the algorithm is different to when it was first released. Now part of the core it means that Google Penguin updates evaluate sites in real-time so you can see near instant impact in search rankings of changes you make to your website.
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