Google Penguin Update

Dennis Benjak



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The Google Penguin Update refers to all the algorithm updates that were made by Google in 2012. These updates have a great impact on the ranking of websites. Effects can be seen on pages which, in Google’s opinion, contradict the so-called webmaster guidelines.


The Google Penguin update was designed to reduce web spam and promote quality content to users. Since its first release in April 2012, Google Penguin has released several updates. With each Google Penguin update, the algorithm rechecks websites for possible violations and can devalue them if necessary.

On January 10, 2016, Google released the latest Penguin update, which makes Penguin run in real time. This means that you can recover from a punishment pretty quickly once you’ve made the necessary corrections on your end.

How the Penguin Update affects websites

You can usually tell if your site has been hit by a Penguin penalty by looking at Google Webmaster Tools andmonitoring your traffic . Since Penguin is a site-specific update, you’ll see a big drop in certain keywords. Sistrix gives this example of a page that was penalized by Penguin.

Penguin Update

How to avoid a Penguin penalty

The Penguin update focuses mainly on identifying bad websites based on backlinks. Google’s algorithm assumes that quality sites link to other quality sites, while bad sites usually link toother bad sites. In other words: If you have websites that Google considers trustworthy, it will help you improve your rankings. But beware: if you link to spam pages, then there is a risk that the algorithm will not trust you either.

Google mainly wanted to punish those sites that artificially pushed their rankings up by buying backlinks from link farms or other spam sites.

The best way to avoid a penalty from the Penguin update is to focus on valuable, good backlinks. You do that by producing content that people believe will help their users. When a website links to yours, they are trusting you with their users. In order for high quality sites to be willing to link to your site, you need to create similar quality content.

You should also check your backlink portfolio regularly. While there are still debates about whether spam sites are really capable of lowering your qualitative ranking by linking to your site. Still, that possibility definitely exists. If you use the Google Disavow Tool, you can let the search engine know that you are not interested in such links. Thus, you avoid being penalized.Once again, in summary – this is how to avoid a Google Penguin penalty:

  1. Remove all potentially harmful backlinks
  2. Focus on creating quality content and distributing it so you can attract good backlinks to you
  3. Regularly check your backlink portfolio so that you can quickly find bad backlinks
  4. Refrain from bad links to protect the reputation of your pages


The Google Penguin update can be quite intimidating. Especially when you get punished and your traffic suddenly goes bye-bye. Don’t let that scare you too much, though. If you take the necessary steps to resolve this issue, you can recover from it quickly – especially since the update is now running in real time.


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