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What is the Google Penguin Update?

You may have noticed that in the last few days there has been a bit of a shift around in the rankings. Some people have gained, some people have a bit of work to do. I’m pleased to say on this occassion Grow Traffic seems to have gained, or at least it seems to have regained some of the rankings that we’ve always been strong for.  The new update is called Google Penguin, there was a movement in the search community to get it called Google Titanic update however that seems to be out at sea a bit and Penguin Update has stuck.

What does the Penguin Update Do?

The Penguin Update was set live on the 24th April 2012 and it’s objective is to penalise websites that have been trying to spam Google and it seems to have been focusing on overuse of anchor text and keyword stuffing. Basically, it’s about things that violate Google’s guidelines. Check out a couple of examples here:

If you’re worried that you might be about to get hit by Penguin, don’t, you would already have been hit by the update – the damage would be done. Google has confirmed that this update is now live and active and it’s not rolling out from data centre to data centre as sometimes can happen.

This isn’t like when Google de-indexed the blog networks and sent out a load of emails telling people they had to remove unnatural links – in this situation the best way to tell if you’ve been hit by the Penguin update is to see if your organic traffic has gone down on or after 24th April – if it has you’ve been hit, if it’s gone up you’ve benefited from other people being hit (which suggests you’re doing some good stuff) and if you seen no difference you’re probably not ranking massively well or you aren’t in such a competitive search marketplace.

Google Panda 3.5

If you’re website starting to get less traffic on or around 19th April, it’s likely you’ve been hit by Google Panda 3.5. Google Panda 3.5 was specifically targeting websites (or web pages) that are less than great quality, so if this is when you saw the drop in rankings you can do something about it by putting some emphasis onto the content in those sections.

Should I submit a reconsideration request to Google for Penguin Update?

Unfortunately, Google Penguin update is an algorithmic change, which means if you have changed everything that could be construed as spammy that you can think of and you’re still not getting your rankings back, you won’t get your rankings back by submitting a reconsideration request so don’t bother, instead concentrate on creating some great user signals and brand signals that will convince Google you are one of the good guys, doing good things.

Google Over Optimisation Penalty

A while back I talked about the over optimisation penalty Matt Cutts has been talking about (or hinting about) for the last few months. The Penguin Update is the over optimisation penalty in question.

How has Penguin affected the search results?

Let’s face it, if you’ve had a search around you’ve probably started to see websites that you’ve never come across before. There is a lot of talk in the seo community that the Penguin update has ruined the rankings, but I expect in the cold light of day, the people saying this are the people that have had their rankings dropped. Generally, I’m seeing an improvement in the rankings for my sites, what’s more I’m seeing some fresh websites that I’ve not seen before in the rankings that I’m of the opinion that that’s got to be a good thing as long as they are relevant to the search query which so far they have been.


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