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Google Penguin update: have you been affected?

Posted on October 6, 2016

 

Google has just shouted ‘jump’ and the online marketing community has once again cried out in one voice ‘how high?’

This September saw the latest, and reportedly the last, announced update to Google Penguin. Historically these updates have caused widespread panic among digital marketing companies, but this time the mood seems much more relaxed. Let’s look at what this update actually means for you:

What is Penguin?

Penguin is the cute, fluffy name given to Google’s most savage of updates. It concerns what it considers to be spam links, and it strikes down websites it believes to be in breach of its rules in paying for links. If you’ve ever paid for links to your website, or hired someone who has, you’ve probably felt Penguin’s impact.

How does it work?

Penguin has been updated several times since it was first rolled out in 2012. Each update allowed websites caught in its net to be reassessed. If they had sufficiently cleaned up their act they were released from its grip. If not, they had to wait for the next update. Websites could be under Penguin’s thumb for months, sometimes longer… and there was nothing they could do in the meantime. Google really doesn’t like people who pay for links.

How does it work now?

This latest update is expected to be the last announced update as Penguin is now part of Google’s core search algorithm. This means it will be tweaked and updated constantly from now on, so any websites that fall foul of its rules have a much better chance of a quick recovery – once they’ve removed any offending links, of course. This also means Penguin’s effects will be more difficult to detect, as any Penguin related changes to your website’s rankings will be bundled in with regular Google algorithm tweaks.

The general rules haven’t changed, however. Paying for links is still bad. Low quality links should be avoided, and it’s important to monitor your website’s links to make sure you haven’t picked up any potentially damaging ones.

If you’re unsure whether or not your website has been affected by Penguin, or if you’d just like to know more about it, we’d be more than happy to help here at Engage Web.

Darren Jamieson

Technical Director at Engage Web
Darren is Technical Director at Engage Web, as well as being a co-founder of the company. He takes a hands-on approach to SEO and web design, helped by more than 15 years’ experience in these fields.

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