What You Need to Know About Google’s Penguin 2.1

Google Penguin

It’s official! On October 4, 2013, Google released its largest Penguin update yet. Like the previous updates, Google Penguin 2.1 has altered the rankings algorithm, affecting how webmasters and brands approach SEO in their digital marketing campaigns. Not sure how Penguin 2.1 directly affects your brand? Then you’re not alone.

The Top Three Things You Need To Know About Penguin 2.1.

  • It affects approximately 1 percent of searches. While most searches on Google will be largely unaffected by Penguin 2.1, the reality is that the number of queries impacted is significantly larger than previous updates. As always, only those that are violating (or potentially violating) Google’s quality guidelines are targeted by this algorithmic refresh. Google is remaining relatively quiet about the update, resisting the urge to reveal the signals it values in its search results.
  • Penguin is part of Hummingbird. If you’re familiar with the new Google Hummingbird algorithm and wondering how Penguin 2.1 could possibly fit in, it’s important to know that Penguin is a component of Hummingbird, not a replacement. In other words, if Hummingbird is the entire process that Google uses to rank pages, then Penguin 2.1 is just a filter in that entire process.
  • Spammers were hit the hardest. With Google’s ever-present effort to improve search results, websites that appeared to be spammy were decimated by the update. In particular, linking spam that appeared in forums, bios, “follow” blogs, directories, blogrolls, and blog comment signatures were all targeted in Penguin 2.1. Basically, any link that looked unnatural was targeted in the latest update.

In short, this simply reaffirms our philosophy that the most important aspect of SEO is ensuring that you have a high quality site in the first place. Because Penguin – regardless of update – is designed to eliminate web spam, sites that focus on high quality for users will ultimately benefit in the search rankings.

How to Recover from Penguin 2.1

If your site has been affected by the update, the good news is that it’s possible to recover. The most important component in recovering from Penguin 2.1 is detoxing from unnatural links and focusing on quality, optimized content and social media signals . As you detox from links, it’s critical to ensure that more unnatural links aren’t created. Fortunately, just as there were Penguin recoveries that occurred during the Panda updates, there’s a good chance that responding quickly and aggressively will yield similar results.

Furthermore, be sure to analyze your link profile. Even internal links can register as “spammy,” so look out for exact match and rich anchor text, as those are what Penguin 2.1 is looking for. If you’ve been hit, don’t give up on SEO. Rather, focus on ways to strengthen the quality of your site and its content.

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