One of the more prominent updates that continues to be relevant today is Penguin. It rolled out on April 24, 2012, and mainly served to combat the issue of webspam; specifically, black hat SEO techniques. These tactics attempt to manipulate the search engine and get high rankings without providing valuable information to users.
Some websites utilize black hat webspam techniques to get top spots in the SERPs and more organic traffic without benefitting users. Site operators who use these tactics look for shortcuts and loopholes in Google’s system to rank their pages higher than what they deserve. A well-known example is keyword stuffing where a page is overloaded with keywords or numbers to game its ranking. Another one is link schemes which involve buying backlinks to manipulate the perceived authority of a website.
The overarching goal of Google’s ranking changes is to help users discover sites with a great user experience by giving them the information they need. The team also confirmed that they want to reward the good guys of the web who are making valuable content with higher places in the SERPs.
Penguin works with the Panda updates and the page layout algorithm changes that rolled out before it to display high-quality sites in the results pages. It will devalue websites that are detected to have violated Google’s existing quality guidelines. This algorithmic update was developed to reduce webspam and promote high-quality content.
The Penguin update affected approximately 3.1 percent of English queries which is relatively noticeable to regular users. For other languages such as German, Chinese, and Arabic, the algorithmic change impacted about 3 percent of searches. The team also noted that the update has a higher impact on more heavily-spammed languages like Polish with 5 percent.
As mentioned at the start of this post, Penguin continues to be relevant today; with some websites still recovering from the penalty imposed on them from way back. While Google might not be in the habit of revealing specific signals, the underlying premise is that you should avoid black hat techniques altogether and work toward providing remarkable content for users.
These are a few tactics that will get your site penalized by Penguin:
Here are ways to rank your website without fearing Penguin’s penalty: