On Friday, 2nd of October 2013, Matts Cutts,head of Google's search spam announced the latest penguin updates dubbed Penguin 2.1. He announced on twitter the release of the latest update,he said the release affected 1% of search queries. These update affected a good number of webmasters negatively and some positively. Some got promoted while some demoted. Actually,when a site drops it rank in the SERPs another takes it place.
Penguin is an algorithmic penalty by Google, initially launched in 2012 April. It targets rankings inflated by way of unnatural or spammy links. It works to demote and devalue manipulative links in search rankings algorithm. It is designed to attack web-spam and deliver better user experience. And reward webmasters who have useful content for users.
The latest update filtered search results and removed or devalued all webspam for the best user experience. You will know if you are hit when you notice a drop in organic traffic. Not every webmaster was affected though, some got promoted while some remain where they have been before the update.
These updates are revised,reviewed and refreshed at intervals to curtail and control blackhat,spammy and manipulative SEO strategies. Google wants to remain on top and also serve their users well so they use this tools to keep webspammers abay: Panda and Penguin.
Panda updates are about on-page SEO - keywords,tags etc. While Penguin updates are about off-page SEO - basically your backlinks.
Sites Affected By Penguin 2.1
Basically, from my findings these are sites that this latest updates affected:
- Web2.0 sites like wiki,elgg,jcow,
- Unreadable or spun or copied content sites,
- Sites with spammy links
How To Recover From The Hit
Clean your backlinks profile. This is a major adjustment to make and keep away from spammy links. Google is more intelligent now than ever. This is the #1 area where sites are always found wanting. take some time out and correct your errors and delete all spammy links and stay away from them. You may need the help of an SEO company here. its not a waste of fund to hire an expert its an investment.
Focus on user experience. Create and promote quality content. Create contents that are compeling,inspiring and informative. This will naturally bring about natural backlinks through social media shares and direct linking. You can have as much quality backlinks as possible offering the best content to your readers and invariable get rewarded by search engines with huge organic traffic.
Focus on the best current link building practices in the post-penguin era. After every update there are definitely slight changes on what really works and what dose not work anymore in the SEO community.
Hire an SEO company. Invest a few dollars to get your business running again. even if you weren't hit it will pay you to have you business guaranteed to be on safe grounds.
To always stay clear of any future penalty from Google, webmasters should focus strictly on good content that will benefit their users and also stay away from manipulative backlinking strategies that is clearly against the rules of SEO that Google has set. In the game of SEO and organic traffic, Google sets the rules and you must know them and play by it always if you want your business to stay alive.
From my review of past and present Penguin penalties, I have noticed that the key areas that penguins focus on is: Content Quality and Backlink Quality. So a wise webmaster will simply pay attention to these areas and avoid been hit at the most unexpected and painful momment.