Google’s first algorithm updates started on April 24, 2012 with the intention of decreasing search engine rankings for websites that violated Google's Webmaster Guidelines. These violations included poor quality SEO practices such as the overuse of keywords, link schemes, and duplicate content. This update to Google's search engine algorithm alone affected more than 3 percent of all search queries, which is a significant figure assuming there are approximately 5 billion searches performed on Google each day.
Penguin went on to make two additional updates on May 26, 2012 and October 5, 2012, which only affected a small fraction of queries. Then another boom was made to the Google search algorithm again on May 22, 2013 with the Penguin 2.0 update, which affected 2.3 percent of all queries.
Probably the biggest difference with the Penguin 2.0 update is that previous algorithm updates really just looked at the content on the homepage of a website, and this new update digs much further into the site. Because of this, those sites that have been affected by the Penguin 2.0 update will take much longer to recover.
Has your website been affected by the Penguin 2.0 update? Social Media Today offers some helpful ways to check to see if you have been impacted:
- Have your keyword rankings declined? If you see a steady decline beginning May 22, you have likely been affected by the Penguin 2.0 update.
- Has traffic declined on pages that you have given the most link building focus to? These pages may include your homepage or a landing page. If so, you've probably been affected.
- Have your rankings for keyword groups declined? This update impacted keyword groups in addition to keywords themselves.
- How does your organic traffic today compare to before May 22? Take advantage of Google analytics to determine this. If it has since declined significantly, you have probably been affected by the update.
So what happens if you answered yes to the majority of the questions above? Social Media Today also shares some helpful tips for recovering from the Penguin 2.0 update:
- Remove any poor quality or spammy pages from your website ASAP. As you try to make the determination whether to keep a page or remove it, ask yourself if the intention of the page was to provide value or to appeal to search engines. If it's the latter, you probably need to remove it.
- Eliminate spammy inbound links from your website. It's probably a wise idea to have an inbound link profile audit performed to identify links that need to be removed.
- Begin building strong inbound links throughout your website. To build authority for your site, find out which publishers Google considers to be the most credible and ranks the highest for your primary keywords and ask if they will do a guest blog post for you.
We have not seen the last of the Penguin updates. To protect your site going forward, it is critical that you obey the rules of the game. It's probably a good idea to review Google's Webmaster Guidelines to keep your site safe from future algorithm updates.
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