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The Google Penguin Update

Google rolled out one of its most talked about algorithmic changes since the Panda update in February 2011 on the 24th April. Many lost rankings and in the process, most of their web traffic because it impacted so many websites which is why it has been talked about so much.

Needless to say, this can be catastrophic for most businesses that heavily relies on traffic referrals from Google. But what was the “Penguin update” and why did the “Penguin update” affect so many websites?

In some way or another, most of us use Google to find information and it is Google’s job as the leading search engine to make sure that the results that it produces are relevant and of a high quality. Maintaining faith in Google and continuing to use the service are the users in that way. The latest update was said to be for webmasters that were over optimising their websites, building spammy back links and generally abusing the Google guidelines in order to rank better within the organic search results. Penalised by the algorithmic filter and demoted in the search results are the sites that over the years had been gaming the system somewhat which is the reason that Penguin was implemented. The 3.1% of search queries which was said to be affected by the update, considering that Google receives hundreds of millions of search queries every day, it means that it equates to millions of websites being penalised.

The Penguin update is not a manual penalty which is worth noting, where a human has followed say a spam report and taken action. Based on certain criteria which assesses whether or not a site has been over optimised or been building spammy back links, the Penguin update is an algorithmic update which filters out sites.

It is pretty likely that you were hit by it if you lost pretty much all of your websites traffic from Google just after the 24th April. Appearing to retain their page rank and continuing to be crawled and indexed are the sites, which is one thing that is noticeable. If you obtained many low quality links or paid links, links that were pointing to your site previously have also been devalued means that these sites have now been devalued. This can appear to be a penalty but in fact, due to a devaluation of those incoming links, this is purely a natural drop in rankings.

For us, clear is the future of marketing of your site. You will need to start adopting a different approach to your online marketing if you have been affected by the Penguin update.

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