For website owners in general and Internet marketers in particular, Google’s Penguin updates have created quite a stir. People who simply host a personal blog or information type website may not even know about the updates or see any noticeable impact on their traffic or search result.
However, for those who attempt to make a living on the Internet through SEO and IM (Internet marketing) Google Penguin 2.1 was another shot fired in Google’s attempt to “clean up” the Internet. Remember, if you simply use the internet for research or enjoyment, you probably haven’t even heard of Penguin 2.1, or 1.0, 2.0 etc. However, the results that pop up when you submit a query, are dependent on algorithms such as Penguin 2.1.
It’s All About Links
Links, especially inbound links, are a primary way to increase your sites rankings within Google’s search engine. Theoretically, the more inbound links (links to your site from other sites or directories) your site has on the Web, the greater authority your site is deemed to be, and therefore more likely to be on the first few pages of a given search. That is a bit of an oversimplification but you get the idea.
Google is updating their algorithm constantly, but every once in a while they roll out a major change that really affects the rankings of a lot of sites. In the last few years, Google has really cracked down on “spammy” links.
Keyword stuffing and “black hat” linking schemes such a using “paid” links, are two things that Google’s Penguin algorithm really penalize for.
Focus of Penguin 2.1
Google’s Penguin updates specifically target sites that Google deems to be spamming their search results and managing to rank highly, regardless of the quality of their content. In fact, Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, says that Penguin was designed to help searchers find sites that provide a “great user experience and useful information.” [Source]
Google’s original Penguin rollout (1.0) focused primarily on the home page of websites. With 2.0 Google started delving deeper into websites by crawling individual pages in search of spamming activity. Penguin 2.1 simply increased the level of those searches, digging deeper into the page levels of sites in search of the offending practices.
Keep in mind, that the purpose of the Penguin algorithm updates is not to make it harder for legitimate content to rank, but is intended to stop sites that Google considers spammy from gaming the system and profiting from ranking higher in the results even though they are not providing quality, search related content.
Obviously Google’s success depends on the number of people using their service, and that mean they must be relied upon to return accurate, useful results to each and every search query.
Impact of Penguin 2.1
Google says that the release of Penguin on October 4, 2013 was expected to affect around 1% of all queries. That is still quite a lot of search results when you consider Google boasts of answering nearly 1 billion questions per day. At the end of the day, quality is increasingly important if you wish to rank higher and not be penalized.