Google Penguin Algorithm Update 2022
Since Google launched the Penguin algorithm, ten years have passed and Google has taken a more firm stance against manipulative link-building. This algorithm has been updated several times and is now part of the core Google Algorithm. As a result, penalties are less frequent, but still exist in site-wide and partial formats. Google claims that it ignores a lot of low-quality links online. However, Google is still monitoring for unusual patterns like link schemes, PBNs and link exchanges and unnatural outbound linking.
Google Penguin’s Algorithm Introduction
Google launched the “webspam update” in 2012, which targeted manipulative link-building and link spam. Through a tweet by Matt Cutts (then head of Google webspam), the webspam algorithm was later known as the Penguin algorithm update. Google has officially named the algorithm Penguin but there are no official words on where it came from. Named Panda by one of its key engineers, it is likely that Penguin was also named Panda. One of my favorite Penguin naming theories, is that it pays tribute to DC’s Batman. Link volume was a bigger factor in determining the score of a web page when it was crawled, indexed and analyzed by Google before the Penguin algorithm. This meant that when ranking websites according to these scores for search result pages, low-quality websites or pieces of content were placed in higher positions than they should have in the organic search results.
Why Google Penguin Algorithm Update was important?
Google’s war against low-quality began with Panda, and Penguin was an extension to this arsenal. Google’s response was Penguin, which was Google’s answer to increasing manipulation of search results (and rankings), through black-hat link building techniques. The algorithm was designed to give you more control over spamming techniques and decrease their effectiveness. Penguin was able to better understand and process the types and earnings of the links webmasters and websites were receiving. Penguin also worked towards ensuring that relevant, natural, authoritative and relevant links were rewarded for the websites they pointed out, while manipulative or spammy links were downgraded. Penguin does not deal with the site’s incoming link. Google only considers links to the site and doesn’t look at outgoing links.
Initial Launch & Impact of Google Penguin Algorithm Update
According to Google, Penguin was more than 3% of searches when it first launched in April 2012. Penguin 2.0, the fourth and final update to the algorithm (including the initial launch), was released in May 2013. It affected approximately 2.3% of all queries. Penguin launched with two manipulative practices in mind, namely keyword stuffing and link schemes. Link schemes refers to manipulative link building techniques such as paying for links or exchanges. Penguin’s first launch was also focused on keyword stuffing. This has been associated with Panda Algorithm, which is more of a site quality and content algorithm.
Key Google Penguin Updates & Refreshes
Since 2012 when the Penguin algorithm was launched, there have been many updates and refreshes. There may have been other tweaks that are now history and have been called “unknown algorithm updates”.
Google Penguin 1.1: March 26, 2012
This was not a change to algorithm, but a first refresh of data. Websites that were initially affected by Penguin’s launch and took steps to rectify their links profiles saw some recovery. Penguin didn’t catch all websites the first time around, but they did see an improvement in this case.
Google Penguin 1.2: October 5, 2012
Another data refresh was performed. This affected both international queries and queries in English.
Google Penguin 2.0: May 22, 2013
This version was more advanced and had a greater impact on search results. Penguin 2.0 was able to impact around 2.3% of English queries. This Penguin update was also the first to examine the website’s homepage and top-level categories pages in order to find evidence of link spam.
Google Penguin 2.1: October 4, 2013
On October 4, 2011, Penguin 2.0 (2.1), was the only update to the site. It was only affected by 1% of queries. Although Google did not provide an explanation, data suggests that the Google 2.1 data refresh advanced on how deep Penguin looked into websites and crawled deeper to determine if spammy links were present.
Google Penguin 3.0: October 17, 2014
This update was called a major one, but it was actually a data refresh. It allowed those who were affected by previous updates to recover and emerge, while others who continued to use spammy link practices, and had escaped the impact of previous impacts, saw an impact. Pierre Far, a Googler, confirmed the news via a post to his Google+ profile. He said that it would take “few weeks” for the update to be fully implemented.
Google Penguin 4.0: September 23, 2016
The final Penguin algorithm update launched almost two years after the refresh of 3.0. This iteration saw the most significant change: Penguin was now part of the core algorithm. It doesn’t necessarily mean that an algorithm has become part of the core. This means that Google’s perception of algorithmic changes has changed and not the algorithm. Penguin now runs concurrently with core and evaluates websites in real-time. This allowed you to see the immediate results of your link-building or remediation efforts. The Penguin’s new Penguin wasn’t stingy in handing out penalty links based on their value, but instead devalued them. This contrasts with the previous Penguin iterations where the negative was punished.
Google Penguin Algorithmic downgrades
Webmasters and brands that had used manipulative links-building techniques or filled backlink profiles with a lot of low-quality link sources began to notice a decline in organic traffic and rankings shortly after the Penguin algorithm was implemented. Penguin downgrades did not all affect the entire site. Some were limited to keyword groups that were heavily spammed or over-optimized. Key products, and sometimes brands were also affected. Penguin’s impact can also be transferred between domains. Therefore, changing domains or redirecting an old domain to a new one can lead to more problems.