There was a time when Google updates used to come out at infrequent intervals, and websites had more or less stable ranking in the Search Engine Rankings. Well that’s a thing of bygone era now. Today Google sprouts updates every few days. You have to just have a look at the Google Webmaster blog to know how dynamic Google Algorithm is. Here is the latest.

Penguin 2.0 Update: 22nd May 2013


What is it?

Penguin 2.0 is a follow up on Penguin 1.0 released in May 2012. Penguin 1.0 was termed as Webspam update. It was designed to eliminate spammy link building. Penguin 2.0 takes this ahead and it has delved deeper into your link profile. Also keep in mind that Penguin 2.0 is not a manual penalty, it’s a entire algorithmic update, which makes it a tougher beast to take on.

Why am I hit?

While analysis is still on to better understand Penguin 2.0, if you have been hit by it, here a list of couple of probable causes that might have got you down:

Problem 1: Heavy usage of exact match anchor text, also referred to as ‘Money keywords’

Check it: Get your anchor text distribution figures. Compare this against industry average/ few of your competitor’s data. If you are overshooting the industry average on ‘money keywords’ you have your culprit.

Solution: Build quality links with more generic anchor text. Instead of using exact match keyword, use

  • Related words/ phrases from your industry
  • Brand name/ Business name
  • Website URL
  • Common words like ‘check this link’, ‘my website’

Problem 2: Poor quality Links

Check it : Download your website’s backlinks from as many tools as possible to get maximum number of links. Analyze these links for:

  • Topic of the website/ page – Stay far from porn, gambling, exclusive SEO only sites, Offensive content, slanderous content
  • Health of the website/page – Stay away from pages with malware, spyware and other infections
  • Indexation – Get rid of links from pages no longer indexed
  • Relevance of the website/page to your website/ niche
  • Quality of other outbound links on this website/page
  • Pagerank of the website/page

Solution: Make a list of the poor quality links, get working on them. Contact the webmasters of the sites linking to you, and request them to takedown the link. 5-10% of such request will be honored. Upload the remaining links to Google disavow tool and wait for them to respond. Make sure when uploading the disavow request ,that you are disavowing the entire domain, this will get your request processed faster. Meanwhile get on with building relevant high quality links from websites that inspire trust and confidence.

Problem 3: Clean homepage, fudged up inner pages

Check it: Check the anchor text and inbounds links for the inner pages of your website. Many website had a clean homepage but messy inner pages. While the Penguin 1.0 focused more on homepage, Penguin 2.0 has moved in deeper and the link profile of your website’s inner pages is equally important.

Solution: Clean up the mess. If the inbound link quality is low/ spammy refer to solution for problem 2 For anchor text problem with inbound links refer to solution for problem 1


Penguin 2.0 is a algorithmic update, this means that Google algorithm has rearranged your website automatically on the SERP’s depending on how your website scored on the Penguin 2.0 algo changes. If it were a manual penalty, you could have done the clean up act, and then a manual review would have satisfied Google and got you back on track. However for a algo update line Penguin 2.0, only clean up of the problem area will not help you recover. You need to:

  • Get on with building a healthy link profile.
  • Whatever is the problem are, clean it up and then take action to strengthen the problem area, by building the right type of links.
  • Build & strengthen your social signals. These will get your website genuine natural links
  • Build quality content, which will attract comments and sharing by others in your niche


Older Updates 2012:

Of the bunch of updates and changes Google has rolled out this year, we have picked up a few, which were specifically rolled out by Google to tackle certain black hat SEO techniques that were being used indiscriminately.

So let’s have a look at what these black hat techniques are, and the updates rolled out to target them.

Google Update Black Hat Technique
 Penguin Update
Cloaking– Refers to the practice of serving different content to user and Search engine, with the intent to deceive the Search engine Example:1. Serving a page of HTML text to search engines, while showing a page of images or Flash to users.2. Serving different content to search engines than to users.3. Using JavaScript but not providing its textual content
Penguin Update
Doorway Pages Indicates serving low quality content for different keywords to users with the intent of finally leading the users to 1 main website. Example:1. Doorway Page 1 – Keyword – Homemade bread in Texas2. Doorway Page 2 – Keyword – Homemade bread in California3.Doorway Page 3 – Keyword – Homemade bread in Kentucky

All the 3 pages will have nearly same content, written in poor format. And all the pages will have a link pointing towards 1 main website.

 Penguin Update
Keyword Stuffing– Using the keywords indiscriminately, with the intent to increase its density and manipulate the page rank of the website.Example: Bread Recipes website targeting keyword – Homemade bread ContentHomemade bread are the freshest bread. Using homemade bread allows for better health. Homemade bread can be prepared easily at home using ingredients available at home. Basic baking skills go long way in making the perfect homemade bread.
 Penguin Update
Link Farming– Paid/Reciprocal links created with the intention to manipulate Page Rank Example:

  • Links to web spammers or bad neighborhoods on the web
  • Excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging (“Link to me and I’ll link to you.”)
  • Buying or selling links that pass Page Rank. Joining a private blog network to create one-way paid links.
 Panda Update
Poor Content Quality: Content that did not fit in with the Google content guidelines. Example:

  • Duplicate content across the website
  • Spun content
  • Copied content, lifted from some other website/blog
  • Poor grammar/ misspellings
  • Shallow content
  • Old and long forgotten content, that has not been updated in a while
 Page Layout Update
Stuffing advertisements above the fold– In this context fold refers to the normal browser window size. While this technique is not strictly a black hat one, it does detract from the user experience. Hence Google brought out this update to improve user experience.

  • When you reach a website and if even after maximizing the browser, you are unable to see any text/ content, and need to scroll down to see same, because the entire screen space is taken by advertisements.
  • This is referred to as stuffing ads above the fold. This causes negative user experience and is done to push the ads and boost sales.
Some other Black Hat techniques, which are used commonly, but have no specific Google update associated with them in recent times.
 Hidden Text/ Link –  Using such text or links to build links or stuff keywords results in poor user experience, and is considered bad by Google.Examples:

  • Using white text on a white background
  • Including text behind an image
  • Using CSS to hide text
  • Setting the font size to 0, so that th user cannot read the text, but Search engine can. Causing page to rank higher for that text/ term.
Meta Keyword Stuffing – Using Keyword in the right manner is crucial. Exploiting Meta descriptions and meta data by indiscriminately using keywords in them to gain higher ranking is considered violation of Google guidelines. Example: A bread recipe site’s meta data

  • Meta Keyword Tag ( Identifies the keywords associated with the page): Fresh bread, best bread recipe, best bread, softest bread recipe, freshest bread recipe, homemade bread recipe, gluten free bread recipe, monkey bread recipe, baking bread recipe, banana bread recipe…….
  • Meta Description Tag (Provides a short description about the page): Best banana bread recipe along with softest monkey bread and best baking bread recipe. Homemade bread recipe to make freshest breads
Sneaky JavaScript Redirects – Use of JavaScript with the intent to deceive search engines by showing a page to SE and taking the user to another page via the redirect.Example:

  • Placing different text in JavaScript than in a noscript tag to displays different content for users (who see the JavaScript-based text) than for search engines (which see the noscript-based text).
  • Embed a link in JavaScript that redirects the user to a different page with the intent to show the user a different page than the search engine sees.


We will continue this series with a few more crucial updates that you need to keep in touch with. And since Matt Cutts had mentioned that Google expects to roll out approx 500 updates this year. So there lots more in store for all of us to explore as Google keeps up with its changes, updates and tweaking.


How to get most out of Panda Update

Things to know about Penguin Update

Page Layout Algorithm and Penalties

Cloaking – Black Hat Technique

Doorway Pages – Understanding them

We will continue this series with a few more crucial updates that you need to keep in touch with. And since Matt Cutts had mentioned that Google expects to roll out approx 500 updates this year. So there lots more in store for all of us to explore as Google keeps up with its changes, updates and tweaking.

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