Google Penguin 2.1 Released October 4th
Google Penguin 2.1 was released on Friday, October 4, 2013 and was said to be a small update to the original algorithm, Penguin 2.0, which was launched earlier this year. Yet within a few days of the update, it was clear that 2.1 was a much bigger deal than previously thought. SEO forums flooded with webmasters reporting that they had been hit hard by the update. It’s difficult to say exactly what was included in the update, but it appears that Penguin 2.1 has identified newer link spam, such as the following:
- Forum Spam – Comments made in forums that have exact match anchor text links.
- Forum Bio Spam – Biographies of forum users that contain exact match anchor text links.
- “Do Follow” Blogs – Blogs without “no follow” links.
- Blogroll Spam – Spam links in the blogroll.
- Spam Directories – If you’ve used spammy directories in the past, be sure to have all links disavowed.
Matt Cutts, head of Google’s web spam team, reported that Penguin 2.1 would affect less than 1 percent of English-U.S. queries. The algorithm update is the fifth in the Penguin category, but internally, it is referred to as Penguin 2.1 since it’s a data refresh rather than an updated algorithm. Still, many webmasters have seen their rankings drop significantly and are increasingly frustrated with the Penguins and Pandas of this era.
Penguin looks closely at links, so if your site was affected by the algorithm update, it’s time to clean up your site. Here are some effective tips for Penguin-proofing your website:
- Remove unnatural links
- Remove exact match and rich anchor text
- Disavow all other links using Google’s “Disavow Tool”
- Remove thin content
- Remove duplicate content
It’s safe to say that Google’s recent updates have caused some chaos for webmasters, but never lose sight of the end goal. Developing a strong website that has easy navigation, regularly updated content, high-quality backlinks and engagement with users goes a long way. These sites will bounce back after a Penguin or Panda update, giving you less to stress about. Be fast and aggressive in your recovery efforts as well. While you don’t need to make all of the changes immediately, the sooner you can clean up your site, the quicker you will see results.