Google Penguin is the latest algorithm that has become a pain for the webmasters. This update is mainly aimed at removing and de-ranking the sites that are considered to be web spam. Now if you are new to this terminology then I must tell you that Google considers a site to be webspam if it is self promotional, low quality and fake, very similar to an email spam. According to Google these sites play gimmicks like keyword stuffing and all others sorts of Black Hat SEO, to manipulate the search engine rankings.
Statically saying this update has affected 3% of total websites on internet, as compared to the 12% sites that were affected by the Google Panda Update in past.
What is Google Penguin Update?
Few months back when Google Panda was on roll then many webmasters choose black hat techniques to get back their search engine rankings, but now Google Penguin is screwing such websites.
Google Penguin algorithm is mainly targeted at the websites that follow or have used black hat techniques like keyword stuffing, thin content, over optimised pages, excessive use of keywords and use of affiliate links with thin content. Simply saying, this update is targeting those sites that follow negative SEO practices.
Reasons why Google Penguin affected your site:
As I have foretold that Penguin is quite hard on the sites that use Negative SEO. Some of the reasons that Penguin has affected your site can be:
- Excessive Keyword Density.
- Duplicate Content (Internal)
- Duplicate Content (External)
- Using malware or harmful codes in the WebPages.
- Sending automated queries to Google.
- Affiliate Links along with low value content.
- Thin Content
- Using Hidden text or links on WebPages.
- Bad Out Bound Links
Websites negatively affected by Google Penguin:
Google Penguin algorithm has affected around 3% sites of the total websites present on Internet, so you can get the impression how big is this number. The big names that have been negatively affected by this update are:
How to know if Google Penguin has affected your Site:
Google rolled out the first version of Penguin algorithm on 24th April 2012. So, if your site has a sudden traffic drop after 24th April then there is a big possibility that your site is hit by Google Penguin.
If you feel that your site has been wrongly penalized by Google Penguin then you can tell Google about this mistake by filling this form.
A word of caution, if you are using any of the negative seo tricks to rank your site then your site is vulnerable for a Penguin slap. If it has left your site in this update but there is no guarantee that things will go your way even in the future updates.
How to recover from Penguin:
Google Penguin update is quite similar to the Panda update which Google launched earlier. And many sites that had been hit by panda latter recovered from it and thus I personally feel that Google Penguin recovery is also possible.
Now the big question arises how to recover from this update, logically you can recover from this update if you can roll back all the things that resulted the penalty for your site. These things can be:
- Excessive use of keywords: The first point is getting rid from excessive keyword density. If you have found some posts with high keyword density then you should remove them or no-index them. Having an adequate keyword density is again a controversial topic but anything ranging between 2%-4% is good enough.
- Duplicate Content (Internal): If on your blog you have made your archive, category and tag pages as indexed then it will probably harm your blog as these pages will have the duplicate content as of the original post pages. Hence, it is better to make these pages as no-index.
- Duplicate Content (External): If some other blogs or scraper sites are copying your posts then you are at a risk of getting penalised by Google. Although Google is quite good in indentifying original content and copied content but still you should remember that it’s a bot and can be manipulated, though it’s not so easy but yet there must be some ways. The best thing to avoid this penalty is either make these pages no-index, remove them or add more unique content to these pages.
- Using malware or harmful codes in the WebPages: Remove any malicious codes present on your site pages, generally webmasters don’t add these codes intentionally but if you have got your blog theme from some torrent or free download site then there is a strong probability that it can contain some malware or malicious codes inside it. So, always buy plugins and themes from trusted sites.
- Sending Automated queries to Google: Webmasters sometimes use some software’s to automate the such queries feeling that it will upshot in Good SEO. But now Google is against these types of gimmicks. There is a simple solution to this; you can remove any script or plugin that sends automated queries to Google data centre.
- Affiliate Links along with low value content: If your blog or site is indulged in selling affiliate products, then make it sure that your content is good enough to support these products. Low quality content can again make your site vulnerable for a Penguin Slap. Remedy is adding more valuable content to the pages where you have week or low quality content.
- Thin Content: Thin content aka low quality content are the posts that do not provide any valuable content. According to a thumb rule the posts having less than 300 words come in this category. But this is not always true; you can even write a low quality post with 300+ words so for this I would say you are the best judge for thin content. If you feel any post is not providing adequate value to the readers then either research on that post again and update the topic or simply remove the post.
- Using Hidden text or links on WebPages: Hidden text or links are the text or links that are invisible or inconspicuous. By this, I mean any text on the page that is having font colour same as the background colour can be considered as hidden text. Actually this type of text matches to the background and hence is unreadable for humans, but for crawler the text is reasonably readable. In previous days spammers tried to manipulate the search engine results by using keywords as hidden text but now this trick is of no use. If you have used any such technique then please stop using it further.
- Bad Out Bound Links: Check your website’s outbound links, if your website is linking to some non reputable or un-trusted site apply a no-follow tag to that link. Your outbound links should appear as natural so the best thing is to make a balance between the dofollow and nofollow links.
How much time will it take to regain your traffic back?
Well this is a difficult question to be answered but if you have successfully resolved the issues that your blog was penalised for, then you would regain your traffic after the next Penguin Update. If you are thinking to file a reconsideration request then I must tell you that in algorithm updates reconsideration requests don’t work, they only work if there are any manual spam actions taken against your site.
Other effects of Penguin Update:
As you all know that if your site is slapped by Penguin then you are most likely to lose your traffic and hence this will also affect the Alexa rank of your blog as Alexa rank is calculated on the number of people with Alexa addon visiting your site.
Also if your site is penalized by Penguin update this simply means that Google considered your site to be a webspam. If during your penalty period there is a Page rank update then your site’s pagerank is expected to go down. But before the Page rank update if your site recovers from the penguin then there is no danger of losing your pagerank.
So, this was all that about Google Penguin update. Feel free to drop in your comments.