Why Google’s 2016 Penguin Update is great for the web

On Friday 23rd September, Google announced that ‘Penguin’ has become part of their core search algorithm, fighting web spam on an ongoing basis as pages are crawled and re-crawled within their index.

In 2012, Google levelled the playing field of its search engine results pages (SERPS) with the first version of the well-publicised Penguin update, aimed at preventing spammy SEO tricks & techniques. This had a catastrophic impact to webmasters who’d applied paid link programmes either in-house or externally via an SEO agency.

Google’s index is over 100,000,000 gigabytes and has taken over a million programming hours to build it. There are over 500 improvements per year and with a small few coming with information direct from Google like this one.

What do you need to do?

It’s really simple:

  • Strategically, take Google’s advice: ‘focus on creating amazing, compelling websites’.
  • Ongoing link auditing is a sensible part of an SEO strategy to ensure you are in control.
  • Never get tempted to force or pay for links


What do we know about Penguin?

Web spam is being policed in real time, favouring us all as internet users. As SEOs or businesses driving SEO growth, Panda and Penguin being part of the main algorithm reduces significant fluctuations that results in lengthy analyses to get to grips with what might have gone wrong.

We know that SERP fluctuation since Friday 23rd September’s Penguin rollout has been low (Mozcast):

mozcast september 2016 serp fluctuations

SERP metrics is showing a similar picture:


It might be that you’ve seen websites in your industry still enjoying high rankings with spammy links and/or ‘onpage’ text spam. However, now the practice of Google crawling and checking for webspam isn’t a one off event – its happening day in day out as of Friday 23rd September when Google announced that Penguin (like Panda in January 2016) forms part of the core search algorithm.

Whilst SEO communities have been awaiting the latest version of Penguin for 2 years, it’s fair to say that SEO was irreversibly changed in April 2012 and that since then ‘black hat SEO’ has shrunk commercially and in its effectiveness. For the majority of companies that have been penalised for employing link schemes that don’t meet Google’s terms of use, the stress and misery of losing revenue from a business perspective has been enough to warn people off.


The clear benefits of the Penguin concept are:

  • Maintain quality & consistency within the SERPs
  • Prohibit SEO practitioners from ‘gaming’ the system
  • Redefine ‘SEO’ to what it should be: a result of digital greatness instead of employing trickery

As a Google user you should in theory be enjoying better results than ever with the diminishing black hat SEO being crushed with anti-spam algorithms in real time.

As a webmaster you should be in a position where your vertical or niche has only fair SEO play within it and you there should be less dramatic drops in performance as Google endeavours to minimise significant fluctuations in rankings.

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