What to Expect from Google Penguin Updates

Written by: Jason Bayless | December 08, 2014

If there is one thing that can be expected in the world of online marketing and website management, it is that Google will keep you on your toes with consistent algorithm updates, such as Panda and Penguin. Because these updates have such powerful capacity to impact organic traffic to websites, it is imperative that webmasters and site owner have at least a minimal perspicacity of what they can expect from these updates.

While the latest Panda updates were designed to target substandard or “thin” content, the most recent Penguin update is centered on significantly reducing the amount digital spam on the internet, resulting in a better search engine experience for their users. From the perspective of the user, this is definitely considered a win. There are not many things that can be as frustrating as conducing a specific search only to be bombarded with multitudinous results that have no relevance to your search.

According to Google, the latest algorithm update should only impact approximately one percent of search queries. This is a significant drop from the 3.1 percent impact that was felt throughout the web when the initial Penguin launch took place. With that being said, any new algorithm changes by Google normally generates a certain level of anxiety for businesses and site owners. It is always a good idea to be aware of what can be expected.

Targeting Spammy Links

Google has launched an all-out assault on spammy links. After the initial launch of Google Penguin, the vast majority of businesses that were affected have worked hard to clean up their sites. Unfortunately, many of these businesses reported little to no improvement in their rankings after all of their hard work. To deal with the exasperation of the site owners, Google included an algorithm that is capable of detected the hard work that has resulted in cleaner sites, so these site owners should finally experience the fruit of their labor.

Some businesses are already reporting that their site traffic has increased substantially for certain keywords. For those businesses that still are not noticing any increase in traffic, this may be indicative of the fact that there may still have some more cleaning up to do.

The Global Rollout

The latest update was not propagated in one sweep; it will be carried out of the course of a two to three period in the form of a rollout. This latest update will impact all Google users across the globe; however, it will be primarily focused on English queries. Google’s Pierre Far revealed that the company is not treating this latest adjustment as a complete update; they are viewing it as more of a “refresh.” What this means is that the primary reason for the adjustment was to reward those companies and website owners who cleaned up their sites. At the same time, Far also confirmed that the adjustments that were made to the Penguin algorithm will demote those sites that still have poor link profiles.

Because this adjustment is being executed as a rollout, there will be sites that will not experience any immediate results, so it will take some patience for site owners and webmasters to determine how they have been impacted by the latest changes.

Predicting a Future Update

There are a number of industry experts who believe that the fact that this was really not a major adjustment means that it is likely that a more substantive update is on the horizon. Basically, sites that have invested the time and energy into creating high-quality content and avoiding long-abandoned practices, such as keyword stuffing, should not experience any major impact to their traffic.

It will be immensely important for site owners to pay close attention to their site analytics in order to notice any sudden changes in their traffic. If their site suffers a significant drop in traffic, this could mean that they have been impacted by Penguin, and that they will need to take the necessary steps to rectify the situation.