Google Penguin 2.1- Can My Website Recover?

Google Penguin 2.1

Has your website recently seen drastic changes in your overall search rank and traffic? Did it happen out of nowhere and you can’t seem to figure out why? Brace yourself, you’ve been hit by Penguin 2.1, Google’s recent update to their current search engine algorithm, Hummingbird. Confused already? You’re not the only one. Let’s start with the basics and work our way to recovery.

Why Does Google Update Its Algorithm?

Anyone who knows anything about SEO understands that Google controls the way content is ranked in the search results and therefore controls which content gets clicked. It’s also not a surprise that when users type a query into Google that they click links on the first page. Think about it, when was the last time you scrolled to page 3 or 4, or even page 2 of your Google search inquiry? It just doesn’t happen. Because of this, ranking on the first page of Google (and more specifically in one of those coveted 1st, 2nd, or 3rd positions), for a highly targeted keyword is a constant battle.

This healthy battle between competing brands is what Google likes to see, and is one of the reasons they continue to update their algorithm. By continuing to update their algorithms, Google is forcing each brand to honestly earn their ranking position and cut back on web spam.

What is Penguin 2.1?

Penguin 2.1 is Google’s most recent update to their overall search engine algorithm, Hummingbird. This particular update was targeted at sites that were deemed to be spamming Google’s search results in order to receive a higher ranking.

According to Search Engine Watch, Penguin 2.1 specifically targeted the following link types:

  • Forum Link Spam– In particular, comments & biographies in forums with exact match keyword anchor texts.
  • Do- Not Follow Blogs
  • Blogroll Spam
  • Low Quality or Spam Directories
  • Blog Comment Signature Spam
  • Large Numbers of Links With the Same Anchor Text
  • Low Quality Website Pages that Link to High Quality Target Pages

Websites whose backlinks consisted of a large number of these types of links saw a quick and sudden change to their search rank and overall website traffic when Penguin 2.1 rolled into effect.

Penguin 2.1 Recovery Tips & Recommendations

Now, before you panic, understand that you are not the only one affected by Penguin 2.1. In fact, Penguin 2.1 affected almost every websites, at least to some degree. So, take a deep breath and focus on correcting the issue at hand.

You can start correcting the issue by downloading and analyzing all of your current links. Then do the following:

  • Remove Unnatural Links– Delete as many unnatural links as possible, including the link types specifically targeted by Penguin 2.1. If you cannot delete them, disavow them.
  • Remove Unnecessary Pages On Your Website – If you thought you were being clever by creating a large number of low quality pages that link to your money pages, you’re wrong. Penguin 2.1 caught you. Chalk it up as a loss and remove those unnecessary pages.
  • Drill down on Exact Match Links– When targeting which links to remove, be especially mindful of unnatural links that contain exact match anchor texts and get rid of the ones that look spammy.
  • Work Hard & Don’t Give Up– Removing unnatural links from spammy websites and spammy locations isn’t going to be easy. But, if you want to improve your website in the eyes of Google, dedicate the necessary time and energy to do so.
  • Educate Your Team– Understand that from this point forward you and your team are in control of what links are associated with your website. It is up to you to educate your team on the benefits of natural link building so that when the next Google update rolls out, you won’t be one of the ones suffering.

In the end, a recovery to Penguin 2.1 starts by focusing on what you can fix, hiring a professional service for what you can’t fix, and ends with amending your bad SEO habits. Follow Google’s lead and win over consumers with the uniqueness of your brand and not your black hat SEO tricks.

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