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Google Penguin Update 2018: What You Need To Know

After finding out about Black Hat SEO tactics, Google has released nearly a dozen named algorithms in over a decade. That is on top of unnamed core updates that have significantly changed how websites are being ranked in the SERPs. One of them is the so-called “Penguin” algorithm.

What is the Penguin Algorithm?

Released in 2012, this particular algorithm covers bad practices in link building and was initially known as the “webspam algorithm update.” Basically, an algorithm by Google is a software crafted to determine a webpage’s rank in the search engine results depending on various factors.

Shortly after the Penguin algorithm was released, Google explained that it is an effort to rid the SERPs of violators of the regulations on “webspam.” Also known as “link spam,” this term refers to a black hat SEO tactics that utilize backlinks from other websites. Most of these pages are of low-quality and have little or no relevance to search queries, making it a top target for Google’s crusade.

The History

When Google unleashed Penguin, many websites dropped in SERP ranking. After some thorough research and observation by webmasters, they found out that the algorithm was aimed at pages with spammy backlinks.

However, the algorithm rollout wasn’t the end of it. In fact, Google continued to release periodic updates to make it more efficient. Its second version which was rolled out in May 2013 changed its approach to a holistic scrutiny of websites. It went beyond the home pages and into the top-level category pages. From there on out, Penguin started to go deeper into each website’s contents in search of link spam.

In 2014, a third version was released. Although it was actually just a data refresh, Google Penguin 3.0 allowed webmasters to start anew by letting those that cleaned up their backlinks to recover and penalizing those who were missed in the earlier releases.

By the third quarter of 2016, Penguin has become an integral part of Google’s core algorithm. This allowed more websites that were “cleaned” to regain their footing in the SERPs and refreshing results were more instant this time around.

Understanding Penguin 4.0

After the fourth and most current version of Google’s Penguin algorithm was released, the Internet company presented websites that are being targeted by competitors with more protection. That is, through Penguin 4.0’s devaluation of bad links.

This makes more sense than punishing websites that use them. After all, not every website with bad links actually has 100 percent of the fault. According to SEO experts, there are instances when malicious webmasters threw spammy links at competitor websites to bring their rank down. Fortunately, Penguin rendered bad links useless as they are now equivalent to garbage and considered non-existent links.

How To Abide By Penguin

Since the Penguin algorithm is all about having reputable backlinks, the main thing a website must have to avoid getting pushed down the SERPs is to have quality links. However, it is not the only thing you can do.

According to specialists, it is imperative that you monitor the quality of links to and on your website. There are plenty of online tools to achieve this, although a general rule is to avoid adult-themed websites. Some foreign websites, especially those that aren’t well-known, also tend to have love-quality content.

Webmasters are also advised to check if your anchor texts are naturally incorporated in the flow of sentences. This means you shouldn’t use the same anchor texts every single time.

Avoiding paid links are also in your best interest as there is no guarantee that these would remain on the website for longer periods of time. Moreover, this tactic is considered as black hat SEO and shouldn’t be practiced if you wish to be on Google’s good side.