google penguin update

All About Google Penguin Update 2012-2019

What is Google Penguin Update?

Google Penguin was launched in 2012 with the motive of stopping spammy links find their way top the SERP top. The algorithm mainly focuses on link buying and links gained through link networks. It is one of the worst nightmares for black hat SEO practices.

Google is the most powerful search engine. It determines how a website will rank for a given keyword. The Google Penguin update analyses the link farm of your website to see if it is manipulative or genuine.

In order to gain quick SERP ranks, people follow the link spam technique. Here, the website links are placed on other web places that are usually of low quality. These places generally include blog comments or posts.

When Google penguin gets hold of any such site, it makes sure that the site does not rank by any unfair means

Before Google Penguin

Before Google Penguin came into action, black hat SEO tactics were widely used to gain quick ranks. Ranks were gained for a particular keyword by spamming the web with backlinks. Automated tools were used to place backlinks on other websites. The articles or blogs that had a good online score were re-written with tools to get a good quality blog post for their sites.

This whole process was completely unfair for the people who used genuine ways to get SERP ranks. This also affected the user experience of Google.

How it all started

Google Penguin came into existence on April 24, 2012.

Sites that used false means for getting backlinks, started seeing a decline in their ranking. The sites that were earlier ruling the SERP now got to a very low rank. Since then, many Google Penguin updates have come out.

google penguin


Update 1.1 (March 2012)

The update was nothing but a data refresh. The sites that were affected by the algorithm initially but later on improved their backlinks, saw better ranks. On the other hand, cheating sites that were left untouched in the first saw major rank drops.


Update 1.2 (October 2012)

The update affected the English as well as other language search results.

The then Google’s anti-webspam leader Matt Cuts stated in his tweet:


Update 2.0 (May, 2013)

This was a big change in the algorithm.

The algorithm started taking more aspects into considerations other than the website home page and other major category pages to check link spam.

2.3% of English queries were affected mainly.


Update 2.1 (October 2013)
The new update in the Google Penguin led it to crawl the sites deeper to check for link spams.


Update 3.0 (October 2014)

It was nothing but just another data refresh. It has 2 major motives:

  1. Allow the websites to recover from the last updates
  2. To penalize the fraud websites that could not be caught in the earlier updates.

Less than 1% of English search queries were affected.


Update 4.0 (September 2016)

The Google Penguin algorithm now became a part of the core Google algorithm.

The webmasters which removed their spammy links now could see the actual situation of their website. Now instead of punishing any faulty side, Google would simply ignore it while giving positive feedbacks.


Webmasters recovered from Google Penguin Updates

After the release of Google Penguin, some webmasters began cleaning their backlink profile to make it good in the eyes of Google.

how to disavow links

The webmasters would do it by disavowing bad backlinks. They would simply upload the list of such harmful backlinks to the Search Console.

The google would not crawl the listed links while determining the rank for the website. And the site would hopefully get a better position in SERP.

After the update 4.0, sites did not have to make efforts to recover because they did not need it. As stated above, Google would simply disregard the spammy backlinks while deciding a site rank.

How to keep your site safe from Google Penguin affects?

  • Less but good quality links-

To have fewer good links from good quality sites is far better than having a huge number of links from poor sources. Do not choose adult or foreign sites to place your links. There is no point getting backlinks from such sites. If you want to check the quality of a site, you can always use Majestic tool for that.

The tool shows “trust flow” and “citation flow”. Not the values of these metrics for the sites you want to compare on a scale of 0 to 100. Single digit value of these metrics for any website means that the website is of poor quality. A score of at least 20 or more is considerable for any website.


  • Do not overuse keywords as anchor text-

Google Penguin is all about keeping a check on link spams. Black hat SEO practices use keywords repeatedly as the anchor text to a page link.

It is acceptable up to some extent. But if every time the anchor text for a particular page link is the same, it is a clear case of link spam. This is done to get good site rank in SERP. If you are still not sure what an anchor text is, read ahead.

Anchor text is the clickable part in any content that links to some web page. From SEO point of view, keywords are widely used to put as anchor text linking to some related page.

To take action against such blackhatters, Google brought an update in its algorithm. It was done to punish the sites that use one specific keyword in almost every backlinks.

To avoid such punishment, use variations of your keywords as anchor texts.


  • Use curated links-

You can find some good quality content from your niche from the web that has some good rank. Reach out to the content owner to allow you to put your page link in their content. The process is also now as niche edits. Simply because you try to edit a good quality content from your niche with your page link.


Adding links to some existing content gives you a genuine backlink profile. Niche edits or curated links are safe means of getting links for your site. Google considers such links as genuine and thus no link spam risk.

You can buy such links from a good company that will find the best content for you to give you curated links. Buying backlinks are not harmful unless it is a genuine backlink profile. You can even put links to your old content that is of very good quality. Simply updating your old good content to place your link is also a part of niche edits.


  • Do not use automation tools

Getting backlinks with automation tools is a bad idea. The sites and tools available online that claim to generate backlinks for your website are a waste of time and money.

Such tools will give you backlinks from a site that has absolutely no relation with your site. These low-quality backlinks can degrade your link farm. Moreover, such poor quality links will be quickly noticed by Google Penguin.

The time and money you invest in such tricks can be used in developing healthy backlinks for your site.


In conclusion, let us quickly rewind some white hat SEO tricks to get backlinks:

  1. Post content on some good sites
  2. Get backlinks from healthy and high profile websites
  3. Interact with influential people that can give you links for your site from their blogs
  4. Add related links on some good online forums.

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