Penguin Algorithm

[Infographic] Post-Penguin Google Analysis (and How to Adapt to It)

It’s been more than a year since Google first introduced Penguin Algorithm Update. How has Google search result changed? Did Google Penguin kill off link spam as it promised? What makes site rank high on Google today (and what will cause penalty)? How do SEOs adapt to the new post-Penguin Google?

Last month (April), I took a deep dive into 280+ before- and after-Penguin results to search for some answers.

Post-Penguin Google Analysis infographic

The infographic below displays some of my key findings, you can check out my complete case study here.

Post-Penguin Google Analysis

Adapting To The New Post-Penguin Google

The purpose of my case study is to understand the new Post-Penguin Google and fine-tune my personal SEO strategy in future. Here are some of my tips on adapting the Google’s new pet.

Link Quality Is More Important Than Quantity

From now on, your primary SEO focus is to build a domain trusted by Google instead of back links.

In general, SEO thinks that all Google Penguin do is to catch link spam. However, things seemed a little different when I took a closer look. Penguin hurts sites with low Domain Authority the most and tends to be more forgiving to sites that run on a trusted domain. In other words, if a site that relies on low quality links were caught buying links, the punishment will be harsh; whereas many big names and well-established websites with lots of quality back links are able to escape with their questionable link building practices.

If I could only offer one tip for your future SEO campaign, it would be “Build Trust, Not Link‘. When you obtain a link (be it a link trade or a guest post link), ask yourself: Does Google trust this website? What will Google think of my site if I get a link from this website? A back link from an authoritative website is worth hundreds of low quality links.

Link Diversification

Diversify everything you can in regards to back links. Yes, I mean everything. Googles spokes person has repeatedly mentioned that the search engine wants to see a natural link profile. “Less SEO is better SEO”, as they said.

Admittedly, less SEO is not the best SEO tactic we see in the real world (com’on, you know how these PR people like to tweak their words and confuse us, right?). But then again, let’s sit in Google’s shoes for a while and ask ourselves: How does a *natural* link profile look? Isn’t the answer obvious?: Variety!

If you are using only one or two link building methods, change that now. In case you are focusing on the same set of anchor texts for the past 12 months, change that now. In case you only buy links from websites with high Google PR only, change that now. The idea, again, is to diversify everything regarding links – use different anchor texts, obtain links from different types of web pages with different TLDs, place your links at different locations (footer, sidebar, homepage, inner pages, header, comment section, in-content, etc), build links from directories and wikis and social networks (if you haven’t try it before).

Starting Over Again

If you’re not too concerned with branding, making a new site and starting over again might be the better option. According to a poll result at SE Round Table, more than 90% of the voters said that they have not recover from Penguin one year later. Webmasters who had that Penguin’s slap one year ago are still feeling the pain one year later. I have seen companies spend tens of thousands (if not millions) to build new content and back links to revive a Penguin-penalized site and get nothing back in return.

Jerry Low blogs about search and web marketing strategy alongside with a team of rock star bloggers at Web Revenue. You can also find more from him at Google+.


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{ 12 comments… add one }

  • Tauseef Alam December 11, 2015, 1:53 am

    I have recently read that Google is coming up with a real time penguin. Is that true?
    How it going to work in real time? Any idea.

  • Jafar Dhada July 30, 2013, 12:33 pm

    I always love to see Infographics as they are so Catchy and informative.

    Well, penguin has done a big impact on our minds, and there is some useful tool to recognize which penalty has been your website got, i don’t remember the name of it.
    Well nice post and well put!

  • Louis June 9, 2013, 3:58 am

    I think yes, we need to focus on getting links from trusted sites. If I am to launch a bad link campaign to my competitors, I would submit their link to low quality sites so I guess Google will less likely drop a site’s rank just because it receives links from low rep website.

    • Jerry Low June 9, 2013, 12:21 pm

      I couldn’t agree more – especially if you look at the latest Penguin 2.0 results. Google is putting a lot of love to trusted sites and ranking them well on tons of long tail keywords. However, do note that brand doesn’t equal to trust anymore these days. The Salvation Army and Educational Testing Service (ETS) are well known brands; but they are also two of the biggest losers in Penguin 2.0 update.
      Jerry Low recently posted..How to Create an Infinite Scrolling WP siteMy Profile

  • Jerry Low May 28, 2013, 6:11 am

    If it’s okay to drop a link here – A quick followup on the subject, read my Penguin 2.0 Roundups, Studies, and Losers Analysis here: http://www.webrevenue.co/search-engine-optimization/penguin-2-0-roundups-studies-and-losers-analysis/ There are plenty of confusions, noises, and false claims floating around the Internet – ignore them and focus on what should be done.

  • James Johnston May 26, 2013, 9:07 am

    Thanks for sharing this great infographic its insightful. I have some issues with the new update and I am working on correcting them.

  • Karen Maskall May 21, 2013, 1:31 pm

    Thanks for post Jerry

    I read over and over again about using as much different anchor text as possible but with commenting in particular this is really difficult to do because your name is your name after all and sites ( including my own) won’t allow commenters to use keywords. Nobody wants to talk to keywords anyway and some sites allow keywords after the name ( commentluvvers) so thats one way of diversifying the anchor text.
    But in the main commenting only gives you your name as anchor text so have many people refrained from commenting as much I wonder?
    I still add comments on posts I am interested in .. name or keywords or not btw
    Karen Maskall recently posted..Your Ethical Business Can Make a Positive Impact: Pledging for ChangeMy Profile

    • Jerry Low June 9, 2013, 12:26 pm

      Karen, the thing is Google tends to rank sites with a “natural” looking link profile (and I am seeing more of this in Penguin 2.0). If your website or blog has no other type of links but those from comments, don’t you think it’s a little “unnatural”?

      On the other hand, if you are running a real site with some really useful content and do not (so-call) manipulate your link profile, I guess you are safe to to post (manually) as many blog comments as you like.
      Jerry Low recently posted..How to Create an Infinite Scrolling WP siteMy Profile

  • Ryan Biddulph May 20, 2013, 3:46 pm

    Hi Jerry,

    Building trust over links seems to be a very smart approach to me. Stop chasing numbers and start accepting quality links, and you will find yourself performing better with Google’s rankings.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan Biddulph recently posted..Here Is Why You Might Feel Lost as a Cash Gifting CoachMy Profile

  • Reneé Klein May 20, 2013, 3:32 pm

    Hi Jerry,

    I think that on the whole, the updates were great for all of us. Many SEO’s, working for small and big companies, used techniques to manipulate the search engines. You’d be surprised at the number of big companies that have been caught buying links.

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