Often known for their tuxedo-like appearance, penguins are highly recognizable flightless birds that can be found exclusively in the southern -er- never mind. Wait, are we talking about the hockey team? Oh.
Google finally released its much anticipated Penguin update last week and the results are finally rolling in.
The original Penguin update, released in April 2012, was created to recognize and penalize sites thought to be spamming search results, particularly through black hat link building techniques.
This update, however, is said to go much deeper into a site than the mother algorithm and will have a much larger impact on certain small areas.
It was highly anticipated that this update was going to penalize unnatural link profiles, causing worry that guest blogging for site links was going to cause a decline in rankings, but this does not seem to be the case.
Anchor text and paid links were two other areas that marketers were concerned about, although neither of these techniques has seen significant penalty either.
Matt Cutts, head of the webspam team at Google, estimates that 2.3% of English queries are affected by this update but that number could vary depending on the level of spam in other languages (Germany allegedly took a large hit from this update).
So far, it seems like the “biggest losers” from this update are adult sites, game sites, and even a few big brands, like the Salvation Army and Dish.com.
Essentially, this update penalized thin sites and sites with questionable and/or untrustworthy links.
Also, sites that deployed heavy usage of exact match anchor text took a hit.
It seems that unnatural links are still the driving force behind even the new Penguin update and other types of webspam have not been targeted — yet.
What should you do about it? Well, hopefully nothing.
Google continues to assert that they support the primary goal of providing the most relevant and valuable content to consumers.
Therefore, as marketers, we should continue to provide useful and valuable content to our consumers. If, however, you were dabbling with a few black hat tactics, this could be the time to pull a Terry and turn a new leaf.
Google continues to crack down on websites that use black hat to boost their rankings and only time will tell how long it takes until your site is knocked.