It was on the 4th of October when Matt Cutts announced the release of Google Penguin 2.1. As you can imagine, almost all webmaster put their activities to a stop. Keeping in mind that a Google algorithm update could mean massive changes to your site, you get to understand why majority of webmasters received the news with a less than happy attitude. However, even with everyone claiming that Google Penguin has done more bad than good, there is need to gain a better understanding of what this update is all about.
What is Google Penguin?
Ever heard of Google Panda? No? Well, this is also an algorithm update. However, unlike Google Penguin, Panda focuses on content. Back to the question, what is Google Penguin? This is an algorithm update that deals with webspam. Keeping in mind that webspam is more of a broad term, it would only be logical to enumerate on the different areas;
1. Anchor text
Paying close attention to the anchor text being used to link your website, Google is checking for anchor texts that are excessively rich in keywords as it obviously appears unnatural. If your site does indeed have majority of anchor texts that's are rich in keywords then Google will go down to the keyword level and lower your rank accordingly. Of course this won't impact your whole website. However, there is a silver lining to it all. Through the diversification of your anchor text and by focusing on branded variations the impact of Google Penguin will be reversed with time.
2. Hacked CMS
A number of webmasters have now had their content management systems hacked because of lack of security or worse yet failure to update the system. As you can imagine, this works to penalize a website not to mention affecting its rank. What's even worse is the fact that, all this can happen regardless of whether it is your fault or not. However, with the Google Penguin, this will soon come to an end as Google focuses on giving webmasters a period of time to fix up any issues before they get penalized.
In the bid to help sites become an authority in their niche and further rank those sites higher, the Google Penguin has introduced a number of changes to make all this possible including rich snippets, sharing activities and author rank just to mention a few.
For those who are not aware, an advertorial refers to a place where you can find links that were clearly sold and not earned by any organization or company. And since we all know that Google does not tolerate the selling and buying of links (its just the same thing as tricking the Google Bots), Google Penguin makes it compulsory for any site that is paying for content placements to include a disclaimer or nofollow links.
Google is constantly making changes to improve the results that show up on a SERP and therefore improve user experience. Whether you agree with the changes or not, at the end of the day, Google gets to decide whether you are on the first or the last page; its best you play along.