Penguin 2.1 – Who is affected?

SEO community’s favorite bird is back – Penguin. But in a new avatar Penguin 2.1, and the community is abuzz with who all are hit by it. One thing is for sure – Penguin 2.1 has had a greater impact than all the previous versions.

Why?

Penguin 2.1 can identify link spam more effectively than the earlier version. It can especially identify links that were created after the Penguin 2.0 rollout. Here are some of the culprits:

  • Forum spam: Comments in forums with same anchor text links.
  • Forum bio spam: Biographies of forum users with matching anchor text links.
  • Do Follow blogs: Blog sites that do not have ‘nofollow’ links posted on it. Blogs listed on ‘Do follow’ sites is a clear indication that you are trying to game the system.
  • Blogroll spam: Blogroll links can be a genuine mistake or oversight. However, more bad links than good is an indication you are up to some mischief.
  • Spammy directories: All sites that have links on spammy directories are being severely penalized. Either destroy them, ‘no follow’ them, or disavow them.
  • Blog comment spam: Even those links that are not being followed are being targeted by Google.

Apart from these another culprit is classified websites with loads of unnatural links that lead to destination websites.

How to avoid being hit?

First, go about cleaning your website before Google bots revisit your site. Analyze links and remove or disavow as many as you feel are bad. If necessary remove pages if they are not important.

Penguin 2.1 is hell bent on targeting all sorts of unnatural links. No amount of social media activity or fresh content can help you recover. Analyze your link profile and watch out for exact match and rich anchor text. All those links that can be removed should be removed, those that can’t should be disavowed. If a domain is spammy junk it all together, trying to target only a few pages on such domains will not help.

Keep a watch, and guard against unnatural links being added to your website. Cleaning up your site is not a onetime activity; it has to be done regularly. Move fast and try to recover before the next version of Penguin hits the SEO world.

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