Google Algorithm

Penguin Update

Glossary  |  2 mins

Read the next term in our glossary

The Google Penguin update is a search algorithm update that was first launched on April 24, 2012. The update was designed to reward high quality websites and penalise those that go against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, particularly those that published high volumes of poor quality content through content farms and similar schemes.

The algorithm update has demonstrated its effectiveness through the wide ranging impact it’s had on the SEO industry. Following its initial release, it affected 3.1% of English-language search engine inquiries, and since then it has supercharged Google’s ability to prevent spam content and manipulative search marketing.

Google first began curbing a rise in spammy, low quality content using its Panda algorithm. By 2012, however, they needed to do more in this area, and developed the Penguin update to effectively cover Panda’s blindspots, particularly in the way of prohibited link building tactics.

The Penguin update was created to help quality, relevant content get the visibility it deserves, while penalising poor quality content churned out in batches with the sole intention of manipulating SERPs.

To align your site with the Penguin update, you need to stay wary of black hat SEO, and follow Google’s basic principles of providing quality, valuable content to people who are searching for it. Having said that, Google Penguin isn’t a one-trick pony, and takes several factors into account when influencing a site’s rankings.

To maximise your chances of strong rankings, make a point of publishing good content, building high quality links from high quality sites, and avoiding black hat SEO tactics or services at all costs.

If you’re concerned your site is being penalised due to the Panda update, the three best ways to review and fix your Panda compliance include:

  • Reviewing the content of your website for quality, paying special attention to signs of over-optimisation
  • Auditing your backlink profile and eliminating any low quality and unnatural links that associate your site with poor quality content
  • Reviewing your company’s history of third party SEO services, and screening for any other black hat elements which could be undermining your site’s value in the eyes of Google
Back to glossary

EBook Icon eBook

Download a PDF version of our glossary for everything you need to know


Penguin Update FAQs

What is the Google Penguin update?

The Google Penguin update is a core algorithm update that was rolled out with the intention of penalising sites that were characterised by poor-quality content, and helping the visibility of high quality sites that are better aligned with Google’s webmaster guidelines.

When did the Google Penguin update happen?

The Google Penguin update is a search algorithm update that was first launched on April 24, 2012.

Questions to ask your link builder