Holy Algorithm, Batman, the Penguin Strikes Back!

Many website owners were shocked and dismayed to find their sites had suddenly disappeared from page one of the world’s most popular search engine after Google launched its Penguin 5 Update at the end of April. While Google’s recent action has left many website owners blindsided and scrambling to recover lost rankings, the move, while ruffling more than a few feathers, was hardly unprecedented. So, if you have suddenly fallen out of favor with the 800 lb gorilla in the room, what you need to ask yourself is whether you want to get mad, or whether you want to get even.

Even Gorillas Get the Blues

More importantly, you need to ask yourself what is it that the gorilla wants that you aren’t currently providing. For the most part, the Penguin Update was seeking to redress issues regarding link spamming, where sites rely on paid links that have little relevance in the real world and only exist to game the search engines. So if you have been dabbling with link farms, or otherwise engaging in building links with questionable sites, it is time you stopped this practice.

Google also took issue with such tactics as keyword stuffing, where keywords are dropped without rhyme or reason throughout a site in order to influence the search engine spiders. If your text is peppered with keywords that have little relevance to your storyline, or you have hidden text readable only by the googlebots, then you need to clean up your act.

Time to Spring into Action

In fact, one of the best ways to get back in Google’s good graces would be to conduct a bit of spring cleaning in order to prune old or irrelevant content, links and keyword spam. Instead of crying over spilt milk, perhaps you should look at this as a wakeup call that could be put to good use. If it has been more than a year since you updated your site, this would be the perfect time to add some sizzle by dropping in a video or two, or adding Google+ to your social networking scheme. Both these tactics and additional blogposts will help boost your links and ranking, as well as giving your site a fresh new look.

While there are a few additional and highly technical details that the Penguin was designed to curtail, for the most part what every website owner needs to know is that if you are more interested in gaming the search engines than you are in engaging your audience, then you can only expect to get as good as you give. What I mean by that is that if you provide consistent, relevant content on a regular basis that improves visitor experience and delivers value to your customers, then you are going to wind up not only wooing the search engines, but wowing your audience as well, which is why you should be working the web in the first place.

So, if you really want to create a web presence that is more or less bulletproof to the ever changing whims of search engine operators, then you need to stay focused on creating the kind of site that people will want to come back to read time and time again. And always beware of booby trapped umbrellas.

Carl Weiss has been working the web to win since 1995 and has helped hundreds of companies increase their online results. He is president of W Squared Media and co-host of the weekly radio show Working the Web to Win which airs Tuesdays at 4pm Eastern on

About the author


Carl Weiss

Carl Weiss has been working the web to win since 1995 and has helped hundreds of companies increase their online results. He is president of W Squared Media and co-host of the weekly radio show Working the Web to Win which airs Tuesdays at 4pm Eastern on Click here to get his latest book "Working The Web to Win: When it comes to online marketing, you can't win, if you don't know how to play the game!".


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  • It doesn’t really matter what G does. Their search results STILL suck. Just take a look at G’s local business listings on the maps. At LEAST 95% of the listings break all the Guideline Rules and there on the top of the SERPs they sit. Those following the rules can’t get a word in edgewise because of the SPAM and black hat tactics used that G willfully allows. I see it daily and know from whence I speak. Every blessed rule is broken and nothing is done.

    I use only white hat in my work for clients and never need to worry about the G ballroom dance. Just follow the rules and all will be fine no matter what algorithm they think up next.

  • I have been working as analyst programmer since 1962.
    I started using the Web to advertise my property for let as a gite in 2001. The site was good and we were fully booked all summer. I had some great oictures of the house and surounding scenery and attractions.
    I optimised for search engines using webceo and took heed of the advice.
    Apart from one change I stayed with the same Web Hosting ccmpany.
    The usual snags keeping Front Page extensions, Web Expressions 4 and the hosting people swapping servers. Eventually all settled down until along came the recent algoritm changes from Google.
    I lost almost all my unique vistors almost overnight.
    I have now had to spend massive amounts of time and some money to get back to where I am now getting 1/3rd of my best visits.
    I am at a loss to know why this has happened to me.
    Just taking a quick look at the website it is a site sellin diesel parts like solenoids and actuators to companies and individuals to repair their diesel pumps.
    There is no hype or email spam. If somebody can’t find a required part the Contact % Feedback link allows the user to send an email and have the part number found for them.
    For some time I have had 2 link pages with reciprocal links to similat sites.
    Thinking Penguin or other algorithms might be the cause I removed the links almost entirely. Result no change in visitors.
    I am spitting nails on this matter as I am now on £0 income!
    Thanks a bunch Google. You make billions and a bit of slack cutting would not be amiss for us Pensioners trying to make a little pocket mone.

  • That is exactly what i did. Looks like Google ran a refresh or panda update today. I got hit again fro no apparent reason except my site is ten times better. I am switching to Bing and Yahoo for good. The 800lb Gorrilla needs to be chopped down to size. I really hope this puts a nail in their coffins. They hurt to many people with this algo. They have become like the old “Ma Bell”. Time for a change.

    Fact of the matter is Google is like a virus. The real irony herer is they provide “little or no original content” they are a giant scaroer site” go figure. Google is no longer relevant. Real companies Like Microsoft should win this race for market share. Investors will bail on these guys when they miss the quarter and the next and the next. This is bad for business. I guess it is what happens when you get full of yourself. google can go down “like an 800lb Gorrilla” can go down if steps on a thorn. The thing is it is awfully hard to get up when you are that big.