Penguin 2.1 the fifth iteration of Google's low quality links filter has now arrived

Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, announced the news on Twitter that the latest iteration of Penguin was launched on Friday 4 October. The update is reported to affect around 1% of all search queries.

Keep an eye out for visibility changes

Searchmetrics.com is typically quick to react to Penguin updates and release data that its site visibility monitoring system has detected. Look out for an update on the Searchmetrics blog or follow its updates on Twitter (@searchmetrics). The information is always useful in understanding what websites have been affected.

Mozcast (a weather report showing turbulence in the Google algorithm) had not been updated at the time of writing this blog post. We expect the temperature to rise when the data is refreshed later on today.

mozcast Penguin 2.1 the fifth iteration of Googles low quality links filter has now arrived

What Fresh Egg has seen so far

  • Greater SERP variations (fewer results from the same domain)
  • More domains being displayed after page two

The first impression of this latest update is that Google has ‘fixed’ one of the major issues of Penguin 4 (2.0). Google SERPs that Fresh Egg monitors had displayed an overwhelming amount of domain clustering. Thankfully, the clever bods at Google appear to have fixed this.

Dr David Sewell (SEO Consultant) at Fresh Egg commented:

“There are less deep pages from the same site appearing in SERPs, where just two domains appeared after page two, there are now lots of domains appearing.”

Penguin update timeline

Penguin 1 – April 24, 2012 – impacted 3.1% of queries

Penguin 2 – May 26, 2012 – impacted less than 0.1% of queries

Penguin 3 – October 5, 2012 – impacted 0.3% of queries

Penguin 4 – May 22, 2013 – impacted 2.3% of queries (Penguin 2.0)

Penguin 5 – October 4, 2013 – impacted around 1% of queries (Penguin 2.1)

Things to remember about Penguin

  • It is specifically a links-based filter
  • It is automatically applied; it is not a manual penalty
  • The filter looks for unnatural link patterns including:
    • High use of ‘money’ anchor text
    • Irrelevant geo-specific links
    • Low quality directories
    • Comment spam
    • Low quality blogs

If the website you are responsible for has seen a loss of visibility since 4 October, you will need to apply due-diligence on the backlink profile. Tools that will help you in this process include:

Penguin 2.1 next steps...

If you are unsure what it is you are looking for and have think your website has been affected by Penguin 2.1 then call Fresh Egg on 0845 373 1071. Our team are on hand to assist you in facilitating recovery.


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