If black hat web spam were a bullseye, then Penguin 2.0 would be the arrow, and Google the archer. Penguin 2.0 is a Google algorithm change targeting manipulative link building – a central focus of classic black hat web spam. This comprehensive update will have a greater and deeper impact compared to the original version of Penguin, and thus has created fear among many business owners that depend on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for their livelihood.

If you’ve been white hat and building links naturally then you and your business should be worry free. Penguin 2.0 is focused on black hat SEO’s and spammers. It’s also predicted to affect only about 2.3% of the Internet. So if you’ve been committed to user-oriented quality content, have no fear; Penguin is your friend.

Incubating Success

Don’t get yourself on an endangered species list. New generations should not hurt your growth, but your business should grow as new generations are spawned. Google’s Penguin has developed over the past year creating several generations…

• Penguin 1, released on April 24, 2012 impacting about 3.1% of queries
• Penguin 2 released on May 26, 2012 impacting less than 0.1% of queries
• Penguin 3 released on October 5, 2012 impacting about 0.3% of queries
• Penguin 4 released May 22, 2013 impacting 2.3% of queries

The second and third updates had only minor algorithm changes and are considered data refreshes of the original Penguin. Penguin 2.0 is mainly focused on a website’s backlink patterns, anchor text and linking tactics. Essentially, the previous generations of Penguin would only look at the homepage. This update is a bit more aggressive and targets lower level pages of a site – not just the top level.

Keep in mind Penguin is always evolving. There will be multiple iterations to come as Matt Cutts, the Google spokesman for all things SEO said in the latest Webmaster Help Video, “We have some things coming later this summer that should help with the type of sites you mention, so I think you made the right choice to work on building authority.” Referring to the spam sites that are still ranking in Search Engine Result Page (SERP).

One of the big changes since Penguin 2.0 went live is the Penguin Spam Report. This is where spam sites are reported to Google, taking you to a form asking information about the site that is still ranking. Unlike Penguin 1.0, this feedback form does not give you the option to report sites that should not have been affected by this update.

The Road to Recovery

It’s all about content. Sound familiar? Every SEO article post-Penguin has written a blog on “the new SEO” or content marketing. Truth be told, content marketing isn’t really new at all. The webmasters affected by Penguin 2.0 are most likely the ones still struggling to integrate SEO with content marketing. A strategy of providing relevant content to a targeted audience precedes any Penguin generation or any other algorithm update. Google does a great job at beating the same core message:

1. Build a useful website
2. Develop engaging, valuable content
3. Traffic will appear…

We all know, traffic does not magically appear on your website without any type of marketing. SEO is no longer solely about creating a website for optimal consumption by spiders. It’s about recognizing the demands of your audience and providing them with solutions. If you haven’t already, your business should tap into a content marketing strategy to generate traffic, leads, online visibility and brand awareness.

Know your audience; earn your links by providing valuable, quality information and point readers to further resources effectively placing yourself as a thought leader. This will expand the visibility of your brand by positively affecting your position against competition, therefore resulting in an influx to your bottom line in terms of brand exposure, targeted traffic and conversions.

If you’re one of the 60% of penalized websites still struggling to recover from Penguin, Lead to Conversion can provide you a winning strategy designed to improve and increase your conversion rate. We devise a highly optimized plan uniquely targeted to your brand and your customers. Become best friends with a penguin, and achieve the highest possible level of success through effective online marketing.


Hannah Vergara, passionate for holistic marketing and living.