On April 24th 2012 Google dropped a bomb on websites across the internet as they attempted to fight spam in their search results and return more relevant and useful websites to their users. In short Google Penguin was designed to remove spammers from the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
At least this was Google’s official stance. The reality of the situation, in the opinion of many Seo professionals, differs a great deal.
The Effect of Penguin on Search
Immediately after the release of Penguin (now referred to as Penguin 1.0) the SERPs were thrown into a complete mess. A mess, I might add, that has still not been sorted out. Relevancy in search took a second place to punishment for using seo techniques.
Blank pages, irrelevant websites that had absolutely nothing to do with the search query and hacked sites with malicious trojan viruses started ranking extremely high in the SERPs.
Unbelievably, Google released a statement claiming that the update was a complete success. Many people looked on in utter bewilderment at Google’s stance…at least until Google’s quarterly revenue report was released.
The Real Winner From The Penguin Update
After Penguin was released Google claimed that only 3.1% of websites were affected. However, the entire online seo world was set alight with the explosion of visits to seo froums, blogs and communities from webmasters, seos and ordinary website owners crying about their lost rankings.
Almost every site that had been engaged in seo activities (which accounts for every site owner that wanted to make money online or increase their online presence) was affected.
The reality is that Penguin did not target nor remove spam from the SERPs. It merely targeted websites that used seo tactics and punished them by removing their rankings and replacing them with inferior results that were often irrelevant to the search query.
The truth is simple, seo costs money and good seo costs a lot of money. Therefore the majority of site owners who engage in seo activities are not spammers but real business owners who care about their sites and their business enough to pay for professional help for getting seen online.
A company as large as Google must be aware of this!
The devastating effect of Penguin on genuine businesses left earnest and honest website owners who relied on Internet traffic with only one option to regain their internet traffic and that was PPC (pay per click) advertising.
42% Increase in Google PPC Revenue
Thus site owners who had been previously using their online budget to pay for seo services turned their pocket books over to Google and started paying for advertising instead.
The fact that the SERPs were a complete mess also meant that ordinary Google users were forced to click on the paid advertisements in order to find what they were looking for because the organic search results were so bad.
Spam, hacked sites and irrelevant results were al too prevalent (and still are). So when Google’s Matt Cutts claimed that Penguin was a complete success it makes one wonder what exactly their motives for releasing this update were!
What Did Penguin Target?
Of course you will only be concerned with how to deal with penguin and not the intricate (or not so intricate) details of Google’s business plan.
Penguin was by far the most devastating update to effect webmasters since the beginning of Google so many people looked for complicated and complex algorithm changes as the core root affect.
However, the Penguin update was actually very simple and targeted just one simple seo technique. This one technique though was used by all seos and this is why it had such a huge and devastating effect.