With Google’s 5th Penguin update you may be wondering what changes you will see in your rankings.

Released on October 4th, Penguin 2.1 is the newest arrow in Google’s quiver for the fight against poor quality linking and SEO efforts that seek to service only the ranking algorithms, while ignoring the user.

The stated goal of algorithm changes is to constantly improve search results by returning sites that provide a great user experience and serve the searchers informational needs.

Google wants to reward people who put time into making quality websites, while removing results that offer little to no value to the searcher.

What is the target of this update?

Penguin 2.1 seeks to further devalue manipulative links and paid or automated (read: poor quality) linking strategies and penalize the worst offenders. Some examples include:

  • Large quantities of links with optimized anchor text
  • Text advertisements that pass PageRank
  • Low quality directories and bookmark sites
  • Automated linking programs
  • Widely distributed links in the footers of various sites
  • Paid backlinks
  • Link exchanges

Who will be affected by this update?

According to Matt Cutts, head of the Google Webspam team, this change will affect only about 1{e108bb21be762fc6fa6f79a68ef8277ec5dd508afc1fd385a5d42c82a88a4204} of sites to a noticeable degree.

The best way to determine if this update will affect your site is to monitor your analytics and specifically your organic traffic. If you have seen a drop in your traffic patterns over the past couple of weeks, you could be part of the 1{e108bb21be762fc6fa6f79a68ef8277ec5dd508afc1fd385a5d42c82a88a4204}. If you are doing things correctly, you will not see any negative effects.

You may actually see a boost in your rankings and traffic if one of your competitors took a negative shot from Penguin 2.1.

I wasn’t affected, but I’m worried I might be with a newer update. What should I do?

Generally these updates devalue backlinks rather than outright penalization.

That means that when they do affect you, they are simply pulling away the authority that has been given to you in the past by making the links of no value in the algorithm.

It is possible, however to incur penalties on a website for some of the more explicitly black hat and manipulative linking practices that are out there. Check out our blog post on how to recover from a Google penalty to preemptively remove some of the low quality linking that may have been done in the past. For a list of poor linking schemes reference Google’s list.

How do I improve my rank while avoiding possible penalties in the future?

Get out of the link building mindset. If there is one thing you take away from this blog, make this the thing. Google has told us time and time again that links should not be your main focus.

Focus on creating an awesome user experiences by writing compelling content, answering relevant questions and making information easy to find. Forget building links and focus on building your blog. Content creation is the future of online marketing, links should come naturally if you build the user experience and create the content that people are seeking.

This sounds like a lot of work, how can I get help?

Digital Flavor focuses on creating awesome user experiences. We use an inbound marketing philosophy to help attract, convert, close and retain customers. Visit our site today to learn more about our services and how we can help you, or sign up for a free website analysis to see some of the basics of where you are at with your online impact and where we can help you to grow. Above all else, remember that content is king!