In 2012, Google unveiled its new anti-spam algorithm. The primary purpose of this algorithm was to fight against abnormal link building or spam. The new algorithm later became known as the Penguin Algorithm due to a tweet from Matt Cutts.

penguin algorithm matt cutts
penguin algorithm Matt Cutts

Although Google has officially confirmed the name, the philosophy and the reason for its choice have not been formally stated. In the article “An Ultimate Guide to SEO (Search Engine Optimization)” we introduce Google Penguin Algorithm. In this post on the smart strategy blog, we will dive deep into this algorithm in detail.

What is Google Penguin Algorithm?

The Penguin algorithm was a way to fight sites that wanted to rank high using unorthodox methods such as spam linking. The Penguin algorithm is still working and is part of the core of Google’s algorithms.

The algorithm visits websites at various intervals and may penalize the offending site if it detects signs of spam linking or other abnormal methods.

google Penguin algorithm
Google Penguin algorithm


Before the introduction of the Penguin algorithm, the number of links played a more important role in ranking websites. In other words, before the introduction of this algorithm, Google bots paid more attention to websites with more links and placed them in the top rankings of SERP, regardless of the quality of the website content.


What is the main task of the Penguin algorithm?

The Penguin algorithm is Google’s answer to the increasing use of black hat SEO and abnormal link building, Matt Cutts said at the 2012 SMX conference:

“We thought about how to deal with poor quality content and introduced the Panda algorithm to solve this problem. But after introducing this algorithm, we realized that this is just the beginning, and there are still many spam websites. “Then we designed the penguin algorithm to solve this problem.”

This algorithm’s goal was to reduce the effectiveness of black hat methods and for Google to take control of the situation. With a better understanding of the linking process, Penguin could promote websites that received natural and reputable links and rank websites that received spam and fake links from high to low.

In the beginning, Google focused only on incoming links to penalize the wrong sites and paid no attention to the outbound links of the websites. However, the Penguin algorithm also considered outbound links from the site and internal linking.

Fight keyword repetition

The primary purpose of the Penguin algorithm is to check the health of linking sites, but one of its side tasks is to fight against keyword stuffing. In the past, it was enough to repeat our desired phrase with a certain percentage in the content to get a good position in Google results.

Excessive attention of SEO experts to this issue led Google to consider other ways to determine the topic and keyword of the page. Unfortunately, in practice, keyword repetition became known as one of the black hat SEO techniques. The penguin algorithm detects pages that have used this technique and causes them to not rank well in search results.

Penguin Algorithm Updates

When the Penguin algorithm was first introduced in 2012, it caused fundamental changes in search results. According to official Google Penguin statistics, it directly affected 3% of the results. Of course, the changes to the Penguin algorithm were gradual, and with subsequent updates, the algorithm became more effective. However, another significant change to this algorithm was released in May 2013, and with this update, another 2.3% of search results were affected.

As we have said, essential updates were published for this algorithm, and many changes and improvements were made to it. However, many of these updates were not even announced, and Google officially announced some. In the following, we will discuss the changes and updates of the Penguin algorithm that have been officially introduced.

penguin algorithm update history
penguin algorithm update history


The first introduction of the Penguin algorithm (1.1) – March 26, 2012

In this update, the information of this algorithm was updated, and there was no change in the core of the algorithm.

With Penguin 1.1, websites that quickly removed their spam links were pardoned, and many other websites that were not affected in the first phase of the release were trapped.


Penguin Algorithm Update (1.2) – October 5, 2012

On October 5, 2012, Google’s Penguin algorithm was updated to affect search results in different languages. Until then, only English-language sites tasted like penguins.


Penguin Changes (Version 2.0) – May 22, 2013

Unlike previous updates, this update addressed technical changes in the algorithm’s core and affected how it would affect results.

By making these changes, 2.3% of the results were affected. In this algorithm, Google went beyond the main page and essential categories of websites and examined all the pages to find evidence of spam linking.


Version 2.1 for quick correction Version 2 – October 4, 2013

After updating version 2.0, Google noticed the need for more changes to this algorithm. This update also affected one percent of search results.


Penguin Algorithm Information Update (3.0) – October 17, 2014

This time, too, only changes were made to the Google database and the Penguin algorithm, and although it was described as a sweeping change, there was no change in the algorithm’s core.

Google forgave many websites that made up for their mistakes and restored many rankings. However, websites that escaped Google’s radar were caught by penguins using black hat methods.


Last official update (4.0) after two years – September 23, 2016

Two years after updating version 3 of the Penguin algorithm, the latest version of this algorithm was introduced. With this update, the Penguin algorithm was added to the core of Google’s algorithm. You might think that with the addition of this algorithm to the basics of Google, the way it works has changed, but it does not; In fact, this changed Google’s view of the algorithm.

With the changes made in the latest version of Penguin, Google’s attitude towards malicious and spammer sites has changed.

In most cases, Google suffices to disable inaccurate links and avoids punishing these websites as much as possible.

No official Penguin algorithm update has been announced since September 2016. However, significant changes to Google’s core algorithm do not need cross-sectional updates, and search results are analyzed and presented instantly.


Is it possible to return the rank?

In some cases, after web admins cleared spam links, they still did not receive a rebate. There may be many factors behind this, for example:

  • The traffic and rankings obtained were generally invalid through suspicious backlinks.
  • Once the old links have been removed, no attempt has been made to obtain natural and valuable connections.
  • No harmful or erroneous backlinks have been removed, or these spam links have not been sufficiently removed.
  • The problem is generally not with spam links.

When Google and Google forgive you and starts to restore your rankings, you should not expect to return to your former position. You may have gained a remarkable job by buying dubious links, so you should not expect to return to the top, even if you are severely forgiven.

One of the problems for site owners was that it was difficult to estimate the value of the links, so they had to disable all their connections. As a result, many of the valuable links on the websites that earned them a place were lost.


Common Mistakes About Google’s Penguin Algorithm

One of the exciting things about SEO knowledge is that there are always new hypotheses and experiments about it (from unreliable sources). Unfortunately, this has led to many errors in Google’s algorithms. Here are some common mistakes about the Penguin algorithm.

Is a penguin a kind of penalty?

No. The penguins are not a penalty. One of the biggest mistakes with the Penguin Algorithm is that many people refer to it as the Penguin Penalty. At the same time, the Penguin is part of the core of Google’s algorithm.


Disavowing malicious links is the only way to get rid of the fine.

Although this method will neutralize much poor quality and malicious links, you should know that being forgiven by Google requires a lot of time and money.

Therefore, you do not need to focus all your attention on removing and disabling malicious links. Instead, it is better to get natural and valid links simultaneously. This will likely help boost Google’s trust and get your position back sooner.


Is it impossible to fix the penalty of the Penguin algorithm?

This is ultimately rejected and wrong. Although getting rid of fines is a time-consuming and challenging process, if you run it well, you can be forgiven by the Penguin algorithm.



In this article on smart strategy, we thoroughly explain Google Penguin algorithm. To ensure the correctness of your website performance, you can contact us or send your request from the smart strategy SEO services. 

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