Has Google updated the Penguin algorithm to improve how it discounts link spam?

Has Google updated the Penguin algorithm to improve how it discounts link spam?

Last week, Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land reported that Google may have silently updated their Penguin algorithm to improve how it detects and discounts ‘spammy’ links.

Despite Google not being able to confirm or deny whether an algorithm change had taken place, Barry Schwartz explains that an update appears to have happened around 1st February, 2017. As he outlines in a Search Engine Roundtable post on 3rd February (the same day the Search Engine Land article went live), most of the tracking tools had shown an update over the past 48 hours. These include MozCast, Algoroo and RankRanger.

He also pointed out that as ‘black hat’ SEO forums have been actively discussing this possible update, the algorithm change is hitting those that utilise “more aggressive” (and unethical) link building tactics. Some users are also saying that this update specifically targets PBNs (private blog networks), with links taking longer to “kick in” than usual.

Barry Schwartz concludes of the update, “If we had to guess, I’d say this is an algorithm update around how Google discredits spammy links, maybe updating the Penguin algorithm or something else.”

The TJM take: Although still unconfirmed at this stage, we also think it’s likely that Google have either released a new algorithm or merely updated Penguin.

We advise you to check your organic traffic ASAP. If there have has been a drop off, then review the link profile. Google tends to roll it’s changes out over time, so it would be worth checking back in a few times over the coming month.

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