I haven't been in Google back-rooms.  I have never met the Penguin personally.  But I can make observations.  It seems the pursuit of truth and honesty is one of the underlying messages taken from the ordeal.

I have discussed the recent update with many web masters and business owners and seen sites hit by the update.  Both for the reasons stated in all the recent press surrounding Penguin as well as sites that do not fall within the filters criteria.  Many result pages show empty sites and spam sites still.  I think we are on to something here.

And the Penguin update name doesn't just come from another cute black and white bird, but is more closely related to a penguins sense of smell.  Algorithmically, the filter uses its "sense of smell" to associate authority (or lack their of) related to the site much like penguins use their sense of smell to identify their partner or offspring.  As we know of the penguin, they set off into the ocean in search of food to feed their partner when they return.  How does a penguin find its partner, navigating its way through the masses of spam when it returns, with it's sense of smell.

The Market of Google
The 'market' of Google houses regulations. There are particular 'ways' in which Google wants advertisers to use its 'marketplace.'  The resulting abuse is not a surprise; it's natural for advertisers to test limits when it comes to making money.  However, those who decided to go too far were penalized.  There is such a thing as 'too' far; and, there is an associated level of expectation for people to adhere to 'the lines.'

Did Yahoo's Scott Thompson adhere to the lines?  One can argue for the 'not entirely' side.  To be blunt, he lied about his schooling.  He danced around the lines to get the job.  Did he have 'bad intent' toward any entity?  It's very unlikely; but, smearing the lines is an offense in itself.   Despite apologies, Thompson was ousted from Yahoo.

Another high-profile person is in the news this weekend too.  Roger Clemens, the great retired pitcher of the major leagues, was on trial in the US District Court for lying to Congress in 2008 regarding conversations related to steroid usage.  Another gentleman says he saw Mr. Clemens use steroids on several occasions.  Mr. McNamee states he injected Clemens with hormone-influencing drugs in 1998, 2000, and 2001.

Mr. Clemens is not the only baseball or sports star of this generation to be accused of using illicit methods to physically produce satisfying sports results.  The desire to perform well is not uncommon.  However, the desire to produce must adhere to the regulations hosted by professional sports.  Otherwise, the players are making transgressions and must be dealt with accordingly.  Penalties not only punish transgressors but send message to others.  It reinforces the integrity of the lines.

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The Philosophy of the Penguin
The Penguin's philosophy is not as terrorizing as the sentiment of lost rankings, resources, and money.  We need lines.  Otherwise, there would be no structure or order to allow for success or failure; without the lines, there would be no direction for the notion of progress to follow. 

Are those, affected by Penguin, malicious souls?  Is Scott Thompson a horrible person? Should those who cheered for Clemens as a player, now jeer the man who may have lied about steroid usage, about evading the lines?

It's a philosophical question I can't answer for everyone; but, maybe it's better for us to separate the crimes from persons and to understand the 'crimes' stemmed from desires to do well, to prosper.  Those desires are not wicked.  However, the notion of bending, stretching, and ultimately dismissing the lines cannot go unnoticed or punished.  Otherwise, we tamper with the intrinsic value of success, why the 'desires' to do well exist in the first place.  In theory, the Penguin secretly champions those playing within the lines.  The Penguin's philosophy is a righteous and needed one.

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The Reunion of Friends
And with the return of the penguin from the ocean I am mostly reminded of animated features with happy endings of reunions between partners.  Hollywood loves a good reunion and rewards it by publishing it when they read the script.  But what of the lost penguins who are affected by the masses?  What of the sites that have been plagued by this update?  Are we that far off from an Occupy Googleplex with chants of "No Taxation Without Representation?"

Hold on, let's not get ahead of ourselves.  The Google I know is a for profit company looking to provide its users with the best content in its results through its continued inovation.  Although the Penguin Update doesn't look at content on a site, only the sites linking to it.  

So we await the next refresh (likely) of the penguins adventure out to sea and when he returns to find his mate this time around we can anticipate one of those animated classics.  Lets just hope it's not another Final Fantasy flop.

May 20, 2012

Todd Bailey is Director of Search, Media and PR with Gen3 Marketing and US Brand Ambassador for Majestic SEO. Also, Founder/Editor of pushStar.com


By the time I finished the form input's, totally spaced leaving a comment. Nice work, found this to be interesting. One of the most recent articles on Penguin I gathered good information. In a nutshell, seems if you were not doing something wrong with proper methods then you should not have had much to worry about with penguin.

Very informative. I wonder if the new algorithm of Google search engine launched in last April, which is designed to fight against spam, keyword stuffing, duplicate content and so on, will affect White Hat SEO techniques. Because, sometimes, the difference is very thin.

Thanks a lot for posting such a thought provoking blog post. Even I think that Google's Penguin Updates may not be that negative as presumed to be. Those people who have over-optimized their site may have had to face such penalties by Google. Everything in life should be done in a balanced way, within limits.

"In theory, the Penguin secretly champions those playing within the lines."

I think that's a good way of looking at it. Penguin was designed to catch sites that weren't blatantly ignoring Google's Webmaster Guidelines, but the ones that were on the fence. Some site owners might not have even realized they were toeing the line and they got hit, which is where some of the cries of unfair punishment are coming from.

The Big G Google is now unpridictable. some time ago it banned because content spuning, now it banned us for unnatural links. what is happening, i want to ask a question to all "is SEO is ALIVE?"

I don't really feel any effect from these changes, simply for the fact that Google is not the only thing to concentrate on to attract traffic. If you use a "holistic" approach, you'll begin to worry less and less about Google.

I know many quality websites which use white hat seo tactics, got penalized after penguin update. The main reason is keywords overuse in links anchor text. From now it should be avoided. We've already reconsidered our link building strategy, I hope that helps to boost our rankings

Penguin update has angered & frustrated many people and organizations. I think its Facebook`s gain. Heard that google is comingup with highend Googleme social network. Beware Facebook!!

For me this update wasn't so "evil" as people are calling it. But even so, sites that did everything by the book got punished for no reasons and that's something I really don't agree with...

We and countless others played by Google's rules. They said submitting URLs to directories is OK, as long as you do not pay. They particularly favor the Open Source Directory (DMOZ). Many of us submitted our sites to free only directories as well as directories that offered both free and paid links, selecting only the free links. It turns out that some directories that were once free now require payment.

The bottom line, many of us never paid for links but now Google says we did pay for links and they are brutally punishing us. I recently tried to contact all directories that Webmaster Tools says we have links on in attempt to have our links removed.. Many of these directories have no way to contact them. Others say it will take months to remove the link unless we pay them to do so...so I paid three sites to remove our links, even though we never paid to have the links included.

How does anyone get this message to Google's decision makers that they are unfairly hurting many sites that played by Google's rules and never paid for links?

Google is operating a public utility. Why should the Government let them run a public utility using the Internet when Google is unfairly discriminating against countless sites that played by Google's rules?

Is there anyone ethical at Google that will re-think what they are doing. Many of us have spent countless hours getting to page 1 or 2 and Google makes one change and we are dead for all practical purposes.

Hi Todd,
I believe that Google is doing a good job with all its updates.

Think of all webmasters spammers who have made ​​a pit of money, cheating the rules of that time, with various tricks.
Is this right? Certainly not.

It is correct to reward those who work hard every day, building compelling content and quality.

Then it may happen that on the way, these "good sites" will receive a penalization, but probably they will make future adjustments to recover.
Or if they do not recover, it is because they too have done something "bad."

Although the Penguin Update doesn't look at content on a site, only the sites linking to it.

How do you know this?

Some people cite Cutts referring to an over-optimization update and associate this with penguin. Why would an over-optimization update not consider on-page content?

I really like reading this philosophy of penguin and its sense of smell. Penguin update caused an abrupt fall in the ranking of the site. It aims at penalizing websites containing spam content. Keyword stuffing and duplicate content are mainly highlighted. Thanks for the share!!

Google penguin is mostly FUD (fear uncertainty and doubt) spead by google to get people to quit

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