Initially termed as Over Optimization Penalty or Web Spam Algorithm Update, the Google Penguin Update has come as a shocker for the sites hidden under the black hat SEO.

Just when most of the SEO companies are learning to cope with the Panda Update, which created a real stir among the 'low quality sites', the Penguin Update has shaken the earth by penalizing many sites for spamming and over optimization. While those companies which swore by ethics and guidelines are all smiles, the webmasters who aligned for shortcuts are now losing their sleep over the declining ranking of their sites.

Penguin Update is an attempt by Google to identify and penalize the websites that are believed to have violated its existing quality guidelines. Google has always strived to target web spam in its ranking and this transformation in its algorithm is an aggressive move towards it.

With the Penguin Update, Google has encouraged the webmasters to create high quality sites, which rely on engaging and informative content along with white hat SEO methods. It is certainly bad news for those who are more inclined towards keyword stuffing and link spam.

Following are the most common issues attracting the wrath of Penguin Update:

Paid text links employing identical anchor text

One of the targets is the paid text sponsored links that employ identical match anchor keywords. Google deems it revolting the guidelines as the links are leveraged only to enhance the page ranking instead of delivering any benefit to the users.

Backlinking from article directories with poor content

Some of these websites are devoid of high quality and informative content and feature articles which muse on employing exact match anchor text backlinks. The worst shock came to prestigious article directories like Ezine Articles and Article Base which have been penalized for some unnatural links and witnessed a drop of 93% in SEO visibility in the last month.

Linking via guest posts on low quality blogs

Guest posts are indeed a legitimate and ultra powerful tool if used in right blogs and sites and can earn rich links for you. But the guest posts done on the questionable sites, with below quality content and identical match anchor text deviate from the Google guidelines.

Links from comment spam

The links from comment posts are generated in two forms, first being the identical match anchor text employed as signatures and the second form involves comments comprising the exact match anchor keywords which they want to highlight.

Linking from sites considered dangerous

The sites which create links or pages with phishing, Trojans, installing virus or other malware or badware behavior are considered dangerous by Google and the sites and pages linked to them are also considered infected by Google automatic scanners. These infected sites are then placed low in ranking to prevent other users from reaching these dangerous sites.

The introduction of Penguin Update is just another step by Google to restrict unethical practices in the web world besides enhancing content quality and user experience. Noticing the aggressive approach, it seems that Google is not going to stop here. It is likely that the Penguin and Panda will be joined by more friends soon and unleash a mass attack. The best strategy to combat it would be to seek the services of an SEO company which strives to reach the top of the SERP via the ladders of Google guidelines. The website ranking achieved herewith would certainly be friendlier with Panda, Penguin and their unexpected refreshes.

Shabir MS is the founder of SEOValley, which is one of the top search engine optimization companies in the world and has helped thousands of companies grow their businesses as a result of its unique, cost-effective, results-oriented approach to internet marketing services and solutions. SEOValley was founded in 2001, at a time when there were just a handful of SEO companies and not much was heard about the Internet Marketing.