This morning I was browsing some information about the Google Penguin update and happened to notice that it was officially launched on April 24, 2012 but only got its endearing name on April 26, 2012.

That means somewhere in the last 2 days Google Penguin had its first birthday.

For those who have not heard the term “Google Penguin” is a code name for Google’s algorithm update designed to lower the rankings of websites that violated Google Webmaster ¬†Guidelines by using black-hat SEO practices such as keyword stuffing, cloaking, link schemes and duplicate content.

So in honor of this important milestone for the Google update that sent the SEO community into a frenzy this past year  here are five highly informative SEO Google Penguin resources that cover everything you need to know about where it has come and where it is going in the future.

Google Penguin 2.0 and Bad Neighborhoods

Search Engine Watch author Simon Penson covers a variety of factors that can indicate your backlinks are coming from “bad neighborhoods” across the web. He says that no one is in a position to determine what is coming next but that we have been warned:

“Google will turn the knife a little more making link building in its former sense a more risky tactic than ever.”

Penson predicts a heightened level of allowable spam in the future and the increased importance of knowing what neighborhoods your backlinks are coming from.

Google Algorithm Change History

SEOMoz puts together a great resource if you are interested in following all the Google algorithm updates. Perhaps you noticed a change in your website traffic and want to see if it correlates with something Google tweaked. Whatever your reason this is a great resource for seeing all of Google’s updates, dating back to 2000!

Google Penguin Infographic

If you preview pictures over words check out this infographic on Visual.ly outlining the impact, how to be prepared and what Penguin combats.

Google Penguin Slide Share from SES London

This is Kevin Gibbin’s presentation from SES London earlier this year that includes some humorous slides to outline how links evolved and where Penguin stepped in. Generally, he says that Penguin penalizes you for thin or weak content that links to you.

Gibbons also outlines where Google is going next and touches on:

  • Increasing data signals
  • Importance of author verficiation and the cost of remaining annonymous on the web
  • Plus what to do if you’ve been hit.
Some of the pieces of advice I like best because they are fairly unique in link building discussions are to:
  • Find out what a #1 site profile looks like in your industry and replicate it.
  • Consider removing links that have no value to users (everyone thinks this but very few have the courage to say it out loud)
  • Focus on human engagement

Ideas for Link Building in a Post-Penguin World

There are thousands of articles listing ideas for how to keep building links for your website. This one by Anna Moseva posted over at MarketingProfs lists some realistic ways to keep building links. Some of the key items of food for thought include:

  • Rely on social not for links but for sharing and ask yourself what the point of your social fans and followers if you aren’t showing them your content?
  • Don’t focus on building links to just one page. Most of your real content is on inner pages of your website where you put videos, posts, articles, guides etc. You need links to these resources.
  • Quality over quantity means that getting one really good link from a high quality blog is much more valuable than 30 links from unreliable, shady sources.

What the Future Holds for Google’s Penguin

So what’s next for link building and how Google evaluates our website and the link neighborhood it lives in?

Matt Cutts (head of webspam at Google) mentioned at SMX West 2013 that we can anticipate a large Penguin update in 2013 that will be one of the more talked about Google algorithm updates of the year.

If you haven’t already it’s time to start taking your backlink profile seriously!

If the Google Penguin update hurt your rankings or website traffic call us at 888-262-6687. We can help you clean up their shady backlink profile in abide by Google’s new Penguin standards.