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March of The Penguin 2.1

Last Friday saw the release of the latest version of Google Penguin, with implications for search engine optimization. The first update since May, Penguin 2.1 is expected to impact only 1% of searches but, as with its predecessors, this could mean some businesses notice a marked drop in web traffic over the next few days.

The main thing Penguin 2.1 targets is inbound links, with a particular focus on links that web owners may have purchased. In this case there is no point in making reconsideration requests – the only useful course of action for owners of affected sites is to remove all the bad links, manually if necessary. In some cases this may include links in apparently acceptable unique articles posted on blogs and websites.

Penguin 2.1 appears to have a significantly improved ability to assess the quality of SEO articles. Unless articles are clearly informative and relevant to the site where they are posted, they are likely to be targeted. If this means that a lot of expensively commissioned content seems destined for the wastebasket, webmasters should not panic; in some cases it may be possible to rewrite the content or even to move it to a different site where it will not experience the same problem.

For those unsure how to track problem links, there are two routes available. The first is to use Google webmaster tools. The second is to identify on which keywords a site has fallen in the rankings and look for links in articles that targeted this keyword. Because other sites will also be falling in the rankings, some sites that have problems may not notice them immediately but could experience a drop later on as their rivals remove their own offending links and start to do better.

Why Penguin 2.1 and not Penguin 3 (or even 5, given how many there have been in the past)? According to Google this is because the changes made to the basic Penguin 2 algorithm are only minor, applying to the data used in filtering rather than the central code itself. Despite Google's interpretation, however, it already seems to be causing major problems for some websites.

The pressure of keeping up with changes such as this is part of what makes managing search engine optimization directly a difficult job to manage alongside running a business. For professional help to make sure your site keeps ranking highly, contact Xcellimark by calling (888) 318-3950 ext.211.

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