As we’ve mentioned earlier, Penguin 2.1 is a big step up from Penguin. In fact, it’s such a big innovation regarding the original Penguin update that many SEO’s are really beginning to feel the pain brought by this latest update. If penguin 2.0 was such a major update that it needed at its own update number, Penguin 2.1 stands out as a particularly painful update. How painful? One of the biggest assets a website has is its page rank. Page rank is Google’s estimate of how valuable your website is in terms of content authority and overall value to your readers. well, as you can well imagine, Google used this particular score to calculate how much weight to give certain back links. For example, if your website has a lot of links pointing to it from websites that have page ranks of 7, 8, 6, Google will probably rank you higher than if most of your back links come from websites that don’t have page rank or have page rank zero or 1. Do you see where this is going? In other words, Google is playing the old game of guilt by association or birds of the same feather flock together. So if more quality websites link to you, in Google’s estimation your website is probably a quality website.
Well, penguin 2.1 saw the hole in that strategy. The hole was that people would manipulate their page rank by driving many links to their site from many different website with zero to no page rank and then farming all that page rank to then link from that site to another site which they’re trying to build up. In other words, SEO spammers found a way to zero page rank or low quality websites into a link feed to a second tier of websites that would increase in page rank by a little bit. They would then link from this intermediate layer of websites to a higher layer of websites. They keep repeating this until the page rank increases so much that the actual target of this whole scheme benefits tremendously. Well, there many names for this type of linking scheme. Some people call it a link wheel, others call it link farming. Regardless of the name people use, this practice suffered a serious set back with Penguin 2.1. If you build the page rank of your website by using spam activity, by building spam links to a peripheral websites, your page rank will actually go down instead of going up.As a result, you can do one of two things, you can disavow all those low quality links in the past that depressed your page rank or you start from scratch. There are many websites that are now asking people that are linked to them to remove those links. This is easier said than done, and many times, those target websites are abandoned. Meaning your request will fall on their deaf ears. In other cases, they want to teach you a lesson because you spammed their site. So, it’s going to be very interesting how Penguin will continue to evolve. But regardless, its impact on page ranks is a definite kick in the groin for many search engine professionals.