Penguin 2.1: What’s New with Google’s Angry Bird

Matt Cutts took to Twitter on Friday to announce a minor update to Penguin.

How to Tell if Penguin 2.1 Affected Your Site

For our clients and readers wondering if they are part of the one percent being affected by Penguin 2.1, BCI recommends monitoring your organic traffic in Google Analytics over the next two weeks, looking for a dip. A dip in traffic occurring on this date may indicate that your site has been hit by this update. In some cases, you might see an increase in traffic, which would indicate an outranking competitor took a blow from Penguin 2.1.

penguinWhat is Penguin?

Penguin is an algorithmic penalty, initially launched in April 2012, that targets rankings inflated by way of unnatural links — or in other words, Penguin works to devalue manipulative links in Google’s search ranking algorithm.

Combating Penguin

What’s the solution to a Penguin penalty?

  • Going forward, move away from a “link building” mindset. Over and over, Cutts has warned that links should not be your main focus. The main focus should be the user experience. Focus on creating and promotion quality content, that is useful, has value — in short, create something compelling that people will want to share. If you do succeed, natural links will be a byproduct of your efforts. In a recent interview, Bruce advised site owners how to best deal with Penguin:

All links should be earned, so you do not buy links, you do not reciprocate links, leave spammy, off-topic comments on blogs, or any of the things that are historically listed as bad. You don’t do the things that are generally recognized as generating an inorganic link on purpose. The best way to get links is to earn them, and the best way to earn them is to have quality content, share knowledge and have something worth linking to … Contribute to the industry. Build your brand. Those are the things you should be doing, not playing the game ‘whoever dies with the most links wins.’ That’s not the right way to do it.

  • Familiarize yourself with link building best practices in the post-Penguin age. During this week’s SMX East 2013, master link builders shared their top Penguin-Proof Link Building Tactics.

Penguin Releases to Date

  • Penguin 1.0: April 24, 2012 (impacting around 3.1% of queries)
  • Penguin 1.2: May 26, 2012 (impacting less than 0.1%)
  • Penguin 1.3: Oct. 5, 2012 (impacting around 0.3% of queries)
  • Penguin 2.0: May 22, 2013 (impacting 2.3% of queries)
  • Penguin 2.1: Oct. 4, 2013 (impacting around 1% of queries)

If you believe your site has been hit with penalties resulting from Penguin and are looking for an in-depth analysis, don’t hesitate to contact BCI at (866) 517-1900. Our SEO analysts can identify where your site violates Google best practices and create an actionable plan on how to overcome any ranking drop. Learn more about the SEO Penalty Assessment Service.

Kristi Kellogg is a journalist, news hound, professional copywriter, and social (media) butterfly. Currently, she is a senior SEO content writer for Conde Nast. Her articles appear in newspapers, magazines, across the Internet and in books such as "Content Marketing Strategies for Professionals" and "The Media Relations Guidebook." Formerly, she was the social media editor at Bruce Clay Inc.

See Kristi's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (11)
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11 Replies to “Penguin 2.1: What’s New with Google’s Angry Bird”


It is getting harder and harder to make sites rank in google serps. If google identifies a link scheme like c-blocks, anchors, weak links they act very quickly. It seems that sites from scratch may tuen out to be better performes if the monitoring period is over and google deems them trusted sites. Good content alone is never enough, you need to find a way to let other people know about it. And this is when fight against spam comes in – google wages war on them but changes in the algo can be more painful to innocent webmasters – some of them may fall victims of negative seo, making use of the knowledge they gain about google’s dislikes.

Submission to poor article directoires is DEAD.(i.e penalized sites)
links from poor web directories is DEAD. (i.e penalized sites)
Sitewide links. Very dangerous.
No more anchor text promotion.. (we can promote up to a limit.)
All links from dofollow sites is dangerous.
Links from poor pages. (i.e penalized, banned, low back link profile sites)

So, we need to be very careful while dealing with penguin.

I’ve seen a lot of changes as well. One site of mine has doubled in search engine traffic (I can’t tell what queries now though :|) while a few others have either dropped a little or remained largely the same.

I’ve seen a lot of changes for some of the keywords I’ve been monitoring and noticed some sites took major hits from this update.

I have not noticed any changes for my site, so must not be anything major.

Fewer than 1% of sites affected – yeah, a minor change.

Looking forward to seeing more about how Penguin 2.1 is unique from the rest and what makes it different.

Hey, I have been doing some personal research around this and set up a case study for this exact reason just after the last update check my case study here

Well informed blog post. What I have not been able to get what changes has happened in this update. Sites which are ranking well in all previous updates has impact this time. I have seen the cases where webmasters worked more on social media are also got some impact in traffic. Do you think that if you profile has just 10% bad links even than you are within this update

It was fascinating, honestly. Angry bird in Google? I thought the post will have a discussion about the Angry Bird game update and upgrades. LOL! But it’s not about flying bird but it is about Penguin. :)

Now I know that this Penguin thingy plays a big role in manipulating links Google’s search ranking algorithm. The list of solutions is helpful, most especially to those who I encounter a certain problem in their links.
Thanks for this! Timely post!

I found this post shared on, the Internet marketing social networking site, and I “kingged” it and left this comment.


Looking forward to seeing more about how Penguin 2.1 is unique from the rest and what makes it different.

Gregory Smith


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