How Google Is Closing SEO Loopholes In Penguin

Penguin-BSay good-bye to overnight search visibility and unnatural links. A study of 500,000 links shows that Google has been steadily reducing its tolerance for Web spam and now penalizes sites with as little as 50% suspicious links in their profiles, according to a report released Tuesday.

The loopholes are being tightened for search engine optimization, and marketers must turn to a long-term focus, rather than short-term gains. The report from Seattle-based Internet marketing company Portent shows the growth from 80% nearly a year ago when Google first launched Penguin. It follows the lead of Matt Cutts, head of Google's Web spam team, who told search marketers last week to expect new changes to Penguin.

Potent looked at tens of thousands of links pointing at the top 50 Web sites on the Inc. 5000 list, crawling each URL and using a proprietary tool to score them on the likelihood of being spam. It turns out that 36 of 50 Web sites have "clean" profiles, with less than 10% of links coming from questionable sources. A fifth of the sites have 11% to 39% of links likely being spam. And four Web sites are at risk of being penalized, with at least 40% of links coming from suspicious pages.



Potent then analyzed the "highly suspicious profiles" of the four sites to see whether they are being penalized by Google. Two stood out and supported Portent's theory. One -- a construction Web site with a link profile of 80% suspicious links -- lost much of its search rankings in April 2012, when Penguin first rolled out, according to the report, but has since partially recovered and ranks in the top 10 for most target phrases.

Companies should remove any links that were not gained through "real marketing," defined by Google. While many marketers view Google's work as positive, I can't help but read this list of guidelines as a map for the freedom of speech under Google's guidelines. To accommodate the rules, the report suggests removing any links that come from key phrases in press releases, articles directories, poorly written blogs and link lists, random forums, bookmarking sites, and anything that looks or feels suspicious.

Overall, Portent collected data on more than 250,000 links pointing at penalized sites and 250,000 links pointing at non-penalized sites to determine their percentage of suspicious links and when they were penalized by Google. The company used this to estimate Google's threshold for what it considers a spam link profile. It analyzed 33,000 valid links, along with SEOmoz and Majestic SEO data for each incoming link, crawling each page. It used a machine-learning-based algorithm to find pages fitting the profile of a link "spam page," with each page receiving a 0-1 score based on this algorithm, and a higher score meaning a higher likelihood of spam.

3 comments about "How Google Is Closing SEO Loopholes In Penguin".
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  1. Thomas Pick from Webbiquity LLC, March 19, 2013 at 7:19 p.m.

    I know that links such as keyword links in news releases and bookmarking sites don't carry the weight they used to, but is Google actually penalizing such links now?

  2. Akshaj Rawat from ASR Digital Consultants, March 19, 2013 at 11:01 p.m. usual Google and its ways of working. It seems Google is working only for big businesses and to get more profit from PPC accounts. How can small business put so much of an effort and money that is required to remain within SO CALLED set guidelines by GOOGLE to create links for their website. It seems Google is leaving no option for small businesses but to opt for traditional marketing.

  3. Steven Arsenault from, March 20, 2013 at 12:02 a.m.

    Love it. Google 'Google real marketing' and page 1 has no Google info but a big fat 'BUY Adwords' ad on the bottom. Matt Cutts has; 'left the building' on an extended away time from everything online....

    and my fav - Google Webmaster Tools SEO Help
    and they say:
    If you feel that you were deceived by an SEO in some way, you may want to report it.

    In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) handles complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices. To file a complaint, visit: and click on "File a Complaint Online," call 1-877-FTC-HELP, or write to:

    Federal Trade Commission
    Washington, D.C. 20580

    If your complaint is against a company in a country other than the United States, please file it at


    Is this the like my grand ma used to say - the pot calling the kettle black or something?

    A while back the US Government split up the telephone companies because they were a monopoly had has too much power over things.

    Is this a bit of 'de ja vue' or am I just 'seeing things'?

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