Penguin 5 is the fifth update to the Penguin series (also known as Penguin 2.1) of Google’s spam detection filter. Penguin 5 penalises websites that its algorithm says has “low quality back links” and /or “thin content”.
Affected sites can be identified by the sharp drop in ranking (typically between 20 to 30 rank positions) within days of the Oct 5 2013 release. Notably, Penguin 5 impacts all organic ranking results in the site – ie across all terms for the domain.
Read more about Penguin:
- Who are the Victims of Penguin 5?
- What should I do to avoid or recover from a Google Penguin 5 penalty?
- What is a ‘low quality’ Backlink?
Penguin is a part of Google’s results processing that detects and removes or diminishes ‘web spam’ in search results.
Where does low quality content come from ?
‘Low quality’ web content exploded after backlinking became proven as a technique to improve Google website rankings. This lead to commercialisation of backlinking driven by businesses wanting to maximise their exposure in Google. The technique was to create multiple articles online containing links back to the client’s site, and to maximise the value of the link, the link text contained the clients’ target terms. As a result thousands of websites also emerged with the ability to publish articles, directory entries, bookmarks and other forms of ‘thin content’ that could be quickly created to generate the desired backlinks.
In the meantime Google’s Caffeine infrastructure upgrade (August 2009) enabled Google to more effectively digest literally all content on the internet, including this burgeoning ‘web spam’.
Google launched its first major web spam offensive in April 2004 with what has become known as Penguin; a filtering process that identifies and removes web spam from Google’s search results. After several iterations, Penguin version 5 emerged in Oct 5 2013 as a much more evolved ‘web spam detective’ targeting low quality backlinks and ‘thin content’ as these are the signals that Google interprets as web spam.
Particularly notable in recent Penguin releases Google is being more heavy handed with penalties for websites it determines are connected to link spam; applying penalties such as a rank reduction of 20 to 30 positions, sometimes across all searches for the site through to complete removal of the website from Google search results.