Are Web Dev’s being innocently penalised by Penguin 5?

Google Penguin

Fabulous image stolen from

One of the bitter sweet things about working in SEO is responding to Google’s Updates.

  • Bitter because clients and associates’ businesses occasionally get hurt by them.
  • Sweet because I enjoy the intellectual stimulation of distilling vagaries, rumors and research into workable strategies. 

Google’s latest anti-spam release Penguin 5 which landed here Saturday 6 Oct is an interesting example of this. Reputable SEO blog discussions about it focus on its attack on web spam ( ie SEO ‘naughtiness’ specifically poor quality backlinks and ‘thin content’).

BTW this should really signal to businesses to not be tempted by the barrage of overseas businesses spam offering cheap SEO solutions!

So Penguin 5 (P5 ) is positioned by Google to filter out naughty websites from search results, however I’ve encountered a growing number of P5 victims who haven’t deliberately undertaken to cheat; they just innocently didn’t comply with Google’s rules, and are being treated very heavily handed for it. It like the scenario where you say: “I’m sorry Officer I didn’t realise ” but you get booked anyway.

Sadly many people wont even know if they’ve been pinged by P5 because they aren’t monitoring their website’s performance… (exasperated sigh)

Anyway back to our innocent P5 victims – Website Developers (I prefer ‘web devs’) have an accepted practice of acknowledgement links in their client’s websites back to their site. Web Dev friends tell me this is an important source of new business for them. Prospective clients impressed with a site can easily find out more about the authors. A nice outcome all round.

But this does leave the web dev’s website with multitudes of backlinks (from their clients) all with hugely duplicated backlink text eg “Website by…”
I speculate (but haven’t yet proven – standby Ill update this post when I have further proof)  that this it triggering P5’s spammy backlink alert and consequently causing rank penalties for the web dev’s site.

When I’ve got a moment more Ill share some more experiences with ‘innocent’ P5  victims.. You’ll be horrified!

As an SEO professional my role for some time now has been evolving to include policing duties; checking websites for contraventions of Google’s rules and putting solutions in place… Contrary to reports that ‘SEO is dead’, the role is evolving and apparently become much more critical for business…





2 replies
    • Pete
      Pete says:

      Hi Devlin
      ThanKs for your comment, but I dont believe paid links are the only issue
      Watch this space for my next Penguin 5 case study 🙂


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