Last month we posted about the new Penguin update finally going live, and about how it was now a real-time, built in component of Google’s search algorithm. Since then, some more interesting information has come to light about Penguin, with Google’s Gary Illyes confirming to Marketing Land that not only does the algorithm focus mostly on link spam, but it focuses on the source site of the link, not the site it is pointing to.
This means that where, in past iterations of the then search filter, the site that had a “spammy” link pointing to it would be penalised, the updated version is far more likely to simply discount any potential value that the inbound link would have for the destination site.
Discount Instead Of Demote
This should probably ease some of the burden of worry that webmasters were feeling about inbound links. In the past, if your site was demoted because of poor quality links, webmasters needed to get those links removed. If that failed, they could “disavow” the domain that was linking to them, effectively telling Google to please (pretty please) ignore links from that domain. Then they had to wait for the filter to run again.
Now, it’s far more likely that Google will simply ignore, or discount, those links from poor quality sources. Except of course, if you sudden;y develop a lot of them. Then, he explained, it’s likely that the manual actions team will take a deeper look, and decide whether to penalise the site after all.
So, good news on the whole. It might have taken them more than 2 years to get it up and running, but it sounds like they’ve done a good job, and that website owners who follow best practices don’t really need to worry too much if they suddenly pick up an undesirable link from somewhere.