Penguin 2.1 is Now Live–What to Expect from Google’s Newest Data Refresh

October 7, 2013

Penguin 2.1 Update is Live

Another day, another Penguin: As of October 4th, 2013, Google has officially announced Penguin 2.1, the latest refresh to their search algorithm.

This new data refresh comes on the heels of the announcement for Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm that was made just a few weeks ago. This algorithm update, which should affect roughly 1% of English queries, is the 5th Penguin update that Google has made since the first hit the scene back in April of 2012.

What is Penguin 2.1?

Like those that came before it, Penguin 2.1 is an update to Google’s algorithm that is designed to route out sites that may be considered “spammy”–thanks to link farming, poor quality link profiles, and so on–and promote high-quality sites with popular, relevant links and natural link profiles instead.

Updates like these are a consequence of Google’s constant attempts to improve the results they provide their users. Enhancing a searcher’s experience means providing the most relevant, the most helpful, and the highest quality results possible, which is why Google launched their new and improved Hummingbird algorithm, and why Google will continue to fine-tune that algorithm with on-going updates and data refreshes like Penguin.

How will Google’s Penguin 2.1 update affect your site? And what should you do about it?

While you may experience some fluctuations in rankings over the next couple of weeks, as many sites did when Penguin 2.0 was rolled out back in May, right now the best course of action is to wait and see. When it comes to reacting to Google’s algorithm changes, patience is a virtue that’s essential to have. Penguin 2.1 is not “a total game-changer” and it’s certainly not the end-all of algorithm updates. With refreshes like this, big, permanent changes in rankings aren’t the norm. Instead, what we can expect in the next couple of weeks is a period of fluidity.

Whenever you have a refresh like this, dust tends to get stirred up, and for a short period of time, rankings tend to become more fluid until everything settles down after a week or two. If you’ve seen results you’ve never seen before for specific search results, it is most likely because of Penguin 2.1. Big drops in rankings don’t tend to be permanent, nor do big jumps up in the search results stay the same either. Google’s refreshes and these results are borne out over several months, and take time to normalize. The temptation with updates like this is to panic, take these changes as permanent, and proceed to scramble to alter linking strategies make abrupt SEO decisions unnecessarily and without having taken the time to track the changes properly.

So what can you do while you wait?

Now is the time to tackle a few SEO elements that will benefit you Penguin or no Penguin, no matter what, across the board. Work to keep building quality, relevant links. Build a site with fresh, high-quality content that will naturally drive links and encourage social shares. Focus on your Technical SEO and work to fix technical errors that could be hurting your site’s rankings and frustrating your site visitors. Remove or disavow toxic links. Diversify your strategies and avoid exact-match anchor text. Keep building online authority and growing your brand with blogging, content marketing, active engagement on social sites and more.

If you’re concerned about how Penguin 2.1 could be affecting your rankings–your National Positions account managers are always here to help. Or, if you’re not a client and you’d like to know more please feel free to shoot us an email at or give us a call at 877-610-4760 about getting a FREE Audit of your site to see what you can do to combat Penguin 2.1 as well as where and how you can start improving your site for better rankings.

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