Website Optimization Services After Hummingbird & Penguin 2.1

website optimization services after google hummingbird and penguin Website Optimization Services: The Zoo

While most of us SEOs and digital marketers were politicking about Google’s new algorithm, Hummingbird, and the how the world of website optimization services will or will not change, the world’s largest search engine also added an update to the Penguin algorithm.

Are you confused yet? Maybe you’re asking, why does Google have 2 algorithms, which one is the latest one, do I need website optimization services, and how are any of my websites affected by these updates and changes? Let’s take a trip through the digital zoo and look at these animals called Penguin and Hummingbird.

What is Google Penguin

Search Engine Journal does a nice job at breaking down the differences between Google’s algorithms and updates.

Penguin’s job, in the most basic sense, is to devalue manipulative links. It does this to penalize websites that use one or more of the following tactics that Google has stated are against the Webmaster Guidelines.

Examples of Penguin bait include:

  • paid backlinks
  • low quality backlinks (typically generated using automated tools)
  • large numbers of links with optimized anchor text
  • excessive link exchanges
  • text advertisements that pass PageRank
  • other types of links listed on the link schemes webpage

Over time, since the initial launch of the Penguin algorithm in April 2012, Penguin has been improved. This is the fifth update, which Google calls Penguin 2.1. This is a minor release after the major Penguin 2.0 update that launched in May 2013.

Penguin 1.0, 2,0, 2.1

In terms of website optimization services, the difference between the last two major updates for Penguin was essentially how deep the algorithm would go in terms of fighting web spam. Penguin 1.0 was focused on the homepages of offending sites, where as Penguin 2.0 showed us that Google’s spiders/web crawlers are able to crawl internal website pages and spot “bad” links and on-page spam.

Google’s head of web spam, Matt Cutts said that Penguin 2.0 would affect roughly 2.3% of web queries. This update had a much bigger impact than Penguin 1.0.

When Matt Cutts announced Penguin 2.1 he tweeted that this new Penguin 2.1 update will affect “~1% of searches to a noticeable degree”. The number may not be as large as the previous release but I’m willing to bet that the affects of Penguin 2.1 will be significant.


— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) =”″>October 4, 2013
It’s still early to see what’s changed post Penguin 2.1. There’s a decent analysis here on It may be a good time to get your website optimization services in order and ensure your site is ready for any and all hanges coming from Google. Essentially Penguin 2.1 is able to analyze websites better for potential spam activity happening deep in a site rather than just the home page and indexed pages.

Penguin 2.1 and Hummingbird

Over the last week or two there has been a lot of talk online about Google’s new algorithm Hummingbird and how SEO (search engine optimization) is dead and SMO (social media optimization) is the new website optimization. Oh – there has also been tons written about the demise of keywords and how they are no longer needed in your SEO strategy.

Personally I believe keywords are still necessary and always will be at the very basic SEO level. I also believe fully in SMO – it’s exactly the digital strategy we provide with our website optimization services at VPDM and we’ve seen results and ROI.

Hummingbird is the brand new Google search algorithm and has replaced the old search algorithm. Hummingbird was built specifically to improve Google search because search engines now have to handle more complex search quires from users that tend to happen in a conversational manner. A great example of this is Google’s recent updates to the voice search function in its mobile search app.

Hummingbird will also be forced to go deeper due to people using long tail keywords in their searches. This is especially true for consumers who are further along in their buying cycle and know what they want to purchase specifically. Read my article looking at Hummingbird, the mobile search future, and the importance of SMO.

The Penguin algorithm updates work as part of Google’s overall search algorithm Hummingbird and will continue to be updated to help Hummingbird as Google continues to tweak its search algorithm.

Has Your Site Been Hit By Penguin 2.1?

It’s too early to tell but website owners should monitor their website’s organic search traffic using Google Analytics for the next month or so. If you’re noticing traffic and your website’s search engine rankings decreasing, this could be directly related to Penguin 2.1.

Get into your Webmaster Tools account and see if there are any notifications pending that may tell you, you have manual penalties against your website.
Penguin 2.1 Recovery Mode

The likely cause of your decrease in rankings and website traffic lies in your backlinks. A full on back link audit should be done to identify and remove the offending backlinks. Penguin may be the reason you’re in need for website optimization services. You can read more recommendations on Search Engine Journal.


There’s a big difference between the SEO animals Hummingbird, Penguin, and Panda.

Penguin and Panda do not replace Hummingbird.

Hummingbird is Google’s newest search algorithm. Penguin 2.1 is an update to that overall algorithm and helps Google search for bad links deep into websites.

If you’re in need of website optimization services and increasing your search engine rankings, contact me for a free one-hour consultation on how to rebuild or maximize your digital presence.