I just stumbled upon this awhile ago, but it’s been around for awhile. Google Penguin is the code name used for Google’s project to catch websites that violate the Google Webmaster Guidelines. This Google algorithm update was first announced on April 24, 2012. It’s main focus is to catch websites that artificially increase their ranking by having illegal (against guidelines) type of links pointing to their website.
Most of this illegal activity is done through link farming, which is basically a group of websites that link back to each other whether their content is related or not. There’s actually online marketers that sell this type of activity, but disguise or hide the fact that they are doing it. They simply say they can rank your website higher if you buy some links from them and they’ll link back to you. I’m simplifying this, salesmen (online marketers) get pretty inventive in their ways of conning you. 🙂
Another kind of borderline way of having an illegal link point back to your website is if you for example, donated money to a certain cause and they wanted to link back to your website and visa versa. Having one or two of these is okay, but if it seems like there’s a pattern to build your ranking using this type of activity, Google will catch you.
The next release of Google Penguin is suppose to be at the end of 2015, so be on the lookout and check your website. If you need advice, contact us and we’ll be glad to help.
NOTE: Penguin 4.0 was released on September 23, 2016.