Since Google launched one of its biggest algorithm updates in history, the Google Penguin Update, the SEO industry, online business owners, and webmasters have been in a state of panic trying to avoid the update’s ranking penalty. According to Google, the Penguin update is designed to target spammy websites and penalize these sites with a major drop in Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) rankings. It short, it is Google’s way of telling everyone that it does not approve of black-hat SEO.

The update works by assessing each inbound link of every website and whether or not these links have been manipulated. If the Google system determines these links are, Google will send the website’s owner automated warning messages about these unnatural links and decrease the site’s rankings.

If you know your website is over-optimized and has experienced a drop in ranking and traffic, chances are, your site has been hit by Penguin. The first thing you need to do to recover from this is to accept the penalty, admit your over-optimization mistake, and start to clean up your website.

– Check Inbound Links

Since Penguin focuses on “unnatural” links, this is the first thing you need to check. When assessing your links, it would be wise to categorize them into three groups. One group is for low-quality links that lead to irrelevant websites. The second group is for good-quality links that have a few problems like multiple links that lead to the same website. Finally, the third group is for high-quality links that you should not get rid of.

– Delete and Change your Links

Get rid of all your low-quality links by contacting its owners and requesting for the links’ immediate removal. For your good links that have some problems, sending its owners a request to change the link so that it would contain your brand name or site because Google has penalized you will suffice.

– Build Your Site Again

Once you have cleared up all the problematic links on your site, start building up your site again by engaging in a better (and more natural) link campaign. Remember, for Penguin to recognize your site as legitimate, your links should not only be “natural” but also fulfill its promise. For instance, if the anchor text used is “read more” to link back to your site, the page that is linked must contain more information as your link promised.