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Google’s spam filtering algorithm or Penguin 5 or Penguin 2.1 is finally live. This is the fifth Penguin version; however Google is calling it Penguin 2.1 since it is an advanced version of Penguin 2.0 (Penguin 4). This may sound a bit confusing therefore let me clarify.

Between April 2012 and October 2012 Google released three Penguin versions namely Penguin 1, Penguin 2, and Penguin 3. But, on May 22, 2013 it released Penguin 4 which was also called as Penguin 2.0. The recent Penguin 5 is an upgraded version of this update and is therefore called Penguin 2.1.

So, why is Google calling this Penguin 2.1 and not Penguin 5?

Well we are as confused as you are. The trouble started with Panda releases. When Google launched Panda algorithm for fighting low quality content it called it ‘Panda’, when the next version came out people called it Panda 2, and when the third version came out it was rightly dubbed as Panda 3. However, Google insisted that it was not Panda 3 but Panda 2 with minor changes and should therefore be called Panda 2.1. But the name stuck on. In due course there were so many Panda updates that Google had to call them based decimal places e.g. Panda 3.92. With so many updates coming in quick succession confusion was inevitable. To Google’s credit Google never named any version, it only announced an update. Search engine community named updates as 1, 2, 3 and so on. The same thing happened with Penguin updates and the search engine community named each successive update as 1, 2, and 3. Therefore when Penguin 4 was released Google called it Penguin 2.0 and today’s update can be rightly called Penguin 2.1.

What is this new update and how to deal with it?

Penguin 2.1 is a part of Google’s search algorithm that identifies sites which essentially spam search results yet manage to rank high. In short it is an algorithm that will hunt down sites with purchased links.

If your website is unfortunate and you see a drop in web traffic in the next few days you could do a few things like remove bad links manually or disavow bad links. There is no use of a reconsideration request as the process is totally automated. Till such time the system recognizes that bad links are removed your ranking will be affected.

In case you have taken preemptive action and removed bad links then in the next few days your rankings will see a marked improvement. If that happens you can be sure you have escaped Google’s Penguin 2.1s wrath.

For those that want to learn more about recovery from Penguin there are tens of articles which can guide you.

What about Hummingbird?

Penguin and Hummingbird are not two different things. In fact Penguin is a part of Hummingbird. Whereas Hummingbird is Google’s ranking engine, Penguin is a small part of it. There are countless articles and posts on how the two are similar and if you are interested a quick search on the internet will yield a wealth of information about Hummingbird and Penguin.

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