Last month, Google launched the “webspam algorithm update,” which specifically targets link spam and manipulative link building practices. This update is aimed at decreasing search engine rankings of websites that violate Google's Webmaster Guidelines.
Prior to this update, the sheer volume of links played a large part in determining a webpage’s scoring when crawled, indexed, and analysed by Google. Consequently many low quality websites and content pages were ranked in more prominent positions than they should have been.
Now everything has changed (for the better!)
The sites that use black hat or negative link building techniques to rank highly and get traffic are now being penalised. Content is now King as it always was and sites with great content are now being recognised by Google, as they should be. Any sites with little or no spammy content are being penalised and will receive no ranking benefits.
So how does the Penguin algorithm work?
By better understanding the types of links that websites and webmasters are earning, Penguin ensures that natural, authoritative and relevant links are rewarding the websites that they point to, while manipulative and spammy links are be downgraded.
How do I avoid Penguin penalties?
As this penalty is specifically aimed at spammy link building and negative SEO, the way to avoid the Penguin penalty is to submit a disavow file to Google. The disavow file tells Google to ignore all links included in the file so that they will not have an impact on your site.
Obviously, take care not to include high quality links in your disavow file too as disavowing these types of links will not help your ranking.
What should I do going forward?
Concentrate on producing great content. Reach out to bloggers and influencers to link back to your content. Use social media to promote your content. Begin to gain original editorially-given links.
Also, the more quality links you gain back to your site, the easier it will be to release your website from the grip of Penguin.