While most American workers were getting ready for the Memorial Day holiday, Matt Cutts’ web spam team at Google were rolling out Penguin 1.1. The latest incarnation of the feared algorithm update is really considered more of a refresh than an actual update, but that won’t be much comfort to anyone impacted by the Penguin’s bite.

Official word of the refresh came on Friday from a Cutts’ Tweet which read, “Minor Weather Report: We pushed 1st Penguin algo refresh an hour ago. Affects <0.1% of English searches.” Because Penguin 1.1 did roll out on a holiday weekend, the full extent of its impact isn’t really known yet.

Is Matt Cutts happy with Penguin? Check out Matt Cutts Talks Penguin Impact.

Penguin 1.1 Impact

News of a Penguin update may send shivers down the spines of webmasters across the Internet, but there’s a sunny side to the story, too. There were also scattered reports of sites that had been taking steps to recover from Penguin saw traffic and page rankings return.

As is common with these sorts of updates, there was also a smattering of postings from sites that weren’t quite sure why they were targeted by Penguin. However, the sites that were most severely impacted by Penguin had either a large amount of low quality content or unnatural link patterns.

More than likely, if a site was going to feel any sort of impact from the original Penguin update, they probably would have noticed well before Penguin 1.1.

In a blog posting, Richard Frost, managing editor of theEword.com said, “While major algorithm updates such as Panda and Penguin 1.0 have caused noticeable fluctuations in SERPs, it’s unlikely we’ll see Penguin 1.1 making much of an impact…Speculation in the SEO industry suggests unnatural linking and low quality content are the culprits, but there is confusion as to why some high quality sites have also been negatively affected.”

Recovering from Penguin

Despite some initial confusion, webmasters have finally started to figure out how best to bounce back from Penguin. The key to Penguin recovery seems to be a hard evaluation of in- and out-bound links.

This week SEOmoz published a very detailed account of one company’s recovery efforts titled, How WPMU.org Recovered from the Penguin. WPMU.org suffered an 80% decrease in traffic after the first Penguin roll out and were looking at starting over fresh on a new domain. As it turned out, simply removing the links from the footer of their WordPress themes removed a large portion of what Google considered unnatural links.

There’s plenty more to learn from the WPMU.org story and we highly recommend this article to anyone who is still figuring out Penguin recovery strategies.

Given that Penguin 1.1 rolled out so quickly on the heels of the original release, it seems safe to say that Penguin refreshes and updates will be a common occurrence

Did you notice any impact from the Penguin 1.1 refresh? Tell us about it on our Search Engine Optimization Forum.

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