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Is Google’s Penguin Too Tough on SEOs?

No algorithm update has caused more chaos, heartbreak and grey hairs than Google’s Penguin update of 2012.

Taking aim at non-organic link building, the Penguin tore shredded accepted SEO techniques, such as paid linking, and left web publishers with some seriously time-consuming clean-up projects.

Even worse, Penguin data refreshes have been few and far between, leaving SEOs wondering if all their link clean-ups and new link building techniques were successful or not.

The Penguin situation has been so disruptive to so many web business owners feel like this particular algorithm offers too much punishment and not enough redemption.

So is Google’s Penguin update the most heartless algorithm in the history of the web or just a tough love response to publishers who are trying to game the system?

That question was the subject of recent posting on by SEO consultant Eric Enge titled, Penguin: Google’s Punitive Algorithm – And a Call to Google to Fix it.

Enge’s main point isn’t that Penguin was unnecessary, or even too tough. In fact, he readily acknowledges that SEOs are like a horde of barbarians forever trying to breech Google’s wall.

His bigger problem, and it’s one that’s shared by plenty of gambling affiliates, is that Google isn’t refreshing its data often enough to let publishers get a fresh start. Given the fact that there hasn’t been a Penguin refresh in nearly a year, he makes a very valid argument.

It should be noted that Enge, like many other SEO watchers, sees the need for Penguin, Panda and pretty much every weapon Google employs in the war against black hat SEO.

That said, he points out that the lack of Penguin refreshes, and the chaos that causes for publishers, makes Penguin feel more like a collective punishment than legitimate tool.

Enge’s simple solution to Penguin-induced trauma is both simple and fair. He calls for Google to refresh Penguin on a regular basis (quarterly, monthly, whatever). This gives publishers with Penguin problems, and a willingness to correct them, a fresh start while staying true to Penguin’s core mission (promoting organic link building processes).

When you’ve got a core segment of SEOs who want to play by your rules, Enge’s call to action seems like a pretty reasonable request.