Google Penguin doesn’t penalize for bad links – or does it?

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Google launched the real-time, more granular version of Penguin on Friday. Google wrote in its announcement that it “now devalues spam.”

Many SEOs and webmasters took that to mean that Penguin no longer penalizes – and it seems like they are right.

Google’s Gary Illyes said on my public Facebook post that the new Penguin algorithm “managed to devalue spam instead of demoting.” But he also said that Google’s recommendation for using the disavow file has not changed. In other words, you should use the disavow file to help recover from Penguin issues.

But if Google only devalues the spam and doesn’t demote the spam, then why use the disavow file?

Illyes said in the Facebook discussion that “specifically there’s less need” to use the disavow file for Penguin. Gary also added “you can help us help you by using it.” Adding that “also, manual actions are still there, so if we see that someone is systematically trying to spam, the manual actions team might take a harsher action against the site.”

So in short, it seems Google Penguin no longer penalizes the site or specific pages but rather ignores/devalues the spammy links and thus the rankings are adjusted. Gary said this should this should make webmasters “happier,” adding “and that makes me happy.”

Here is a screen shot of the raw conversation:


About The Author

Barry Schwartz is Search Engine Land’s News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry can be followed on social media at @rustybrick, +BarrySchwartz and Facebook. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio and disclosures, click over here.


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