Google Penguin: Illegitimizing Links?

Posted on June 12, 2012 by Nikhil P Naik

So called ‘Black Hat‘ SEO companies around the world were recently slaughtered by Google’s recent Penguin update. But now technically, we’re all black hats. Any paid for links are frowned upon by the big G, and since most SEO companies / content distributers don’t give up their time for free, those links are being bought. (Albeit indirectly). The point is, many perfectly reasonable link building techniques has been illigitimised, and that’s bad, mmmkay?

Breaking down the Penguin:

Blog networks are completely useless now, with many big-name blog networks being de-indexed. If people are still using the networks then they should really think twice because they could lose a large number of links very quickly and watch their own site, or their clients’ site start to drop very fast in the SERPS.

Anyone who is still using a blog network to build links is borderline insane. The reason? Google are being very aggressive with all paid forms of link building presently and it is only a matter of time before they are de-indexed.

Anchor text:

Google are scrutinising anchor text more and more after the Penguin update. Anything over 60% looks suspicious and you may be flagged for manual review, penalised or drop-off the SERPs for a short while, (if not worse…)

Negative SEO:

Everybody in the SEO community said that they wouldn’t do it otherwise anyone can have their competition pulls down with spam gambling links and blow them out of the SERPS, but it turns out this is exactly the feature that the Penguin update introduced in April 2012.

Matt Cutts from Google has just gone on the record to say he will release a tool which will let you deny any responsibility for any links you think may be harming your website. However I see a problem with this;

1)  Not everybody uses Google Webmaster tools. The fact of the matter is some companies do not monitor their traffic, have no idea about links and worst of all have no idea their competition has blasted them maliciously with them.


In my opinion it would be much easier if Google could just ignore bad / obvious spam links automatically. The worst thing in the world would be if negative SEO type-sites spring up all over the place offering to take down your competition for a fee.

Even a company who chooses to use ethical white hat SEO services now is basically breaking Google Webmaster’s terms of service which states no links can be purchased. While obvious spam links about I feel this goes too far, there are many legitimate ways to build links and these have now been made a grey area by Google.

I can see the logic of some companies that use bad link building services. What do you do if all your competitors are buying links? Well, you buy links don’t you? That is the sort of thinking will never get us out of this mess and it will be interesting to see where the next two months lead us..

Lee runs devon-designs and proves bespoke web development and independant SEO advice. For a free quotation please email

Image credit: gaininaSEO

About Nikhil P Naik

Nikhil Naik has a Master's Degree in Information Systems, and is currently working as a Software Engineer at Microsoft. He also loves playing cricket, listening to music, and traveling. Twitter Handle - @buzz_nikhil.

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