Since the last Penguin update in October 2012, webmasters have been waiting with bated breath for any more changes that may affect their standings in the SERPS.

The importance of following a search engine optimisation strategy that adheres to Google guidelines has never been so important, and with ever-more regular algorithm updates it’s an essential method of building and maintaining a more efficient and user-friendly site.

It will come as no surprise to learn that more and more obviously paid-for back-links are receiving a negative response from crawlers, and as our link juice continues to switch from artificial to natural, the essence of the Penguin changes have been received and understood by all but the loosest of SEO practitioner.

If you needed further proof as to how Penguin is getting stronger then look no further than the emphasis Google now places on its Knowledge Graph and how key words that have no legitimate reason to be in a sentence are recognised and penalised much more swiftly than ever before.

Last year, at the SES San Francisco conference, Matt Cutts emphasised Google’s aim to become less of a search engine and more of a knowledge bank, with algorithm changes becoming more refined to ensure users have a better all-round experience.

So, in a nutshell: yes, Penguin is getting stronger and below are just a few of the signs that you need to take note of if you’re still not convinced.

 5 tell-tale signs that Penguin is getting stronger

  • When first introduced, websites were hit if their links were considered to be around 80% suspicious looking, whereas since the last update in 2012, the percentage of suspicious looking links has been reduced to more or less 50%.
  • Matt Cutts has made some massive hints that Penguin is getting stronger and will be only growing in power as it continues in its quest to rid the world of spammy, irrelevant and paid for links
  • As natural link building, via easy to use sharing buttons and a deeper understanding of Google’s perception of SEO becomes the norm, it’s safe to assume that Penguin is doing its job, and for every website that adheres to ‘quality practises’, the bar is getting set just that little bit higher.
  • SEO agencies are reviewing tactics to improve search engine ranking as they try to stay one step ahead of the updates. In so doing, Penguin is growing stronger as a presence, and from not taking a risk on paid for links, to equipping SEO teams with a much more efficient range of bad link finding tools, the anticipation of further threats is much more evident in the trendy basements of agency land.
  • Web owners are paying more attention to metrics because as soon as there appears to be a flux in the stats, that’s when it’s time to check the SEO blogs to find just what type of animal has hit websites this time around.

Matt Cutts has confirmed that in 2013 there will be a significant Penguin update that he thinks will be widely talked about within the industry. Make of this what you will, but for the time being if you’re thinking that Penguin has had its fill of link-building fish then you may want to re-fill your bucket because it appears to be even hungrier than ever.