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A Better Kind of Penguin

He’s coming for you. With the spamhammer.

A little while back, Google made a pretty big change to their search algorithms with an update that they call the “Penguin” update.

Penguin was specifically designed to punish backlinkers who are using certain black hat techniques such as keyword stuffing and things like comment and article spinning. What happens is that these spammers are checking Google Webmaster Tools (or receiving email updates) and are receiving messages that their ranking is being negatively affected by spam blogs or comments they have left on WordPress.com blogs.

Then, we at WordPress.com get emails that look like this (my paraphrase):

We need to have our links removed from your website ASAP. Below are a few URLs where we found our links. This may not be all of the links on your site. Please ensure that you remove ALL links to our site.

After this they provide us with the URL of their site (it’s usually something that’s basically pure spam) and then a list of all the links they know of across the WordPress.com network. This leads me to laugh, quite often out loud, because:

  1. They have just alerted us to a spam campaign on WordPress.com and likely elsewhere and given us exactly what we need to investigate,
  2. They have just admitted to us spam comments, entire spam blogs, or even sponsored post content that exists on WordPress.com and that we are looking to get rid of anyway, and
  3. The best part about it is that if it’s not that bad we could just leave it alone, do nothing, and possibly punish the spammers more than if we were to remove everything.

It probably doesn’t sound like much to you, but it’s one of those little things that amuses me and causes me to enjoy what I do.

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