Portent Study: Google Penguin Shows Declining Tolerance for Spam

Seattle Internet marketing firm finds tolerance for artificial links has been decreasing with each algorithm update.

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Google’s changing standard for spam means it’s time – once and for all – for marketers to stop taking shortcuts and start creating valuable content. Google is clearly losing patience with manipulative linking.

Seattle, WA (PRWEB) March 18, 2013

A new study by Internet marketing firm Portent shows that Google has been steadily reducing its tolerance for manipulative search engine optimization tactics since launching its Penguin update almost a year ago.

The Portent analysis found Google has been applying a stricter standard for spam links with each subsequent algorithm update. Initially, the only websites penalized had profiles comprised of more than 80 percent manipulative links – those that look like they were obtained solely to improve a website’s Google rankings. Within two months, Google lowered the bar to 65 percent with its second Penguin update. Then in October 2012, with its third Penguin update, Google started penalizing sites with as little as 50 percent suspicious links in their profiles.

Portent CEO Ian Lurie said no one knows what the floor is for Google’s spam tolerance, which means website owners should start cleaning up their link profiles before they get penalized.

“At Portent, we see too many small and medium-sized businesses coming to us for help because their SEO firm built website traffic by acquiring artificial, spammy links. It’s very, very difficult to recover from a Google penalty once you’ve been hit,” Lurie said. “Google’s changing standard for spam means it’s time – once and for all – for marketers to stop taking shortcuts and start creating valuable content. Google is clearly losing patience with manipulative linking.”

The Portent study, which was released today, analyzed the link profiles of the top 50 websites in the Inc. 5000 business list and 20 other sites that were manually or algorithmically penalized. Overall, the Portent team fetched and analyzed more than 500,000 links using a proprietary tool to determine Google’s tolerance level for spam links over time.

“Any website that relies heavily on low-value links as an SEO strategy is at risk of being penalized under future Penguin updates,” Lurie said. “If your business didn’t get a link through real, audience-focused marketing, take it down.”

Portent’s new study, "A Changing Standard for SEO Spam: Google Penguin, Link Penalties & Declining Leniency,” also includes tips for cleaning up link profiles and getting out from under a Penguin penalty.

About Portent Inc.
Portent Inc. is a Seattle-based, full-service Internet marketing company. Founded in 1995, Portent has grown into one of the nation’s premier Internet marketing firms, helping businesses in the realms of SEO (search engine optimization), paid search, copywriting, social media, web development and more. Portent’s approach has succeeded in industries ranging from technology to travel, for B2B, B2C and B2G companies.


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  • Challin Meink
    Walker Sands Communications
    312-267-0064
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