According to Moz, Google changes its search algorithm around 500-600 times each year. While the majority of these changes are minor and have very little impact to a website’s ranking, there are two major updates which effect search results significantly and can make Google recovery a long, draw-out process.

Introducing, Panda and Penguin…


First introduced back in February 2011, the Panda update measures the overall quality of a site and cracks down on “thin” content and websites with high ad-to-content ratios. It was integrated into Google’s core algorithm in early 2016.


April 2012 saw the introduction of the Google Penguin update, which focuses on catching websites that are spamming the search results, particularly those buying links or acquiring low-quality links. Over 6 years later and after many versions of the update, the new Google Penguin update is quite a breakthrough. Penguin 4.0 is an update that now operates in real-time and is a part of Google’s core search algorithm.

What impact does a Penguin or Panda penalty have on a website?

While, the Penguin and Panda updates focus on different aspects of a website’s SEO efforts, they both have the same primary goal – to provide high quality search results to its users.

Sites that have lower quality content, will likely find themselves negatively impacted by Panda. These sites will be pushed further down the results page as Google rewards those websites with high quality content with higher rankings.

The main targets of a Penguin update are websites that have conducted questionable link building in the past. These websites could find themselves penalised or removed from the search results all together. Unnatural links recovery can be painstakingly slow. In fact, the previous release of the Penguin update was in October 2014, meaning many penalised websites have been waiting almost two years to turn their fortunes around.

Penalty recovery can be a drawn out process and in the meantime, these penalties can have devastating, long term consequences for websites resulting in loss of traffic, leads and ultimately, business.

Fundamentally, the principles of ethical SEO hold true. Websites that have engaging content and focus on high quality link acquisition should have no cause for concern.

How can Bonfire assist you to recover from a Google penalty?

As part of our SEO service, our Digital Services team proactively work to assist clients who, as a result of previous bad SEO practices, have been hit with a penalty by undertaking a thorough Penguin or Panda recovery process.

We pinpoint the reason behind the SEO penalty, develop a strategy to overcome this penalty and then work diligently and in close communication with the client to ensure the website has the best opportunity to recover.

The graphs below highlight how our Google recovery service is successfully assisting clients to recover their rankings after a recent update.

SEO penalty recovery is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you have concerns about a Google penalty or wish to know more about our Google penalty recovery services, please contact your Account Manager.