Well, Google has done it again. We knew it was coming, however it's here with a vengeance that is bitter indeed.

Penguin 5.0 (or Penguin 2.1 as Google calls it) was released on Friday, and many sites have been impacted.

The truth is that while Google is calling these updates "Anti-Spam" they are actually targeting many sites that are not "spamming" the world of the Internet.

Many sites have spent a great deal of time and money creating and distributing quality content over long periods of time in order to link back to their sites and boost traffic. No cheating, no shortcuts , no black hat techniques.

Unfortunately, many of you are now getting your hand slapped for working so hard to create all that content and get it out there.

If the sites you put content on weren't high-ranking enough, if they had other people using it improperly, all those things now count against you.

The biggest irony of it all??

If you never worked hard to get your site ranked organically - never wrote blogs, never setup Google plus, never used social networks - and ONLY paid Google for your rankings, guess what? Your site is now ranking front and center.

Unintentional? We think not.

Regardless of the fact that Google is fast becoming the closest thing to the Terminator's Skynet we've ever seen (is anyone else a bit afraid of all the power they have?)... the reality is that if your site has been hit, you need to deal with it.

So, how do you go about doing that?

The likely culprit is what Google would call "bad links," and whether these are actually bad or not doesn't matter. Google has deemed them as such. So, they have to be either manually removed or disavowed.

1. The first step is to identify which ones have been identified as "Bad." In order to do that, use Google's webmaster tools. Click here for more information about how to identify bad links. 

The next step is to remove them. There are a few ways to take care of this.

If someone at your company or a firm you were working with manually built these links, then they may be able to be manually take them down.  Easy-peasy.

2. Another option is to contact the webmaster and ask them to remove the links to your site. They may or may not do this, and they may or may not charge you money to do it (which they shouldn't).

3. The third alternative is to Disavow the links using the Google webmaster tool.  Click here for more information on how to disavow links. 

After that is all done, it's likely going to be a waiting game. You may not see the results or an impact on rankings until the next Penguin update.

Is this infuriating? Yes. Is it "fair"? No. Is it reality? Indeed.

If your site has been impacted, for now we recommend that you stop distributing content on outside sites and focus on your own blog and social networking. Then you can re-evaluate after your site gets back up where it needs to be.

Have questions? We're happy to help. Connect with me on LinkedIn below.

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