Google’s Penguin update target sites that follow shady link building practices. If you buy links you have every reason to get hit by the Penguin. An internet marketing firm says that Google has become much less tolerant of spammy links over time. Now if 30% of links in your link profile are spammy, you can get penalized by the Penguin.

When the Penguin first launched, the sites that had 80% spammy links were targeted. Now that figure has dropped to 50%.

Sites that have less than ten percent of questionable links are considered to have ‘clean’ profiles. For the time being, they are safe.

Sites that have 11 – 39 percent of questionable links are likely to be considered as spam.

If a site has at least 40% of links from suspicious pages, they are clearly at the risk of getting penalized.

What worries webmasters is the fact that Google is becoming very strict with spammy links. But, how strict can it get?

Google first launched its Penguin algorithmic update in April 2012 with the objective of penalizing sites that were manipulating its search results by purchasing links or acquiring them through questionable practices. If you have a large number of links coming from link networks, you are at the risk of falling prey to Penguin.

When a Penguin refresh arrives, sites that took remedial actions by removing bad links may see a recovery. Those who didn’t remove the bad links may see their rankings drop even further because of the latest Penguin updates. Sites that had escaped previous updates may get trapped and sites that were hit by mistake might escape.

Google has been fighting web spam for ages. Google’s ranking algorithm puts a great deal of emphasis over the link popularity of a website. While it is logical to assume that a site that has a large number of incoming links is likely to be an authoritative site, there is another dimension to it. Links can be bought to artificially increase the ranking of a site. Google has always despised this practice, but it has not been able to stop webmasters from buying or selling links.

Google hopes that by launching this update it can discourage webmasters from violating its guidelines. Meanwhile, another Penguin update is expected soon.