March of the (Google) Penguin
About this time last year, online businesses and professionals were finding the presence of a certain Google Panda hard to bear. Previously strong sites found themselves slipping down the search rankings as the algorithm update, intended to penalise sites with poor quality content, ?scraper? sites and ?content farms?, took effect.
Now, just as the dust settles on the kerfuffle and webmasters thought it was safe to go back into the water once more, a Penguin has waddled on to the scene and got webmasters into a bit of a flap.
Google Penguin was revealed by the search giant?s ?head of webspam? Matt Cutts, in a post on the Google Webmaster blog at the end of April (http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/another-step-to-reward-high-quality.html).
?We?ve always targeted webspam in our rankings, and this algorithm represents another improvement in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content,? said Cutts.
So what exactly will be targeted by this killer penguin? Well, as usual Google is tight-lipped over the exact nature of the update for obvious reasons, but Cutts signalled that a number of major areas would be affected. These are:
Keyword stuffing ? Including many instances of the same word or key phrases simply for the sake of boosting rankings and with little regard to the quality of the content. ?Spun? content ? Content which is generated automatically by computer programs, often in large volumes and to a very poor, almost unreadable standard. Inappropriate/ irrelevant linking behaviours ? Having links within the body of the on-screen text which have no bearing on the key themes or topics of the content.
While some may bemoan Google shifting the SEO goalposts yet again, this update is really nothing new and is more of a continuation of Google?s overall strategy to weed out the underhand ?black hat? search engine optimisation tactics, and reward those websites that work hard to create high quality content.
Cutts estimates that the change will affect around 3% of English language queries, and says that in the main, websites affected will be those which are ?doing much more than white hat SEO.? He goes on to emphasise that: ?We want people doing white hat search engine optimisation (or even no search engine optimisation at all) to be free to focus on creating amazing, compelling web sites.?
What should you do in response to the launch of the Penguin? If you?re already focused on doing everything you can to provide a great user experience and deliver top-notch web content, then you?re probably best off carrying on with what you were you doing. If you?re worried that your site isn?t up to scratch and is guilty of some of Google?s ?pet peeves?, it may be time to invest in quality, shareable content rather than black hat tricks.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Jon Celeste .
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