The recent Google algorithm change has a snappy beak, and isn’t afraid to chomp spammy websites off search rankings with it. The “Penguin” update punishes pages that have been spamming Google for SEO purposes. Since its April 24th 2012 launch, SEO experts and website owners have flocked to web forums, speculating on the impact of the new change, and offering advice for how to tailor content for the update.
Yes, the rank-changing fear runs fresh. And this isn’t a change to be confused with Panda. Remember Google’s Panda, from last year? I mentioned that an updated version would be launched in April (http://www.kelownawebdesigns.com/search-engine-optimization/the-google-panda-eats-shoots-and-tweets-new-algorithm-changes/), and Cutts’ team held to its promise. With Panda 3.5 pushing for higher-quality content as of April 19th, the Penguin update moved in with its white patrol hat on.
While Panda rewards innovative websites offering informative and original content with higher search rankings, Penguin punishes websites that have detectably cheated Google’s quality guidelines. Although the Penguin update has affected about 3.1% of the web population-while Panda has impacted nearly 12%-the punishing Penguin should not be ignored.
But before you go animal trying to remodel your site to these new standards, consider your web traffic. Track your numbers between April 24th and April 25th with Google Analytics. Drastic spikes within these days could be a result of Penguin crackdown.
And even if you did notice a remarkable change in traffic around this time, the keys to Penguin approval are accessible. Or so says Cutts.
In his April 24th announcement (“Another step to reward high-quality sites”), Cutts references the Google quality guidelines as the criteria by which sites will be rewarded and punished. So if you want to stay out of the Penguin’s way, check these out http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35769#3).
The guidelines articulate dirty tricks that we should all be familiar with by now, such as hidden text and links, cloaking, and link schemes intended to increase search rankings.
Some less obvious poor practices that you might want to check for on your own site include:
Since Cutts’ team “won’t divulge specific signals because [they] don’t want to give people a way to game [their] search results and worsen the experience for users,” we can only educationally guess and test tactics to appease Penguin. However, as sites begin to feel the chomp, SEO speculators can formulate more textured understandings of the algorithm, and help site owners maintain healthy, white-hat websites.
We’ll be there. Ready to inform you with our SEO findings. Prepared, as usual, to address the next game change. Which black and white animal will Google fling at us next?
“Another step to reward high-quality sites.” 24 April 2012. Webmaster Central Blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.ca/2012/04/another-step-to-reward-high-quality.html
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