So we should all be familiar with the Panda update from last year, launched by Google to improve its search results by demoting poor quality sites and increasing the rank of higher quality ones.
Looks like Google are tinkering with their algorithm again with the new name : Penguin. How very original..!
So what is the Penguin Update and what does it mean for SEO?
The launch of Penguin happened earlier this week (April 24th) with a quote below from Google :
In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines.
Read more about the announcement here.
This change is set to affect 3.1% of searches in the English language compared with 12% for Google Panda. So on the face of it, it seems it may not be a major change then but I think this will be most important for SME’s.
In the past, SME’s have always been muscled out by larger businesses deploying aggressive over optimisation techniques whether it be through SEO companies or withing their organisations. Some SME’s have also recently been dropping proven traditional media i.e print in place of so called search engine optimisation firms who deploy the very tactics Google is set to penalise.
Google specifically points out keyword stuffing and link schemes as the main areas of violation which have been effective to improve rankings.
With the recent update these tactics will be penalised and below are some things to focus on for your own website :
1. Avoid hidden text and hidden links in your content
2. Do not overstuff your content with keywords
3. Tailor your pages for users and not search engines
4. Avoid any link schemes and focus on natural link building through content sharing and contribution
5. Avoid duplicate pages with similar content and small variations to text
Google have confirmed that the update is now LIVE but it may take some time to filter through to search results.
If you have access to Google Webmaster Tools you may find that there are some messages waiting for you to address highlighted issues.
Whatever the case, you will need to reconsider your approach to search engine optimisation to avoid penalties which in turn will lead to a drop in rankings.
Feel free to leave any comments below and share any live examples you may have.