This past week there has been a lot of talk about Google’s “Penguin Update.” Google’s latest search algorithm update targets people using forms of negative SEO, particularly people who use webspam or go against Google’s quality guidelines.
According to SEO legend Danny Sullivan, webspam or search spam is defined as “Pages that try to gain better rankings through things like: keyword stuffing, link schemes, cloaking, and purposeful duplicate content.” You can read Danny Sullivan’s entire blog post on the Penguin update here.
It’s not news that Google doesn’t condone these types of SEO strategies. In fact, they have warned about using them for years despite constant frustrations from white hat SEOs that have seen their clients rank beneath others that use the unapproved methods. The Penguin update has improved Google spam filters, though true to form, Google will not release details. What they are clear on is the messaging that they are “targeting spam, not over optimization.”
This comment by Matt Cutts of Google has many in the industry confused and scrambling for a clearer understanding, as it tends to blur the line between white hat and webspam, and even gray hat and black hat.
The good news is that SEO best practices are still being encouraged by Google, and it is estimated that only 3.1% of English queries will be impacted by this update.
SEO Continues To Be Encouraged
Indeed, today’s post makes a point of contrasting “white hat SEO” against “black hat webspam” and encourages people to continue with SEO best practices:
Our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics….Sites affected by this change might not be easily recognizable as spamming without deep analysis or expertise, but the common thread is that these sites are doing much more than white hat SEO; we believe they are engaging in webspam tactics to manipulate search engine rankings….
We want people doing white hat search engine optimization (or even no search engine optimization at all) to be free to focus on creating amazing, compelling web sites.
As with most big Google updates, there are going ot be some sites that lost a lot of rankings, some sites that gained some and some sites that had no effect at all. It seems like a lot of people are upset with this update and feel they have been targeted by Google. Yet this is an automatic update and not a human review, so if your site isnt ranking well now, then you must have it analyzed to see what hte problem is and get it fixed. Moving forward its going ot be even more about CONTENT and good quality content, as well as social media. Links will still be important but not as much, odds are social media likes and shares will be the new links.