The Google Penguin SEO update, targeted at web spam, was launched on April 24th this year and has since then become a topic of hot debate and discussion.
Because a number of website owners and so called SEO “specialists” that had been enjoying good rankings in the search engines before the update are now scrambling to try and negate the adverse affects of it. Their websites are being punished with a fall of rankings, traffic, and therefore business sales and enquiries.
Should we care? Absolutely not, as it serves them right!
For too long people implementing negative SEO practices were holding the top positions of Google and taking the majority of the traffic. As a company that has only ever implemented “white-hat” SEO tactics, it was pretty frustrating explaining to clients how the people at the top were doing it, and why we refused to do the same.
At the time some of the clients were frustrated, but now they have swallowed their pride and thanked us for sticking to “clean” SEO practices. This has meant we have held their rankings throughout the updates, and in some cases rankings and traffic has improved as the dodgy sites above us have disappeared into the ether!
What’s happened since April?
The signs and signals that the update is picking up in the search engines are yet to be clearly outlined by Google. This means that the exact reasons for traffic losses that companies may have experienced in April are yet to be fully understood.
An initial statistic I have read is that 3.1 per cent of queries were impacted by Penguin, compared to 12 per cent by the first Panda update. The SEO community surmises that the impact could be the result of;
(a) keyword stuffing in outbound and inbound links
(b) poor quality blog spam and article marketing
(c) overusing exact-match domains
(d) aggressive keyword based anchor texts
So what does this mean for you?
If you are concerned about how the Penguin update has influenced your website, then it’s best to take a second look at your current SEO tactics and strategies to identify if you are at a risk of penalty. It would be worth considering auditing your website to spot vulnerable areas and use the Penguin Update as an opportunity to enhance it.
Some of the tried and true SEO practices you can incorporate still include increasing the number of quality links pointing to your site, doing away with spammy back links (from sites that have no relevance to your business) and making your content more user-friendly and useful for your customers.