So it seems widespread panic erupted in the SEO world about a week
and a half ago with Google’s latest algorithm update, Penguin. This
update sent many sites to the deep, dark abyss of page 100 in the
search results. Others on the other hand have mysteriously not been
hit at all, even though their link profiles are extremely
manipulative. This is definitely one of the more bizarre updates
Google has released so far and it has sparked a lot of debate
around it’s purpose.
Unlike the previous Panda updates we have grown to love so much (?)
this one does not seem to be aimed at improving Google’s search
results at all. It’s chief aim seems to be penalizing sites with
manipulative link profiles or those that are violating Google’s
guidelines. Now that might seem like a contradictory statement.
How can you remove spammy pages and not improve the search results?
Well, think of it like this: Even if there are excellent sites in
the top few positions, and one of them happens to be manipulative,
Google will take it down, even though it’s a quality search result.
This means Google is wiling to make their search results worse
temporarily, just to send a message. What message are they trying
to send? That everyone has to follow their guidelines no matter
what. No favoritism, handouts or favors. This is a pretty tough
pill to swallow for many sites out there that were ranking well,
providing great value but did use some frowned-upon link building
from an SEO service or link network.
There are some definite -30 and -100 penalties being doled out but
the main thrust of the update has been link devaluation. In fact,
Penguin is all about link profiles. There’s not a whole lot of
on-page factors being considered at all.
While the focus has been to get rid of the worst spam out there
with loads of spammy links and obvious manipulative practices,
there also seem to be a lot of sites with somewhat less spammy
links that have been affected. This included things like having all
your client’s sites link back to you.
Interestingly, there seems to be more sites hit in the marketing
and services field than any other. However, this might not be
niche-specific, but rather a correlation with the fact that these
industries tend to buy more links than anyone else and that they
are more vocal about SEO updates.
Because of the unpredictable nature of Penguin, Google has created
a form for anyone to fill out that feels their site has been
penalized unfairly. This is quite unusual for Google, but seeing as
though this update has nothing to do with search quality, there was
no way for them to test it before rolling it out. If you want to
appeal to the almighty Google, then fill this form out:
So the message is clear:
Stick to Google’s guidelines or have your site penalized, even if
it’s good stuff you’re putting out there. They don’t care.