Google’s latest webspam algorithm tweak now has a name: the Penguin update.
The search engine has tweaked its system to try to weed out sites using webspam to manipulate the rankings.
But the update has seen many genuine sites downranked, with some less genuine ones suddenly appearing nearer the top of the results pages.
Some SEOs have dubbed the update ‘Titanic’ – in a cheeky nod to the way it has sunk strong sites.
Those Internet marketing firms affected by Penguin (of which, ClickThrough Marketing is not one), are now working on ways to re-establish sites that got hit by Penguin – whilst attempting to understand what factors Google is using to differentiate between quality content, and spam.
Introducing the update, Matt Cutts, from Google, said the idea was to level the search engine optimisation playing field – to penalise sites with huge swathes of keywords on a page (known as ‘keyword stuffing’), and those using link building schemes to fake veracity.
Google’s last big update like this was Panda – an equally cute animal name for an equally harsh update. Panda was designed to look at the quality of web content – meaning sites using ‘spinning software’ to robotically generate content would be found out, and lose ranking as a result.
Panda smashed through a host of previously well-ranked sites: many article repository sites were affected (due to the fact quality control on such huge volumes of copy is nigh-on impossible).
Using automatic means to verify the quality of content can be a difficult thing to rely on – and obviously, some genuine sites would be negatively affected, whilst some less genuine ones would see a boost.
Anyone working in SEO is acutely aware that Google is forever moving the goalposts. The vicious circle will no doubt continue, running along the lines of: Google releases an update, websites lose ranking, webmasters find a new way to increase ranking, Google releases another update, websites lose ranking… and so on and so on.
As time goes on, the indifferences caused by these updates will be rebalanced – especially if quality site owners continue to produce quality content. At least, until the next raft of search engine updates.