It seems that every other week there’s rumours of yet another Google algorithm update, which more often than not, leaves SEOs quaking in their boots. Online businesses have been know to have been brought to the ground by some of the past algorithm updates. Google works at improving the quality of its search results, and in doing this, the rubbish from the internet is weeded out.
Along Came Panda….
It was last year that Google rolled out Panda – an algorithm update that sought to eradicate the millions of spam-filled sites out there from its search results. If your content wasn’t of a good quality, unique, or even relevant to your site, the chances are that you were affected by the Panda update. Webmasters were encouraged to include quality content on their sites, thus improving the search results for users.
There have been further updates to Panda since the initial rollout, each having yet more impact on search results and encouraging webmasters to opt for more quality, unique and relevant content.
Earlier this year, April 24th to be exact, Google rolled out its ‘Webspam Update’, which was later to be called ‘Penguin’. Rumours were rife amongst the search community that Google was working away at an update designed to penalise sites that employ ‘black hat’ SEO tactics to perform well in the search results. Any webmasters that had taken part in any form of scuzzy SEO activity in the past, probably encountered a few sleepless nights in the build up to the update.
Google’s official announcement on the update was that it affected just 3.1% of search queries, although that figure is nigh impossible to confirm, due to the nature of rankings constantly changing – sometimes on an hourly basis. However, it would appear that the actual effect of Penguin was far greater.
A Penguin Update Is Imminent
It has been 5 month since Penguin rolled out and it’s looking increasingly likely that an update is just around the corner. Bare in mind that there was just 2 months between the roll out of Panda and Panda 2.0, so this lengthy intermission could suggest that the next update is going to be a big one.
To make the anticipation even less bearable, at a recent conference in San Francisco, Matt Cutts, head of search spam at Google, commented that the next update will be “jarring and jolting” for webmasters. Naturally, people are beginning to worry about what could possibly lie ahead.
Search Engine Roundtable carried out some research into the first Peguin update, which concluded that around 65% of SEOs that were surveyed were in some way negatively affected by the update.
All webmasters can do is undo any black hat work that may have been carried out in the past and ensure that your site is as white hat as is humanly possible, in order to avoid the wrath of the might Penguin.
This post was written by Lee Farsley, who works for a Digital Marketing Agency and loves to blog about SEO, PPC, social media and anything else to do with internet marketing.