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New Google Spam Algorithm Update

Google Targets Low Quality Sites Again

Source : Google Inside Search Blog

Importance : 

Google SpamOur Commentary

Google has started the rollout of a small algorithm update targeting poor quality websites. It's been dubbed Penguin by SearchEngineLand.

The techniques Google are targeting as part of this update are not new and Google has been combating them for years already.

In their blog post announcing the change Google explain they are targeting both anchor text of links and quality of content on a page as primary focus. When looking at the examples used to explain the the type of spam they are targeting - you can see it  is very keyword heavy copy or irrelevant links as part of the content as this image shows. It's from an example of a site Google calls out which it is targeting:

It's a good thing, I think as it's another blow against lazy SEOs and spammers and Google has certainly given sufficient warning through warnings to some siteowners through Google Webmaster tool are consistent advice from their blogs:

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

Source: Google

So, good news for businesses that want to create a brand, quality products and experiences. A blow for highly competitive niches where it is typically difficult to be creative and web spammers are active. Compared to the Panda changes, this update will only affect around 3% of English web queries so quite a small change in reality, though I believe combined with all recent updates a lot of poor quality sites will cease to exist in any meaningful way.

Surprisingly from reading on sites such as SearchEngineLand many people in the SEO industry are fed up with these changes. Astounding really, the fact is Google is a dominating force, its actions feel sensible and it is challenging businesses to step up, be remarkable and put effort in. The days of automated content scraping and link building are no more and lets face it, it has taken Google long enough to catch up with these lazy techniques. I don't think SEO has died or is dying, it has just changed, as everything does.

Our Recommendations

It is easy to get confused with the messages from Google, the lines between white & black hat SEO are in a state of flux depending on who you speak to and what day of the week it is... What we do however know, is creating highly engaging websites which require quality design and high quality content that is updated regularly is what is liked.  That does require that your content is well organised and you have researched your keywords effectively, so very much still a place for On-page optimisation.

4 tips for ensuring you stay in Google's Good Books

  • Check your backlinks for signs of low quality or spammy links (utilise MajesticSEO or OpenSiteExplorer to help analyse)
  • Ensure you only have high quality content on your site (check any external news finds or copy writer work), put another way, only create amazing content for your brand and audience
  • Complete quarterly SEO audits and run training with internal teams every 6 months
  • Ask your agencies about the types of links they will generate for you as part of an initial pitching process and ongoing reviews

Share your thoughts

  • Robert Bowmer commented on April 27, 2012

    I just feel google are trying to force everyone on to adwords at the end of the day thats how they make their money.

  • Problem is, Google set out to improve SERP quality – and all they’ve done is worsen it. It’s not just black hat SEO that’s been hit – completely legitimate websites have disappeared overnight. There’s zero consistency to what they’ve done, so I dearly hope that this “shuffle” we’re seeing is only temporary…

    Google missed the mark on this one. Big time.

    • Hi Chris, that’s the rub – there will always be “false positives” to these signals – why Google do a lot of manual checks as well, but these algorithms will never work across all sites. There will always be winners and losers.

      This is what makes SEO maddening for marketers – the inconsistency and randomness.

      Still shows ethical SEO essential these days and even that may not be enough.


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