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Google Penguin Update: How May It Affect Your Site?

charles
27th April 2012

As we all know by now Google are constantly striving to improve their search algorithm. The ‘Penguin Update’ or ‘Webspam Update’ as it has also been referred to, is the latest round of changes made by Google to its search results and has one goal: Targeting webspam and catching those who spam its search results, violating Google’s quality guidelines. We will take a closer look at what exactly Google’s quality guidelines say later, but before that what is “webspam”?

Webspam as Google has named it to distinguish it from email spam is basically the opposite of “white hat” SEO. In an attempt to fool or ‘game’ Google in to delivering higher rankings or traffic, some sites look to target loopholes in Google’s algorithm and use techniques that don’t benefit the user at all, to ultimately rank higher for search terms. Google have identified the four most common “black hat” techniques that they aim to crack down on with the Penguin update:

• Link schemes
• Keyword stuffing
• Duplicate content
• Cloaking, sneaky Javascript redirects, and doorway pages

The two most popular techniques adopted by black hat SEO marketers that Google’s Penguin update is expected to punish are those who participate in link schemes and webmasters who ‘keyword stuff’ or fill their website with terms they want to rank highly for at the expensive of providing a satisfying user experience. Both of these techniques capitalise on major factors that Google use to ranks its search results.

Google have made no secret that each link your site receives from an external site acts as a vote of confidence, meaning the more links your site receives, the higher the authority your site will be perceived to have.

Link schemes involve purchasing or exchanging links with sites that have no relevance to your website whatsoever, Google included an example of the types of non relevant punishable links they have found with the Penguin update already.

Example of the type of irrelevant links that Google’s Penguin Update will begin to crack down on.

This latest update had some sceptics reigniting the debate that SEO may be dead, however Google themselves have moved to extinguish these flames stating that the Peguin update will in fact benefit web sites that engage in SEO correctly and follow Google’s quality guidelines. Matt Cutts, head of the webspam team at Google released the following statement to web site owners who may have concerns about SEO and see it as a risky move for their business:

“Our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics”

It is expected the penguin update will affect 3% of search queries. But what is more important is the way the update is now improving the effectiveness of SEO for websites that follow Google’s guidelines, using trustworthy white hat seo techniques and providing a positive user experience.

If you believe your web site could benefit from SEO, Innermedia is an SEO agency in Hertfordshire with more than a decade’s experience in helping businesses improve their online presence, contact Innermedia for more information.

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