April 24th spelled doomsday for some websites and Internet marketers, as Google rolled out its latest update, the Penguin. No one will actually fully understand the mysterious Penguin algorithm, but from a Post Penguin viewpoint, we do know Google has gone through great efforts to combat web spam.
Google is not a fan of websites and Internet marketers using “black-hat” tactics to over optimize their sites. The update is not necessarily to get rid of only spam, but sites that aren’t of any quality. Originally called the “Farmer” update, the hardest hit by the update were content farms or websites who published low quality, keyword-stuffed articles that offered little or no value to the actual reader. Penguin took it a step further to penalize the whole site if there were enough pages flagged for thin content. Google’s previous update, the Panda, also combatted to stop scrappers, or sites that would publish other company’s content in order to out rank the original author’s content.
Branding has sort of lost its traction and Google has made a point for the need of strong brand signals. If a site had zero brand signals, there is a chance it was hit by the update. Penguin is placing more of an emphasis on the quality and reputation rather than the amount of links that point to a particular website. Content is still king in the eyes of Google. In other words, if an article isn’t well written the search engine is not going to be fooled this time around. The “Google” sweet spot for an organic, well-written article is anywhere from 750- 1,000 words per page. If a site is found to be publishing keyword stuffed, meaningless content, there is a huge chance it will be pushed down significantly in the rankings. Google also believes affiliates should be a small part of content on the site and should be very clear in distinguishing original sites from affiliates. There should also be no unnatural anchor text profiles or hidden text or lines. Multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with duplicate content are also being pushed down by the Penguin update.
About 3% of all queries have been affected the Penguin update, which is actually a huge amount in the grand scheme of things. Google has again revamped the way sites are ranked, making the point that it’s not how fast one can rank anymore, but how one can rank and stay at the top.