Around April 19th Google released Panda 3.5. This update went after more low
quality websites and was almost missed as
most of us were still discussing the pending "over-optimization penalty" update
we were warned about.
April 24th Google
makes an announcement on their blog. There is a new major algorithm change
with a brand
new name... Penguin.
What is the Google Penguin Update?
Is this the over-optimization penalty we have all been holding our breath
for? According to Google's blog,
"In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted
at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are
violating Google’s existing
quality guidelines. We’ve always targeted webspam in our rankings, and this
algorithm represents another improvement in our efforts to reduce webspam and
promote high quality content. While we can't divulge specific signals because we
don't want to give people a way to game our search results and worsen the
experience for users, 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."
Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land reported, the over-optimization penalty
comment was meant to be more focused on sites that participate in webspam. Looks
like the two are related.
It's extremely important to note the following from Google's Blog:
"Although they are no longer causing it webspam and now calling it “White hat”
search engine optimizers often improve the usability of a site, help create
great content, or make sites faster, which is good for both users and search
engines. Good search engine optimization can also mean good marketing: thinking
about creative ways to make a site more compelling, which can help with search
engines as well as social media. The net result of making a great site is often
greater awareness of that site on the web, which can translate into more people
linking to or visiting a site.
The opposite of “white hat” SEO is something called “black hat webspam” (we say
“webspam” to distinguish it from email spam). In the pursuit of higher rankings
or traffic, a few sites use techniques that don’t benefit users, where the
intent is to look for shortcuts or loopholes that would rank pages higher than
they deserve to be to be ranked. We see all sorts of webspam techniques every
keyword stuffing to
link schemes that attempt to propel sites higher in rankings."
How do you know if this change has hit you?
The easiest way to find out is to check your traffic.
Have you lost significant traffic to your site in the last week?
Have you noticed a significant drop in traffic directly from Google?
Have you seen a
significant increase in traffic?
What to do if you have been hit?
First, take a good HARD look at your website. This can be very difficult to do. We all want to believe that our baby is innocent. We all want to believe that our baby is perfect.
Make sure that you are not spamming. Ask yourself one simple question, "If
Google didn't exist, is there anything on my site that I wouldn't have put
Second, head over to
Google Webmaster Tools. Has Google tried to forewarn you that potential problems
exist? It's time to clear those up right now.
Third, if you absolutely believe that there is no way your website should have
Google has a form where you can send in your feedback. HOWEVER
**Warning** Do NOT fill out this form unless you
are absolutely sure that your website does not participate in anything that
would be considered webspam. If you are unsure what webspam is, find out FIRST.
The last thing you want to do is send a spammy page to Google and say,
"Look at ME!"
Can 1 Choice Help?
If you are unsure if your website comes across as spammy or if you have
been hit by the recent updates, we can help you in the following ways:
a. You can
site for a free 5-10 minute video SEO Site Review
b. You can join our
SEO consulting program for one month or 10 and
we will work together to get you back on track.
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