It’s been a strange couple of weeks within the SEO industry, largely because of widespread panic amongst a number of webmasters about the Google Web Spam Penguin algorithm update, which is rolling out as I type this.
The panic stems from an announcement by Google’s very own Matt Cutts at the South by Southwest conference last month. Ok, it wasn’t so much an announcement, but more a case of he accidentally let slip that Google were working hard on an algorithm update, which aims to penalize those sites guilty of using spammy SEO tactics.
What is Google Penguin Algorithm Update ?
SEOs generally look to optimise sites in line with the search engine’s specified best practices, in order to make the sites appear higher in the search engines for certain search terms. Many SEOs have devised techniques that aim to manipulate the search rankings, by ‘tricking’ the search engines into seeing that a particular site is following best practice, when in fact they aren’t.
‘Black hat’ methods have been steadily unravelling in recent months, as the search engines have grown wise to them. One of the key ranking factors that the search engines use is the number of incoming links to a site. In order to obtain these links, many webmasters pay for them.
A number of these paid links derive from networks of specially created sites, of which Google is now actively seeking out and de-indexing from their search results.
Sites that have relied on such links could soon experience a vast reduction in search engine visibility due to links suddenly being lost.
Webmasters Waiting On Tenterhooks
It has now been announced that the algorithm is live and webmasters who are guilty of using black hat tactics should try to reverse any ‘black hat’ methods, in order to reduce the impact of the update as much as possible. Just what impact the algorithm update will actually have, waits to be seen.
How to Recover From Google’s Penguin Update ?
Go through your link profile and remove any suspect links that could be part of a link network. Tidy up your content – don’t write specifically for the search engines, put the user first. Black hat methods have no longevity, so SEOs should have been able to pre-empt such an update. In order to perform well in the search engines, you simply have to avoid going to the dark side.
Also if you think that your site has been affected, and it’s a mistake by the Penguin algorithm update, Google has a form that you can fill out. And that might be your best path to recovery.