Google’s webspam update, now officially known as Penguin, has been generating a lot of buzz online. This particular algorithm change was designed with one goal in mind, well, two actually – reward sites that are doing SEO by the book, and penalize those that are “over-optimizing”. Now that some feedback has started to roll in, we will take look at the SEO implications of Penguin, and what the update could mean moving forward.
Penguin Impact Worldwide
SEOMoz, one of the trusted leaders in the SEO community, recently published a graph showing that Penguin has had an even bigger impact than Google’s past updates, including the controversial Panda, which shook the very foundation of the web in 2011. But it doesn’t stop there. In fact, it has been reported that the Penguin update has resulted in mass unemployment in the Indian cities of Bangalore, Delhi, and Mumbai. Apparently as much as 80% of the globe’s link building services are outsourced from India, and with the algorithm tweak focusing on eliminating this practice, many people are now out of work.
Crackdown on Black Hat SEO
What is so interesting about the Penguin update is that it has not really brought anything new to the table. By this we mean it is not focusing on anything SEO marketers don’t already know – that is, those who are already committed to the white hat practices Google approves of. For those who are on the black hat side of things, there are plenty of changes to take note of.
Google recently published a list of guidelines to let site owners know what it considers quality content. The company also shared a list of no-no’s to let everyone know what will no longer be tolerated. Here is a rundown of the practices you want to avoid in the wake of the Penguin update:
- Hidden links and text
- Sending automated queries
- Cloaking, doorway pages, and deceptive redirects
- Keyword stuffing
- Purposely creating duplicate content on pages, domains, or subdomains
- Creating pages that host phishing scams, or viruses, spyware, Trojans, and other malware
- Creating useless content that provides no real value to visitors
Avoiding these bad practices is what SEO experts have been preaching to content publishers and marketers for years. What’s different now with Penguin in effect is Google taking action against those it believes are committing the dreaded practice of web spam. In the past, this was something site owners could get away with. It looks like it will be extremely difficult to cheat the system moving forward.
Google has been making a lot of algorithm changes as of late, and surprisingly, more open than ever about what it is doing behind the scenes. With its openness regarding the Penguin update, the company not only gave the public a nice heads up, but the blueprint for avoiding the penalties. The SEO community couldn’t have asked for much more than this.