Never known to rest on its laurels, the massive search engine Google has launched a new algorithm called Penguin. This change is designed to prevent sites from spamming the search engine. Google has low-quality websites in its crosshairs and is expected to become even more stringent in the future. Sites that engage in masking, keyword stuffing, and contain low-quality backlinks beware, because life is about to become much more difficult.
Google Penguin Update Clarified
The Penguin search algorithm is designed to be better at catching sites that violate Google publisher guidelines to improve search results ranking or that spam Google search results. According to Google, this update will affect approximately three percent of Google search queries. Sites that are believed to violate the quality guidelines established by Google will see their search results rankings decrease.
In Google’s words, Penguin is “targeted at webspam.” This includes intentionally-created duplicate content, loading webpages with keywords, low-quality link exchange schemes, and presenting different URLs or content to search engines and users. Though Google has long been engaged in the war against spam, it is implementing new methods of identifying spammers. Google webspam team leader Matt Cutts made it clear that Penguin focuses on webspam, not search engine optimization (SEO).
The Uproar and How to Work with Penguin Update
Webmaster and SEO reaction to Penguin has not been positive, despite Google saying that SEO is not a target. Early analysis reveals that link relevancy and diversity of anchor text may be key factors considered by Penguin. Link relevance and quality are critical to Google so sites should attract a respectable number of quality links from websites and domains within the same niche. Site owners should evaluate their link profile monthly and remove any low-quality links.
Anchor text should be diverse and big money keywords should be included in less than half of these links. Paid text links featuring exact match anchor text are considered spammy links. Linking anchor text must appear more natural in order to be unaffected by Penguin. Examples include “blog post,” “click here,” and the website title.
Site owners should also verify that unfavorable sites have not scraped their content and maintained internal links or linked to the originating site as credit. That bad seed can create rotten apples for a site owner. Copyscape is an excellent tool to identify duplicated content and site owners can request that Google removal any duplicating pages. Improving the authority of the domain, increasing the number of quality backlinks, and ensuring that the site is optimized will also help improve Google rankings.