This past week, everyone has been talking about the 52 Updates from Google. Late last Friday, after I had just updated my blog about the Google Algorithm update, Matt Cutts wrote his latest post on inside search blog.
Penguin was officially released on April 24th, (again the day after I published a blog post on seojoblogs.com). People saw their rankings drop when Panda was realeased, some saw their rankings increase (but you don’t get to hear about these ones). Now everyone is talking about Penguin, but what is it? Well some people have said it is an update of Panda while others are calling it a separate name, Penguin. The name not is as important as the actual update which focuses on 2 areas of a site: keyword stuffing and unnatural linking.
Some people have been using copyspinning tools to produce poor quality content such as this example. (taken from the Google blog)
You can blatantly see the links for loans have nothing to do with getting fit, and for a long time this has been a black hat technique. Those sites that practice the above techniques which includes keyword stuffing and unnatural linking (and spammy links like exact match anchor text and guest posts on bad sites) will lose rankings. So it is important when you are doing blogger outreach to target high quality blogs, no spam otherwise you will be affected.
What are the 52 updates?
There were 52 updates in April and some of the other most important changes included Penguin. There was also an update regarding more authorative results, no freshness boost for low quality sites, sub-sitelinks in expanded sitelinks and smoother ranking, for fresh results. Content is king, and as Google loves fresh content, your site will have a higher chance of ranking if you update it regularly than if you do not. Matt Cutts has said that if you feel your site has been unfairly targetted, to contact Google.
Google vs Spam
Google are constantly fighting spam, as there is apparently still a lot on the internet which is the complete opposite of a what the cofounder of Google, Sergey Brin said in 1999. I saw the quote from Danny Sullivan’s post on <a href=http://marketingland.com/is-googles-over-optimization-penalty-its-jump-the-shark-moment-in-web-search-8633″> “Google’s Over Optimisation Penalty”</a> where he refers to the fact that Sergey Brin, said there is no spam and that they never ban anyone. I am sure he didn’t know at the time how many updates they would carry out (it is up to 500 a year), but surely there has to be a time when Google says stop and appreciates the work the SEO world has been doing.
We seem to be bound by what Google say. Yes they are the dominating search engine and I do use many Google products myself, but it just seems like they have become too big and we have no choice but to follow their rules. This update will just be one of many to come in the future. I do not like seeing spam in the search results and am happy a search engine is trying to eradicate it, but as an SEO person, I would like to be certain that if I do work for a client which is white hat. This surely leads onto us having to justify SEO even more.
So what should we do as SEOs?
Well I think first thing is first, do not get your clients to focus on rankings. Move away from this. Use this update as another opportunity (as I am sure you have tried this before) to show why looking at other SEO factors are important. Get your clients to look at natural search traffic and social signals. If you have not been using a social media strategy before, this is even more reason to start.
(image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/antarcticabound/5220534077/)