Google Penguin Update and the Implications for SEO

Google’s Penguin update (emerged earlier as a series of Webspam updates) is currently making a lot of online buzz. It appears there were significant number of websites that were affected and penalized for “over-optimization”.

As expected, the Penguin update was specifically aimed at sites violating Google’s quality guidelines. It’s the drama and anxiety over algorithm updates and what they mean every time Google makes an update.

Apart from Google’s recent updates being named after animals of the same color, what does this really mean for your SEO?

Apparently, though Google’s Panda/Penguin updates are implying this is about Black Hat/White Hat issues, there are still many speculations that it wasn’t completely about black hat and white hat SEO.

It will be a few more weeks before we know all of the implications involved in this update. There wasn’t much clarity with the Panda update either. But Google has made it clear that it’s targeting those violating its quality guidelines.

Google tells you what not to do and lists exactly what the quality guidelines are. There were 8 specific (classic) guidelines as you may already know, in exact words:

  1. Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
  2. Don’t use cloaking or sneaky redirects.
  3. Don’t send automated queries to Google.
  4. Don’t load pages with irrelevant keywords.
  5. Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
  6. Don’t create pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other malware.
  7. Avoid “doorway” pages created just for search engines, or other “cookie cutter” approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.
  8. If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.

To avoid the penalties of Google’s algorithm updates, the safest route is to simply stick with White Hat SEO, that means adhering to Google’s SEO guidelines and don’t do spam. Plain and simple.

Focus less on the algorithm signals and more on what you know to be good SEO practices for the end user and the search engine, the changes Google makes everyday will be less scary.

Algorithm updates are not new, Google make around 30 per month, but they do mean SEO is on a hard and fast journey with constant changes and new possibilities and opportunities.