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What does the Latest Penguin algorithm mean for search results and business?

A lot of you may be asking:  what is the Penguin algorithm?  Here’s a little summary in a nutshell.

In April 2012, Google released the first edition of Penguin, an algorithm that aims at decreasing rankings of websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines: Penguin is an algorithm that fights spam.  Black-hat SEO techniques, such as keyword stuffing (attracting search engines by loading keywords into the content and meta tags of the site), cloaking (encouraging a search engine to rank a website by displaying a hoax-version of the site to the search engine), and displaying duplicate content are all good examples.

Penguin 2.0, released in late May, is considered the most effective update yet. Google Engineer, Matt Cutts, explained that it will “have a pretty big impact on web spam.”  He states that the new rollout affects about 2.3% of US English site queries, and, although 2.3% does not seem like much, it adds up to over six million search results with a common word search like ‘cheese’!

However, what does this latest update mean for business owners and, more importantly, search engine results?  While spam reduction seems like a good idea, it is still artificial intelligence:  there’s no way that it might sometimes get it wrong, and demote genuine sites.

After UK website, Econsultancy, examined the results a few weeks after dust had settled, they discovered that lots of big names had received thousands in click change.  For instance, The Guardian receiving 30%, or over 14,000, but there’s a significant amount of spam sites in the winning pile too.  You only have to look at the web address:  instant24hpaydayloan.co.uk  or  letmewatchthis.ch  to see that they are, at the very least, questionable websites.

Yet, the latter gained 22,511 click change (more than 1000%) under the new Penguin update, and the former gained over 12,000, also more than a 1000% increase.

Examining the losers, there are some lesser known but still genuine sites that have lost out entirely.  icelolly.com – a site that allows users to compare holidays – has lost 75% in click change:  they’ve lost 105,712.  While there are also a decent number of legitimate sites that have lost under this new rollout, there are still spam sites that have rightfully been cut down in rankings.

Nevertheless, it’s likely that the new Penguin is looking as well as it can at the traditional spam techniques.  Spam moves forward quickly:  spammers all over the world are continuously looking for ways to trick the system, and Google’s fight against them is a somewhat legendary feat.  Whilst they can’t always be expected to get it perfectly right, they will probably continue to effectively redefine Penguin, making it more and more effective.

For business owners, and especially those who may have lost out in the latest update, it’s important to note that we’re all in it together.  Google Search is a useful tool, and one that we all use on a daily basis.  Of course, this means that the bad guys will always try to ruin it for us.  That’s not Google’s fault or our fault.  That’s just what the Internet is:  it’s everybody, everywhere.  While it may be harsh to say so, it may be that the best way for the latest Penguin losers to deal with it would be to find out what is making their website lose out, and fix it because it’s probably a wider problem with your website.  For instance, http://icelolly.com, a big loser looks, well, pretty awful and pretty fake.

While we’re not saying it’s their fault, it’s definitely not Google’s.  By continuing to develop our websites against Google’s guidelines, we can continue to make a better web, and make Google a better search engine.  That is a compromise, but it is one in which everybody wins.


Comments  5

  • Car Charger
    27 Oct 2015

    These Penguin updates typically impact anywhere from 0.3% to 3.1% of web sites indexed on Google, which accounts for millions of pages.

     Car Charger



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