Google Penguin Promises to Shape SEO Landscape Dramatically
Released in late April, Google Penguin is an update to the Google algorithm, a link analysis tool the search engine uses to rank pages on the Internet. This update promises to cut down on those web masters who rely upon SEO practices that are intended to trick the search engine into giving the page in question a higher rating than it deserves. In many instances, these techniques include the creation of duplicate pages and link sharing participation, in which several different web masters band together to share links across their sites for one another in the hopes of driving up traffic. By eliminating sites relying upon such practices, Google can give its users a more accurate look at relevant results for their particular search query.
According to estimates released by Google, this algorithm update could potentially affect as much as 3% of all of the search engine’s English language traffic. While 3% does not seem like a hugely substantial number, it nevertheless will likely prove to be an influential amount. In addition to the English language results, the update will also affect similar amounts of traffic in other popular languages, such as German and Chinese. Google claims that languages that are prone to large amounts of spam will see an even more dramatic impact.
Penguin is hardly the first time that Google has attempted to hone in on those web masters who are using techniques that are unsavory. Other updates for the search engine include last year’s Panda. While that update was intended to improve the overall user experience search engine results would provide, it worked in a very dissimilar manner to Penguin. For Penguin, seeking out the spam that is prolific online is instead the number one priority.
Since going live, Google Penguin has already released an update to its algorithm. While this update did make further changes, Google claims it will only affect some 0.1% of all searches conducted via the search engine. This latest update keeps the same name as its predecessor Penguin, as the engineers have simply dubbed it Penguin 1.1.
The release of this Penguin update has had a controversial reaction across the board. Some web masters are heralding it as a great development for Google, as this should allow legitimate sites to gain back some of the footing that they may have lost to other sites that are using unfair SEO practices to attempt to garner web traffic. On the other hand, the update could prove problematic for some web masters. This is particularly true for amateurs running small business or personal sites and blogs. If such an individual does not possess a sophisticated knowledge of how SEO works and what principles should and shouldn’t be applied, they could potentially find themselves ranking poorly on Google as a result.
In order to combat this problem, Google has made it possible to respond to the algorithm’s decision, should a web master feel that his or her site has been unfairly penalized. Many of the sites who are believed to have shown practices that appear to be unfair were the recipients of emails from Google, who has let them know that their site is currently not ranking on the search engine as a result of what Penguin has discovered. A reconsideration form allows the web master to contest any of the accusations that are believed to be misguided.
In addition to the complaint form for those who have been affected by the Penguin update, there is also a form available where web masters can report other sites that they feel are using unfair SEO practices to court traffic that legitimately belongs elsewhere. Google then reviews these complaints, looking at the sites in question to determine whether those allegations have any truth to them. While this can be seen as a boon for the small time web master who may have no other recourse against other sites, some SEO experts feel that this could potentially lead to abuses. For example, if a web master continually finds other sites to be ranking above his, he could lodge a complaint against such websites with no real merit behind why he is making such complaints.
Written by Fred, blogger and traveler who is interested in social networking, and Site2You and online marketing.