On 24th April, 2012 Google rolled out a new update called ‘Penguin’ which was intended to target webspam in Google’s search results. This update will supposedly target websites which spam the SERPs by indulging in tactics which violate Google’s quality guidelines.
The update will target about 3% of search queries. According to Google Webmaster Central blog:
In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines. We’ve always targeted webspam in our rankings, and this algorithm represents another improvement in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content. While we can’t divulge specific signals because we don’t want to give people a way to game our search results and worsen the experience for users, our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics.
The intentions were noble. For last 1 year we have seen Google take many measures through which it claims to clean up the search results. Panda updates, paid link messages etc. were all part of Google grand scheme of things to curb the menace. But did they really succeed?
Panda was targeted at content farms. While many small publishers were punished and they never really recovered, we saw big time publishers regain almost everything. We still see results from content farms. Maybe tad less from pre-panda times but still significant.
The initial reactions to Penguin update have been thoroughly negative. If the outcome was to weed out spam, we still have to see it. Many genuine sites have been caught in this update. Their crime? No one quite exactly knows.
At Enovabiz Solutions, we analyzed top twenty sites for a niche to see the losers and gainers. All the sites had same kind of link profile. Link exchanges, article directories, web directories, Press releases and some of them even had paid links. But the Penguin update affected one of the most established sites. Even the new sites with blatant paid links were rewarded.
So where did the Google go wrong? One thing is for sure that Google has made a huge mistake with this update.
The question is will it own up the mistake and rectify it?
The jury is still out on this one. Till that time losers can just wait for some time to see if any more updates will restore their rankings.
Oh yes, one more thing if you really trust Google and think that your site was unfairly penalized then you can fill up this Feedback Form on Google’s recent algorithm update (“Penguin”) and hope for any positive reply.