As I previously stated, the big aim of Penguin update is against manipulative and shady SEO efforts (a.k.a Black Hat SEO) such as over optimizing, keyword stuffing, link network, misleading/hidden links, duplicate content and content scraping. (basically everything opposite of the “Google Webmaster Quality Guidelines”). However, this update is different than the Panda 3.5 update which launched on April 19th which targeted sites with low quality content.
It seems the majority of the websites that are starting to feel the hit are websites which focus around “making money online” or “Get rich online” type websites, however, other websites that practice black hat, over optimization are also being hit. Here’s two examples of flagged site content that were given on the Google Webmaster Blog:
And Not Quite As Obvious:
Taking affect on all languages at the same time, the entire world will feel the changes made by the Penguin update. To give you some type of scope of the reach and depth of the Penguin update, when the infamous “Panda” update took effect roughly 12% of Google queries were affected in a major way. With the Penguin update, about 3% of queries will be affected in a moderate way.
How can you tell if your website was affected by the Google Penguin update? In about a week, check your organic traffic coming to your website. Was there a noticeable drop off, if not, check back in another week. This is because it may take a week or two for all the changes to occur in the results. Also, for the sites that are heavily penalized, log into your Google webmaster tools and see if you have an penalty message from Google. Over the past year Google has worked hard to increase communication with webmasters via webmaster tools.
If your website was hit by the update, don’t lose your head quite yet. With some hard work you can start to redeem yourself to Google. Read through Google Webmaster guidelines and create a game plan for how to fix your website. Really take your time to go though and fix all the spammy and black hat SEO things you possibly can. Once you have done everything you can to clean up the quality of your website and fix any errors reported by Google, you can apply to have your website reconsidered by Google.
Through all of these updates over the last year, you can definitely see a trend. Google is looking for good quality websites with good quality, relevant content to provide for their users searching on Google. Yes, performing black hat SEO tactics can be quick and easy and you might see some initial results, however, it’s pretty clear that not only will Google eventually penalize black hat websites but also they are simply less usable for your visitors.
Please take the extra time and spend the extra money to create a wonderful website you could show Matt Cutts and be proud of and in the long run it will pay-off with higher search rank, higher traffic and higher conversion rate.