Friday, May 17, 2013

Who’s afraid of the big bad penguin?

If you’re around the search engine optimisation industry (or in any way connected it to it) then you will hear the words ‘Panda’ and ‘Penguin’ being mentioned more and more in hushed tones these days.

Fear not… these are not some frightening polar animals we are all cowering in fear of, but updates to the Google algorithm that can affect your site’s organic search rankings. Or to be more precise, they are actually a series of different updates to the algorithm to clean up the search engines results pages to display ‘better’ sites that Google thinks are a more relevant match for our query Panda updates started happening in early 2011 and were aimed at reducing the impact of low quality websites in Google’s results. Penguin updates started happening a little later in April 2012 and targeted sites that used ‘black hat’ SEO techniques. Both have had updates by the clever people at the world’s most popular search engine since their launch and are now key events that the digital marketing community gets excited about…. trust me, we do!

However, Google’s head of search spam Matt Cutts has recently stated that there will be a large Penguin update in 2013. One that will have a big impact that could affect a lot of sites. Sites who have so far used search engine optimisation approaches that sit in that grey-ish area between entirely ethical SEO and the darker world of dodgier techniques. The original Penguin release had a big effect on organic rankings for a number of sites (and not just the black hat technique ones). However the forthcoming update is due to be deeper and have a bigger effect than those before.

What effect? Well that's anyone's guess, however anyone who has used less-than-legitimate to get their site up the organic rankings may soon find out that this new penguin makes search engine optimisation a lot more black and white.

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