First there was the Florida update in 2003, which hit the internet like a cyclone and took out many businesses, striking fear into the hearts of spammers as it attempted to clean up. Then, last year the Panda was universally released with the same job in mind. And now the Penguin.
So what does it all mean for internet businesses?
Google’s Panda algorithm has been batting the cut and paste spammers aside for some time now and demanding good content on the world wide web. It works at lowering the rank of poor quality sites, whilst aiming to lift up the quality websites and put them in the spotlight.
Panda initially had a backlash for inconsistencies in the type of sites going up or down, so it went through an overhaul. To date, many websites have been penalized and told that their ‘tactics’ are questionable. Some of panda’s casualties claim unfair play; that their tactics were fine and their content original. Panda’s not infallible, but has the right idea.
Avoiding the panda’s slap (its big paw comes down on you and knocks you off the page) is important for online businesses, and it seems the best way to do this is to provide high quality, original content and build links in a natural way. After all, around 90% of clicks apply to the first page of search results. With Google searches dominatingEuropeandNorth America, it seems there is no way of getting around the big bear.
The Penguin made its appearance in April of this year and represents the 50 most recent set of changes by Google who, wearing a look of disapproval, decided to target websites that are over stuffed with keywords to improve their rank, and penalizing the ‘link spam’ sites. Hence the Penguin.
So how do you avoid the little arctic chap? Online businesses should start by re-thinking their philosophy that many links and content = good rankings. Poor links can now be ultimately damaging. The keyword becomes quality. PR strategies can help. Press releases, blogs by guests and news features are ways of improving quality content. Social media is another option that can help maintain the website’s originality and boost its ranking.
Panda and penguin are not going anywhere soon. But by keeping quality in mind, you stand a chance of avoiding the killer whale whenever he might materialise.