In case you haven’t heard, Google launched yet another update to their algorithm. For those that are keeping count, that is the second one in just over 2 months. Here is a link to an article explaining the nuances of the Google Hummingbird update that was released in late August.
Unfortunately, these last two updates have been rough on many within the internet marketing community. Some have reported some very concerning drops within the Google SERPS almost immediately after Google Penguin 2.1 was released.
If this has happened to you, don’t get too worked up about it, as we’re going to take an in-depth look at this newest change within the algorithm and what it means for your business. Google Webspam team leader, Matt Cutts was the first to announce this new change through his Twitter feed shown below…
According to Cutts, this update will affect 1% of all sites. Whether this is true or not will remain to be seen. First of all, the name Penguin 2.1 is genuinely misleading as this is actually Google’s 5th actual update of Penguin. The Google team decided that since it wasn’t a major update, that they would just title it a 2.1. Go figure. For many sites, this hasn’t been such a “minor” update as word has quickly spread that sites from all over have quickly dropped. But why? To answer that question we’ll have to take a look back at what the original 4 Penguin updates were about….
The initial launch of Penguin is meant to periodically scour through the literally billions of pages indexed within Google and sniff out the sites that were using spammy tactics to rank high within the SERPS. Those that may have survived the onslaught of the first four updates are now feeling the effects in a hard way. The Penguin 2.1 update is meant to give the original a boost by searching out anything that is deemed spammy or unnatural that the first four couldn’t find. Essentially, Penguin 2.1 is doing what the older versions should have by chasing down the sites that have manipulated the SERPS through shady tactics and punishing them accordingly. This includes bad links and sites that contain a lot of anchor texted keywords.
If you have been hit by Penguin 2.1, then you may want to take a look at the links pointing to your sites along with the outbound links as well. It could be anything from forum spam to links from classified websites or even “do follow” blogs that are interpreted by Google as your sites attempting to “game” the system in order to procure backlinks. It may be in your best interest to look at any links that may be suspicious or seem unnatural and “disavow” them. This may be the only way to avoid getting hit or to recover if your site was hit.
The continuous barrage of updates by Google only reinforces the fact that if you try to manipulate search rankings, it will eventually catch up to you. This may be a hard pill to swallow for some marketers, but the only true method of SEO is to have outstanding content and a message that resonates enough with readers that they will be willing pass along your site to others, essentially doing all of the marketing for you. There is no doubt that Google will continue to improve their algorithms in an attempt to rid the internet of unnatural spam and SERP manipulation so that the companies that are relevant and offer genuine value to others can remain at the top. If you are a business owner, the only way that you will survive the wrath of Google is by doing REAL marketing that doesn’t involve SERP manipulation.