The Google Penguin Update – Should You Be Worried?

May 01, 2012

Collective Measures

(Insert cute photo or animation of penguin here…) Google announced its Webspam Update, almost immediately renamed Penguin Update, on April 24th. If you are reading this, you are likely already aware of this Google algorithm change, as webmasters and site owners all over the world have take to the forums and blogs to complain that their sites have been wrongly demoted in the SERPs. In this post, I don’t want to argue about whether this update has been effective in improving search results, nor do I want to argue whether Google’s overall practice of patching up its algorithm from time to time is effective. There are already plenty of good articles and blog posts about those topics out there. All I want to do is share our agencies experience with this latest update. While the Panda update did effect some of our clients, and changed some of the SEO strategies and tactics that we were recommending, we have not seen this be the case with Penguin. We have been monitoring both rankings and organic Google traffic for our clients and haven’t seen any effect, on any of our clients, since April 24th. Again, I am not stating that Penguin didn’t negatively effect some quality sites, as there does seem to be some anecdotal evidence out there that this has happened in very isolated cases. However, as was stated in Google’s Webmaster Central Blog post about Penguin, sites implementing “white hat” SEO tactics will not be affected. We have seen this to be true with all of our clients. At a high level, we don’t do anything “black hat” – we don’t advise our clients to buy links or implement any linking schemes; we don’t advise them to hide page content or links in CSS; we don’t advise them to link to irrelevant sites, nor to participate in comment spam. We do make sure that our clients optimize their content for the most relevant search terms. We advise them to expand their content, both on-site and off, where it makes sense without being spammy. We advise them to build links from reputable and relevant sites. and we also advise them to build and use very cohesive internal linking strategies. This isn’t to say that “black hat” SEO tactics don’t work. They do, as we exposed in one of our recent posts about buying Google +1s affecting search rankings. However, we would never recommend these types of tactics to our clients, because inevitably, at some point down the line, Google will come up with another algorithm (insert another cute furry animal name here) update that will severely penalize the sites that are using said tactic(s).