Do You *Heart* the Google Penguin Update?

Google webspam penguin updateIf you’re at all interested in your website’s rankings on Google you’ve probably heard rumblings, if not screaming, about Google’s recent Webspam Update, known as “Penguin.”  Many have even experienced a surprising decline in their search rankings since the update took place (hopefully you’re not among them).  So what the heck is this animal and why is it raining on parades?

What is the Google Penguin Update?

The so called Penguin update was an April 24, 2012 update to Google’s algorithm, the formula used by Google to determine rankings of web pages in the search engine results pages.  Some websites were hit pretty hard by this update, which really did nothing more than automate the job Google’s team has been doing manually for years to fight webspam. In other words, the rules haven’t changed — Google is just becoming a better and more efficient referee.

What’s the Penguin’s Beef?

Probably the biggest issue the Penguin was designed to address is “over-optimization.”  Google describes the update as being aimed at “sites that we believe are violating Google’s quality guidelines.” So, while some companies have long been rewarded by the great work of their overzealous SEO firms, what with every inbound link containing the spot-on anchor text keyword, links built from any and all sources, every H1, H2, and alt tag perfectly optimized, every URL ideally constructed… Well, ya might want to take a closer look at this strategy.

Let’s just say that some people have been lost to the fact that HUMAN BEINGS are supposed to be visiting these websites and reading this content. Many have become almost robotic in their placement of keyword phrases such that their text sounds more like an awkward teenager asking out a prom date than a website written for real humans.  

Yes, yes, of course we all want our content to be relevant to what our customers and prospects are searching for – that’s why we do keyword research and optimize our sites to those topics so our websites can be found. But we also know of competitors and others who take the SEO thing a bit too far. Thus, the Penguin.

What’s to Love about the Google Penguin?

For companies who are committed to investing in great content that truly provides valuable insight and information, Google’s update is welcomed with open arms. The update has opened up space for sites with content that is actually worth reading!  If this is your modus operandi, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a rise in your traffic and rankings since the update took place on April 24, 2012. 

Has your website benefited from Penguin? Check it out for yourself on Google Analytics by looking at your organic search traffic before and after the update.  Hopefully you’ve been rewarded. If not, it might be time to consult the services of an inbound marketing company. After all, real and great content is what we do for our clients!   

About the Author


Cristi is president and founder of Spark Inbound Marketing, an inbound marketing agency dedicated to high quality content creation and smart strategies to help companies attract more visitors and leads.

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