Google’s Penguin out to floor website malpractice

Google PenguinIn the last week, the latest Google algorithm ‘Penguin’ has come into force, looking to eradicate websites that break search best practice rules.  However, Google has been forced to admit teething problems with the update after it received complaints from legitimate companies that had been removed from search rankings as a result of the changes.

In spite of the negativity, the original aim of Penguin to clean up the web space is a positive move for the SEO industry.

The Penguin algorithm launched on April 24, and is an update focused squarely on reducing ‘black hat webspam’. These are sites created purely with the purpose of manipulating the Google environment to give itself a high search ranking and make itself more prominent.

In the past, sites such as ‘content farms’ – where a content is developed purely for the purpose of ‘cheating’ the engines algorithm – have been employed to circumvent the established rules and it is tactics such as these that Google is out to stop as it tightens the rules around its best-practice guide.

Almost inevitably there have been legitimate sites that have suffered in the changeover, most notably a prominent US mental health charity which raised concerns for sites with a .org domain. However in the majority of cases this is due to failing to employ sound SEO techniques and the overall outlook for the industry on the back of these changes appears to be good.

Without doubt the questionable SEO techniques employed to boost rankings have detracted from the internet user experience and made finding the quality content people want to see extremely difficult.

The changes in Penguin should remove many of these ‘spam’ pages from Google search, effectively cleaning up the web space, and helping to improve the perception of the SEO industry.

This tightening of Google’s rules also reinforces the need for online businesses to have a solid ‘traditional’ SEO strategy in order rank strongly within Google and improve market position organically.

The value of traditional SEO strategy will definitely increase for businesses as the new tightened rules take full effect as without it, companies will struggle to retain their position. It should now become a fundamental concern in any forward-thinking online business plan.

Alex Wares is managing director at search marketing agency Mediarun