Today, search engines are considered the most reliable source of information for whatever we’re looking for. While email marketing, social media and word of mouth are all important methods in reaching your audience, search engines are still top of the list for how we are introduced to a website for the first time. So making an impression and establishing a strong presence is crucial. The higher the ranking of your website, the more trusted and successful it’s perceived to be. It’s as simple as that.
Good practice Search Engine Optimisation is the key to climbing the rankings, but many businesses choose to utilise so called ‘blackhat’ techniques to unethically reach a higher ranking. This is what led to the introduction and evolution of the infamous Google Penguin.
What is Google Penguin?
Google Penguin rocked the industry last month with the much anticipated release of its 4.0 update. The original Penguin release was rolled out in April 2012 to catch out any sites spamming search results, with a focus on the quality of links pointing to a site. What does this actually mean? Well, any website seen to be buying links or obtaining them through link networks designed primarily to boost Google rankings, are penalised. It’s not front page news to hear that links are one of the key factors for ranking high in organic search results, but penalties for poor SEO practices usually mean that websites can lose visibility for keywords or, in extreme cases, drop completely out of organic search results. Through the release of Penguin, Google has changed the way it values and ranks websites, with the end goal being to make sure users find what they are looking for with ease through their own search terms.
What’s new with Google Penguin 4.0?
Google Penguin 4.0 is an official part of Google’s core algorithm and will be the last ever update. So what makes this different to previous versions? Well, historically, Penguin’s list of affected sites was frequently refreshed at the same time. However version 4.0 means that Penguin’s data is refreshed in ‘real time’, making changes visible much faster. As a result, any demotions or promotions of organic rankings for your website directly generated through unnatural links now happen more quickly. The good news is that any changes to the ranking of your website will happen almost immediately. The bad news is that if you are using tactics deemed unnatural by Google, negative repercussions of this behaviour will occur faster as well.
The other significant change is an all new “page specific” approach. In the past with Google Penguin, websites that obtained poor SEO practices would have their entire site penalised, meaning that unnatural links would result in your entire site’s ranking suffering. With the new update, pages and websites are viewed as separate entities, making penalised pages much easier to identify and an entire site’s reputation less likely to be tarnished as a result.
What does this mean for our clients?
The practise of buying links or building them in an unnatural way is not something we undertake, meaning there’s no huge concern that any of our clients will be penalised as a result. The team had already undertaken precautionary action by reviewing the link profiles of all our SEO clients and cleaning up anything where needed. Preemptive action to increase content marketing executions was taken to build a good volume of high quality links and is something we’re bringing into the strategy for a number of clients.
The Penguin update is just one of over 200 signals that Google uses in its algorithm and highlights the importance of regular analysis of our clients SEO performance. With an enhanced content marketing offering we’re ensuring that SEO becomes even more integrated with the full range of channels we work across.
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