Google Penguin algorithm update targets poor content websites

Following on from the last Google major update known as “Panda”, the new Google algorithm update “Penguin” has recently been launched. If you’re website has poor content, too many links with spammy keywords, or has not been updated for the last year, be warned – Google is targeting you. This is part of Google’s stated goal of providing only high quality, relevant results for searchers.

Over-optimised websites

Google’s Principal Engineer Matt Cutts, alluded to the Penguin update when he described “over-optimized” websites being punished. Cutts has confirmed the over-optimisation warning was aimed straight at what Google calls “webspam”.

In his latest statement Matt Cutts explains, “in the pursuit of higher rankings or traffic, a few sites use techniques that don’t benefit users. We see all sorts of webspam techniques every day, from keyword stuffing to link schemes that attempt to propel sites higher in rankings. We have launching an important algorithm change targeted specifically at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines. Our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics”.

According to Google, webspam tactics to avoid are:

  • Spammy Page Titles – this includes titles that are consistently too long and that include multiple different keywords, or use the same keyword more than twice.
  • Excessive or Unnatural Internal Linking – keyword usage in the anchor text of many internal links is seen as potentially manipulative (particularly in the footer of a website).
  • “Doorway” pages created just for search engines.
  • Cloaking or sneaky redirects.
  • Participation in link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking or PageRank.

Matt Cutts went on to say, “The goal of many of our ranking changes is to help searchers find sites that provide a great user experience and fulfil their information needs. To that end we’ve launched Panda changes that successfully returned higher-quality sites in search results.”

Building high quality sites

Google Employee Amit Singhal recently posted some guidance on building high-quality sites. We have reproduced some of his points below that we believe are pertinent to anyone seeking to establish a serious, long-term web presence.

  • Create a website where the content is trusted by visitors.
  • Show your expertise in this particular area.
  • if you are requesting credit card information ensure that your site establishes its credibility.
  • Make sure your content does not contain spelling, stylistic, or factual errors.
  • Provide original content or information and not just something rehashed from elsewhere.
  • Make sure your pages provide substantial value when compared to similar pages in search results.
  • Provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic, not just a short paragraph.
  • Look at making your site the recognised authority on its topic.

Lastly, try to create inbound links regularly to stop your site being marked as spam by search engines. A good way to do this is using social media to share the content from your site. Try using videos, press releases and writing a blog to create high value content.

Integralvision has been providing clients with similar advice ever since we became aware of Google moving towards considering other factors besides keywords in 2008. Google is now more interested in the authority, trust and credibility of your website. If you have any doubts, try asking yourself the above questions and see how well you do.

Integralvision can provide a consultancy service on your website’s current status, and can work with you to develop solutions if required.