On April 24th, Google released the details of their new search algorithm update known as: Penguin. The Penguin update was designed to crack down on dubious SEO practices. For example, one of the 50+ changes Google has made includes changes to their ranking system based on “fresh” websites and content. This means websites with low-quality or duplicated content drop in Google search rankings. Other changes in the Penguin update target web and link spam. Repetitive anchor text schemes were also heavily hit during the march of the penguins update.

Many of these changes are aimed at returning more relevant search results for its users by targeting and removing websites employing “black hat” SEO techniques from high ranking positions. Unfortunately, many businesses and SEO specialists were caught off-guard when Google announces some once acceptable SEO practices were heavily penalized by the new update. While these changes may improve the search experience in the future, currently the new Penguin update has caused an uproar from businesses of all sizes that watched their top-ranking websites plummet to be replaced by sub-par websites that have little of no marketing done.

To enhance web presence, small and large companies alike have relied on SEO specialists to tailor their websites for improved searches. Traditional SEO techniques include keyword placement, blog writing and website linking. With the new update, however, these traditional methods of ranking websites are now weighted differently and some techniques have been rendered useless under the Penguin criteria. The effects of the Penguin update have hit small businesses the hardest. With tight budgets and fewer resources, small businesses are not able to react as quickly as larger businesses. To save their search rankings, Google’s Matt Cutts has encouraged businesses to emphasis high-quality content and usability with respect to company websites. It appears Google is trying to foster a more “natural” ranking system; unfortunately, the changes are so drastic that companies are essentially loosing customers due to their new lower rankings.


Written by: Simon D. Rubin