Google rolled out their latest algorithm update, nicknamed Penguin, on April 24th. I haven’t seen an update that has had this severe of an effect on sites since Panda. The blowback from SEOs, however, seems even more intense than Panda. This open letter to Google is one example.
While the majority of the sites I own were unaffected, minimally affected, or positively affected, many of the sites I monitor, but do not own, seem to have been hit hard.
Here is a pretty good rundown of what Google targeted with their latest update. Basically, they were looking to combat webspam in the form of low-quality comments, keyword stuffing, using money-term anchor text too often, and getting links in spammy ways such as commenting on a blog with your username disguised as anchor text that links back to your site.
The results are quite interesting. Websites that saw their search rankings tumble had a money keyword for anchor text in 65 percent or more of their inbound links, according to Microsite Masters (not that this percentage was a guarantee of being hit by Penguin):
Matt Cutts provided a link to a form you can use if you feel your site was unfairly and adversely affected by Penguin, though I doubt submitting your info will accomplish anything.
I will update this post as I learn more about it.
There has been a lot of movement in Google’s SERPs recently, and they have definitely been making a lot more changes to their ranking algorithm in 2012 than I’ve ever seen before, including several Panda refreshes.
First, in February, Google announced this update which affected 11.8% of search queries.
Then, most recently, on April 24th, Google began rolling out an update now being referred to by some as Penguin, which is another step by them to “reward high-quality sites.” This means they are mostly targeting webspam like keyword stuffing and spun content. You can read Matt Cutts’ full blog post here.
While there is plenty of discussion about these two changes on SEO forums around the web, there is little discussion about an algorithm change I noticed taking place on March 21, 2012. This update seems to have affected many long-tail keywords. The only word by Google around this time was this tweet:
Panda refresh rolling out now. Only ~1.6% of queries noticeably affected. Background on Panda: goo.gl/mTKCH— A Googler (@google) March 23, 2012
I am interested to hear if anyone else noticed or was affected by a March 21st, 2012 Google algorithm change. Let me know in the comments. I will update this post as I learn more.