Since Google’s initial deployment of the now-infamous Panda Update in February of 2011, the online marketing industry has undergone some substantial changes and made the SERPs more hospitable to white hat SEOs. In all of its subsequent revisions, Panda was altered to further reduce the likelihood of low-quality content taking precedence over relevant pages in organic search results. Panda had essentially made Google a more effective search engine, but when the Penguin Update was released in April; the intent was obvious: To make over-optimized pages a thing of the past.
For years, web-spam has plagued the SERPs and black hat SEO tactics such as keyword stuffing and spun articles have helped some over-optimizers achieve similar rankings to their white hat counterparts. This created a decidedly unfair scenario for developers of unique and relevant content who struggled to remain competitive in Google’s search results. Although both Panda and Penguin address this important issue, they are also intended to enhance the quality of white hat SEO techniques.
Despite having only been implemented less than two weeks ago, the effects of Penguin are already known. It is expected that 3% of all Google Search queries are to be affected by the update and penalized pages will have to revise or even entirely re-design their content in order to recover their rankings. Additionally, link schemes are also going to fall victim to Penguin, which indicates that even off-site SEO efforts must be monitored and carefully maintained to avoid penalties.
Google’s attempt to eliminate web-spam should not be considered a threat to creators of high-quality pages and content. Penguin and Panda are specifically targeting black hat strategies and reinforcing the belief that “content is king” in the SERPs. Going forward, SEOs will need to pay particularly close attention to their organic rankings and continue to develop the best possible content. For the foreseeable future, Penguin will be a cornerstone of Google’s algorithm with several revisions likely in store. In the months ahead, Penguin’s influence will continue to be noticed and optimizers will have to eradicate poor content in order to stay ahead in the SERPs.