Last year, it was Panda. Now, it’s Penguin. Both are cute black and white animals, but also the names of Google’s changes to its algorithm that determine search results. It’s part of an effort to remove spammy websites and systems set up to game them, and fighting techniques well-known to the SEO community as gray/black hat activities (against Google’s guidelines). It includes keyword stuffing, link schemes, cloaking and duplicate content amongst other things.
Dinkum has found that following Google’s guidelines is good business practice. Occasionally there is the need for workarounds to get our client the best exposure possible but certainly never push that envelope into black hat. When Google Panda (named after the man who developed it, Navneet Panda) came out, negative results were minimal. There may have been a couple of small dips here and there but it seemed to essentially target what it considered to be poor quality content. We’ve placed strong emphasis on working with very good content creators and of course we always create original content. Likewise with Penguin, the most recent update which targets bad links. Again, we’ve never engaged in link farms or blog networks or link wheels so our results haven’t been affected. There was certainly some strange behavior for a while. One site started falling quite rapidly (the timeline seems to correlate more with the Panda 3.5 initially) but while we were running a site audit, it sharply recovered and has continued to grow since (see below).
So where does this lead us? Unsurprisingly it’s back to Google’s guidelines which sees all of this crazy SEO stuff targeted towards one thing…the user. Cracking down on the shortcuts and tricks that many SEO’s have been guilty of using (and abusing) is actually making our jobs a little easier and is forcing us to be what should be — marketers.
Hey this sounds like you’re throwing in the towel! Actually I threw in *that* towel a while back when I noticed it was unsustainable as a business model and not great for us or our clients. These latest updates, while far from perfect, should get us a little further along. There are glitches and missteps and legitimate websites getting punished and attacks on competitors but it seems to be settling in a little.
So if it’s all about marketing, what about those quirky technical adjustments you keep suggesting? The adjustments we suggest are outlined by Google and generally follow best practices. Believe it or not, web developers don’t always follow best practices, often creating roadblocks along the way.
Algorithms will always change and evolve. Our practice of adhering to the guidelines in conjunction with quality content and link building, while certainly not bullet-proof, helps keep the stress levels under control.
Photo Credit: Search Engine Land