Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water, Google released their latest Penguin update. This is the algorithm update that is supposed to clear out spammy web search results by penalising poor quality links from poor quality web pages.
So, has it been a success? The update was rolled out on October 17th so it’s really still too early to work out who the winners and losers are. Furthermore, Google has not released any figures to demonstrate the scale of the outcome, so we currently don’t know what percentage of search queries have been affected yet. In the past, Penguin updates have affected around 1-3% of all search queries.
What we do know is that, if you have been affected by dodgy link building activity and you have actively tried to disavow or remove links, you should be able to see the fruits of your labour much more quickly than before. Feedback from the ‘white hat’ SEO community is that Google hasn’t gone far enough to penalise poor quality websites that are happy to use dodgy links from dodgy sites. In other words, you can still get away with using dodgy links to get great search engine results … until you get caught.
Another point of note is the unfortunate downside of an algorithmic update, which is that there are still websites having to deal with ‘negative SEO’. This is where good quality websites are being attacked with dodgy links to make them rank badly for keywords that are actually of real benefit to their business outcomes. This was something that Google was desperately trying to avoid; it’s probably why it took as long as it did to release the latest update.
Could Google have done more? I think the answer is definitely ‘yes and no’.
On the plus side, they are fighting a ‘black hat’ community that spits out domains and hyperlinks from IP addresses as if they are going out of fashion, but sadly, it’s almost inevitable that when they try and clean up an algorithm, the innocent will be taken out in the cross fire.
I think we’ll see more regular updates as this gets tweaked to try and keep websites that have been deliberately targeted by negative SEO out of the limelight; there is now an entire industry based on extortion growing out there and it needs to be stopped in its tracks.
Whilst bad link profiles are now more easily fixed and are updated and refreshed quicker than before, the situation is far from perfect.
BaD gOOGL3 :/ please do better.