It’s official – the webspam update recently launched by Google has a name. In keeping with Google’s apparent infatuation for the letter “P” (there’s simply GOT to be an inside joke there somewhere) this latest update is called the Penguin.
Unlike many updates in past years, Panda and Penguin have teeth – and penalties have been flying fast and furious since they launched. Google is finally targeting those violating its quality guidelines.
The exact quote from the announcement reads:
In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines.
When the Panda update hit, no-one was ready, and no-one was quite sure what was happening. With Penguin, there has been much more transparency. However, this still leaves a lot of speculation about how to survive Panda.
Google has released a list of questions that webmasters should ask themselves, to help them understand how Google assesses quality, but some found this lacking. It’s not all murky, though – Google has stepped up and told us EXACTLY what the quality guidelines are so you can avoid violating them. The thing is, here at Submitedge, we’ve been saying these same things for years.
1. Avoid hidden text or hidden links. Well, duh. We’ve known this is black hat for years.
2. Don’t use cloaking or sneaky redirects. Ditto – see above.
3. Don’t send automated queries to Google. Automation, bad. This has been a fact for years.
4. Don’t load pages with irrelevant keywords. Gosh, ya think?
5. Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content. How long, exactly, have we been talking dupe content? YEARS.
6. Don’t create pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware. Again, big fat duh. If you were doing this, we have zero pity. NONE.
7. Avoid “doorway” pages created just for search engines, or other “cookie cutter” approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content. Well, howdy doodle do! This is something we’ve been trying to get across for years – cheap doorway pages are bad, bad, bad.
8. If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first. See above. Affiliate marketing almost ruined the internet, but thanks to Google those pesky sites are pushed way, way down.
Some search engine marketers out there are asking questions like, “What does Google consider “substantially duplicate content”? How much is too much?” Stop asking the questions and just don’t. It’s like saying “How fast can I drive before I get pulled over? Will cops ignore 9 miles over the limit, or can I push it to 12?” Dudes. Just don’t speed, k?
Google also recommends a few other things – again, stuff we’ve been saying at Submitedge for years.
1. Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Don’t do “cloaking.”
2. Avoid tricks that you’d feel awkward describing to a competitor. Ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
3. Don’t participate in link schemes or link to web spammers or “bad neighborhoods”.
4. Don’t use unauthorized computer programs to submit pages, check rankings, etc. or products like such as WebPosition Gold™ .
Check the Google Help Center for more guidelines and clarification of quality guidelines!