Google has confirmed that the latest update happened last Friday. Did you notice anything? Some people did, and others didn’t. Matt Southern at Search Engine Journal looked at the reaction so far, collecting input all across the web, and I appreciate seeing the best in one place. One thing he points out is that we don’t know how long this update will actually take. Google confirmed the Penguin 3.0 update but did not technically announce it (a fine distinction in my mind) so there will be more to come. For right now, the question in most marketers’ minds is how this affects SERPs.
SEO Is An Art, Not A Formula
I think it’s a good idea to remember that Google and all other search engines are after the same thing. The goal is to be the search engine people use the most, because that’s how they make money. If the search engine isn’t returning useful results, people start using something else. So algorithms are designed to work much like the human brain works, and that means recognizing content, relevancy, and spam.
The formulaic approach to SEO is kind of spammy and poorly written because it focuses on cramming content around keywords. I can tell you that it’s very difficult to fit well-written wording around stupid-sounding keywords. It doesn’t work in real life, and real readers ignore it.
Search Engine Optimization is more than plugging in ‘magic formula’ links and keywords because the search engines don’t look at just the links and keywords. Every update is an increased sophistication designed to look at your site the way people see it. The search engine can’t do it perfectly yet, but they sure are working on it. If you are writing content that your customers want to see, using the language they would use to find it, you have a good start on SEO.
Cleaning up your site, making sure the links are valid, and getting rid of detrimental codes & such will keep you from penalties by the likes of Penguin. You should be doing that anyway, as part of your online maintenance. Penguin penalizes, so if you see a boost in your SERPs, that probably means your competitors need to clean up some stuff on their sites.
What happened for you when Penguin updated?