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Google’s crusade against webspam may affect SMB websites

Google has completely transformed the way search works again. Small business websites may need to reevaluate their online content strategies with the latest Google search update. An update of Google’s search algorithm termed “Penguin” was aimed at avoiding “over-optimized websites” that were packed with keywords to improve their search rankings.

Its engineer Matt Cutts penned a blog post explaining the latest update. The Google update is to fight web spam. It is intended to promote high quality content and reduce web spam. Search Engine Optimization (SEO optimization) can be positive and constructive when implemented correctly.

The Google algorithm update or the Penguin Update is working to level the playing field for sites. Matt explained the changes as “trying to make the algorithm more adaptive,” or being more understanding of sites that have good content even if it isn’t search engine optimized like many marketers have learned to do. The sites that will be penalized are those that “throw too many keywords on the page, exchange too many links and whatever they do to go beyond what a normal person would expect”.

Good search engine optimization can also mean good marketing, thinking about creative ways to make a site more compelling, which can help with search engines as well as social media. Black hat web spam is higher rankings or traffic, a few sites use techniques that don’t benefit users, where the intent is to look for shortcuts that would rank pages higher than they deserve to be ranked. From keyword to link schemes that attempt to propel sites higher in rankings.

The update is designed for the following
  • It removes your link value, if you were previously ranking high for certain keywords, and now your position has dropped
  • Penguin does not improve search results but targets websites that Google deems as being “over-optimized”
  • This update seems to focus on the most part on manipulative links

Many small businesses don’t pay as much attention to their internet marketing strategy. Having a successful internet marketing strategy takes time, dedication and research. Make a compelling site. Make a site that’s useful. Make a site that’s interesting. Make a site that’s relevant to people’s interests. The goal of many of our ranking changes is to help searchers find sites that provide a great user experience and fulfill their information needs.

Google for many years have just ignored links rather than actually hurting their rankings, but this seems to be changing with Google’s Spam Report Tool. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing guidelines. To know if your website is hit by Penguin update, the easiest way to determine it is within your Google Analytics account. If you see a dramatic drop off in traffic then there is a great change that you have been hit. Google claims it introduced its latest update in response to users who wanted a better overall search engine experience.

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