If there is one rule to the internet marketing industry it is the fact that the industry is in constant flux. There are constant changes that push those tracking the search engines and the way they function to keep obsessively up-to-date in order to understand the ways they function, and by extension how sites can be optimized to rank on them. Although there are several important search engines, including Yahoo and Bing, Google undeniably dominates both in the US and around the globe, except in certain markets like China where Baidu, the local alternative, has the largest market share. 

As a result, the changes that occur with Google are those that are tracked to the closest degree because understanding Google's search algorithm and intern how to rank effectively on it will bring the greatest return at present. Google's changes are thus tracked very closely, and their latest large-scale revision called the Penguin Update was released two weeks ago and the industry is just now wrapping its head around the implications.

In essence, most of the changes that occur from Google are noteworthy and important, but are usually not entirely game-changing. Google's Inside Search blog posts monthly updates that highlight the changes that have been made for each month, and this is very beneficial to the industry. With the larger changes such as the Panda Update last year and now the Penguin Update, the changes are more significant. With Penguin, the search algorithm takes direct aim at those websites that are over-optimized and have engaged in questionable search engine optimization practices. Of particular note, the update penalizes sites that engage in:

  • Keyword stuffing- the practice of having too many mentions of a keyword or keyword phrase in on-page site content.
  • Illegitimate Links - links that are bought and established from low quality sites.

Businesses need to partner with reputable SEO companies as a way to ward off this type of activity from happening to them. Companies that worked with SEO agencies that engaged in such practices in the past and established illegitimate links, for example, can still be penalized today. It is important to always ensure that the SEO company your business partners with employs only the recommended SEO practices according to the Google guidelines. 

To provide an information source to marketers and businesses that are dealing with the Penguin Update, WebiMax has launched PenguinWatch, a website geared towards offering tips and information on understanding the update and how to go forward effectively with your online marketing. Reach out to me directly for more informaiton at rbuddenhagen@webimax.com and @ryanwbudd.