Google recently released another major update to its algorithm. We’ve heard a lot of algorithm update names in the past few years: “Caffeine”, “Venice”, and of course the dreaded “Panda” that cleaned house so thoroughly that online business owners and marketers everywhere were ready to carpet bomb Google.

This latest update that went live in late April has come to affectionately (or un-affectionately, depending on how it affected your business) be known as “Penguin“. Though I prefer to call it by what it actually went after: “Webspam Update” (another name heard out there was “Over-Optimization”, though that was a previous algorithm update).

I’ve found some extremely helpful articles for those of you affected by the latest Penguin algorithm update. Before I share them I should point out that I actually like algorithm updates. Here’s why:

  1. They show that Google still takes its organic search extremely seriously (thus insuring I have a job).
  2. They help website owners improve the quality of their content and of their websites overall, creating a better user experience and forcing out new, good website ideas.
  3. They clear out the crap and tend to reward hard work.
  4. This last one goes a bit far, but I still believe it: They push us more and more towards a world where link building is moot and where amazing content creation is what counts most.

Of course there are those out there who have great content on their site but were still hit hard by Penguin. My heart goes out to these folk, but I can only offer 3 pieces of advice:

  1. Get angry at Google, but then work through it. Don’t bite the hand the feeds. Besides, you shouldn’t be creating content for Google anyway. You should be creating it for your users.
  2. Look closely, and I mean closely at your website. How does your content look? Natural? Are there keywords “stuffed” into everything? Is your content targeted more for search or for users (note: you want the latter). Check your backlinks for any suspicious or spammy links using Open Site Explorer.
  3. Be patient. More than half the time, if you are hit negatively by an algo update, your traffic returns (though not always to pre-update levels).

Google, in many ways, is two-faced when it comes to its organic search policies.

Their “Don’t Be Evil” mantra has become laughable at this point. We’ve seen certain crap sites get rewarded after algo updates while high quality sites with good content are essentially told to hit the bricks.

Not to mention the paid link debacle regarding Chrome, the somewhat Draconian update to their privacy policy and the force-feeding of Google+ to users. You can find an even more thorough list of Google’s muck-ups here.

Still, regardless of how unfairly you may have been treated in any of the Google algorithm updates, you just have to deal with it. Accept that Google handles 70%+ of the organic search game and just continue to create good content for your users, interact with them, and leverage social media (particularly Google +).

Now for the articles:

Google Penguin Update Recovery Tips & Advice (SEL)

Penguins, Pandas, and Panic at the Zoo (SEOmoz)

Google Algorithm Change History (SEOmoz)

Were you affected by any of the recent algorithm updates? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Brian Thomas Clark

Brian Thomas Clark

Owner, Auditor, Janitor

I'm a Dad, Husband, Brutal SEO Auditor & BBQer. I do SEO, Analytics, Backlink, and Local Search Audits in Orange County, CA, where no one uses turn signals and there is a Chase Bank on every block for some reason.

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