Google likes to name updates to their algorithm. Last year was a large change known as Panda, which targeted ‘thin’ affiliate sites, with minimal added value – typically MFA (made-for-adsense) sites with lots of ads. There were various mini-releases/refinements to the Panda updates almost each month since then.
Then Google announced Penguin – http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/another-step-to-reward-high-quality.html. This is being interpreted as Google finally reinforcing all the recommendations they’ve made in their Webmaster Guidelines over the years – build sites with lots of content for people – rather than sites with every link and tag optimised for search engines. Basically people are being punished for over-optimising their sites. It’s a fine line to walk.
I’m on the lazy marketer’s list and have bought the odd product from him, cos he just does things efficiently.
I liked the seorevolution for its succinct summary of the most common characteristics of hit sites:
– far too high on-page keyword density
– uneven anchor text distribution
– low quality links
– internal duplicate content
– duplicate title tags
– slow site speed
– high number of internal 404s
The net result for most people being that they have to clean up their sites.
I logged onto Google Analytics for one of my sites and found that I was ranking (and receiving traffic) for teen porn, courtesy of some spam posts in one of my forums. Talk about a let-down for the people who clicked on that link – there’s nothing suss on my sites, when they’re clean.
So for the next few weeks, I’m recommending that you clean up your sites, paying particular attention to any tips from Google in Webmaster Tools. It’s boring and time-consuming, but every site should have a spring cleaning each year anyway.