There must be someone at Google who likes black and white animals. One of the latest updates to the Google search algorithm is named Penguin. This isn't to be confused with Panda which is another update to the way Google searches and indexes traffic.
So first off what is Google Penguin?
The update is Google's attempt to keep websites from showing up in the Google search results that do "spammy" things. Here are some examples:
- Keyword Stuffing - This is putting in lots of words you want to rank for and then hiding the text with CSS. The user can't see it, but the search engines can see the keywords and would rank these sites higher
- Duplicate Content - This practice is putting the same content in the website over and over again, so it looks like there are many web pages but in actuality there are only a few pieces of original content.
- Hidden, misleading or cloaked links - This is similar to keyword stuffing by cloaking a link in the color a person can't distinguish from normal text or it's highlighting keywords and linking them to a webpage that doesn't represent the keyword.
This is different from Panda which is going after low quality websites such as websites that are out of date, don't have consistent file structures or have high bounce rates and low time on site.
For the average website owner, Panda is a bigger concern than Penguin mostly because Penguin takes websites that are using black hat or spammy tactics and pushing them farther back in the search results. Panda on the other hand will take someone's site who has ranked high in Google for years and push them back because their site has not been upgraded in sometime. If you have been bitten by Penguin then you will have received a message in Google webmaster that Google found over optimization tactics on your site.
Generally, the update to Google continue to show that in order to rank highly in the search engines you should do the following:
- Add content to your site on a regular basis such as new products, blog posts and pictures
- Use a content management system so the layout and code are consistent across web pages
- Have a keyword strategy so people actually Google phrases that are more likely to have them end up on your website.
And lastly...don't try and beat Google. Resistance to Google will be futile