Google is so large and influential that whatever they do, so goes the rest of the internet. Their latest move has been to release some updates to their search algorithms, which means it’s time to speculate about what this means for the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). What changes were made this time, and how will they affect your site? Let’s look at the two that were announced this week:
Google’s Penguin algorithm is part of their ongoing attempt to improve the results returned by people’s Google searches, specifically targeting “black hat” SEO techniques like buying links that attempt to game the system and increase a site’s search rankings undeservedly. This is different from the Panda algorithm, which targets low-quality content.
It has been over a year since the last Penguin update, and this current iteration impacts about 1% of search queries. Google has referred to this update as a “refresh” rather than a major change, and notes that it will be rolling out worldwide over the next few weeks.
What does this mean for me?
Since Penguin lowers the rankings of sites which utilize bad linking techniques, this refresh should positively impact anybody who has taken action to remove any bad links that point to their site, either through using Google’s link disavowal tool or by making sure that there are no links pointing to their site from spam sites or linking networks intended to increase search rankings.
One positive aspect of this new release is that Google has suggested that they are putting a new system in place to roll out these refreshes more frequently. This will be helpful, because sites which had cleaned up their link profile do not actually see any increase in search rankings until the next Penguin release. If releases/refreshes occur more often, sites which take action to make sure they are not utilizing bad linking techniques will see faster improvements in their search rankings.
Pirate Update 2
In 2012, Google incorporated a system known as the Pirate Update that would penalize sites which were violating copyright laws. This was intended to combat piracy of material like movies and music by lowering the search rankings of sites which were sharing copyrighted material without authorization.
Google’s latest update to this anti-piracy system was announced recently, and it consists of creating new formats for ads that will point people toward legitimate sources of the media they are searching for rather than sites which share pirated versions. It also lowers the search rankings of sites which have received large numbers of valid DMCA notices.
What does this mean for me?
In order to make sure that you are not affected by the Pirate Update, make sure that you have permission to use all the content on your site, including videos and images. Not following best practices for sharing or reusing content can not only get you in legal trouble, it can end up affecting your search rankings and making it harder for people to find your site.
Do you know whether your site has been affected by these updates? Do you want to know more about how you can find out what you need to do to improve your site’s SEO? Sign up for a Free SEO Health Check, and our SEO experts will help you identify any issues that should be addressed and let you know the best strategy for improving your search rankings and ensuring that people can find your site. If you have any other questions, please contact us to speak with an SEO expert, or feel free to leave a comment below.