June 12, 2013

Penguin 2.0 a Victory for Spammers?

It has been a few weeks since Google released its anticipated Penguin 2.0 update and now one question remains. How many Google updates does it take to fix the spam problem? Back in March when Matt Cutts, Google’s spokesperson and engineer, described the 2.0 algorithm change to be a big one, panic started to spread amongst marketers.  Many wondered whether the update would incorrectly punish their well-orchestrated marketing efforts by lowering their search rank. So did the update live up to these worries?

According to Econsultancy, after taking a look at the update’s impact in the UK, it seems that Penguin 2.0 did live up to that worry. Specifically, the update actually awarded some well-known spam websites by granting them a higher search ranking then reputable companies who employ original, well-executed marketing strategies. For example, after entering something as simple as “12 month loans” into the search bar,  Econsultancy found that none of the results appeared to be remotely close to a valid website. The root of the problem can be found when looking at websites with the largest change in “click” volume.

Econsultancy has compiled two lists of “winner” and “loser” websites most affected by Google’s update, based on their new Alexa Rank. Basically, the lower the Alexa Rank then the higher the site is trafficked. Websites classified in the “winner” column are considered more significant compared to the websites in the “loser” column, which are small and less known.

The outcome? Although familiar names did appear in the “winner” column, most of the winner column was filled with spam sites and illegal movie portals. You can imagine that the opposing column showed contradicting results as well. Overall, “winners” had an average Alexa Rank of 4,138,037 while “losers” averaged 1,111,156.

This leaves users wondering why the update has produced such a negative effect. While Google has worked on weeding out content farms and spammy websites, there still seems to be loopholes to the algorithm as evidenced by the lists. In fact, spammers have figured out a way to secretly place links on websites that Google would not suspect, said Econsultancy.

As a marketer, now is the time to dig deep and figure out ways to organically rank your site again. And the leading answer? Content marketing. Click here to learn more about how content marketing can help improve your SEO.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin

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