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Google’s Penguin Update is Good for Bloggers

Google has recently updated its search engine algorithm again, and continues with its forward thinking goal of producing results pages that return the best user experience possible. This latest update, dubbed Penguin, is aimed at blatant SEO abusers and like the last major update in January 2011, Panda, it is intended to reward sites with high quality content with good positions in the SERPs. While this has hurt some business websites, even some that were practicing the positive ‘White Hat SEO’, it is good news for bloggers who practice little or no search engine optimization1.

The main feature of this update that has the internet marketing world worried is Google’s ‘over-optimization penalty’ which targets pages with too many incoming links from poorly rated sources, as well as the indiscriminate use of keywords. Panda had already done a pretty thorough job of weeding keyword-stuffed, low value content filled websites out of its SERPs, and 55% of users say that the quality of search results is improving over time2. Penguin is aimed at preventing link farm pages from skewing their results, and so websites that have invested in these types of link schemes have seen their rankings take a significant hit. While this means that there may have been some big losers in the SERPs, it also means that there have been some winners, and the sites most likely to benefit are blogs.

The sorts of websites that Google is now favoring are the ones that have organically produced content. It has moved steadily to a more semantic search, which takes language usage more into account when ranking a page and blog posts. These sites feature a natural distribution of keywords and their synonyms as well as the small number of both incoming and outgoing links to other well ranked pages, and are exactly the sorts of websites that Google wants to place highly in its SERPs. The amount of ads that appear on a web page is also now being considered by Google, and if they outweigh the content, the page will be penalized as well. This has leveled the playing field in the SERPs because even corporate websites that are well optimized rarely have the same amount of high quality content that blogs do; and blogs, which are rarely optimized, don’t very often have as many ads as business web pages use.

The blogosphere has become huge with some estimates that it is doubling in size every year, and the Penguin update will make keeping a blog even more important for many corporate websites. With 60% of all bloggers3 being amateurs, it is going to make it harder for business sites to dominate the SERPs and the focus of a lot of internet marketing is going to have to shift from link building and keyword optimization strategies to producing the kind of good quality content that will earn websites a good page ranking.

In the meantime, there will be a lot of bloggers that are being pleasantly surprised by the sudden jump in their traffic as they benefit from the downgrading of a few over optimized websites in their keyword niche. If your company website has suddenly dropped off of the front page of the SERPs, it is probably because the links that have been built to support it have suddenly been devalued, and may even be hurting your ranking. If you are not already running a blog on your business website, these latest changes to Google make it vital to start now, and companies like can help you to find the best way to accomplish your business goals.


2. Search Engine Use 2012, Kristen Purcell, Joanna Brenner, Lee Rainie, Pew Research Center

3. The State of the Blogosphere 2011, Higgins, Technorati Media

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