Google has released a new update to their ranking algorithm this week, aimed at isolating and penalizing websites that use particular spam techniques. From the official blog post :
“In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines.”
So what constitutes a violation of Google guidelines? While deliberately avoiding being specific, Google has highlighted these tactics as problematic and likely to be targeted:
As much as this update is a slap on the wrist for aggressive search engine optimizers, Google were very careful to endorse the methodology of so-called *white hat* search engine optimizers in their announcement and isolate those “acceptable” tactics from the tactics they will be punishing with this update:
“We want people doing white hat search engine optimization (or even no search engine optimization at all) to be free to focus on creating amazing, compelling web sites.”
It’s interesting to see them so eager to support the SEO industry but probably a sign that they’re expecting webmasters to be confused by the changes and the possibility that they might accidently over-optimize their sites.
The algorithm change has already started to roll out and Google claims it will affect approximately 3 percent of search queries.
UPDATE 27 April 2012: You know how I said above that the new algorithm revision doesn’t have a cutesy name? Scrap that. Google has now decided to call it *Penguin*