Have Your Search Metrics Been Fluctuating Lately? Here’s Why
If you’ve noticed your search metrics are fluctuating a bit more than usual, you are not the only one. On May 21 and July 15, Google rolled out four updates to their algorithm. These updates consisted of the much-anticipated Penguin 2.0 update and a Panda update and they have affected the search engine optimization efforts of some SEOs.
The reason why Google updates its algorithm the way it does is because it wants to improve the quality of its search engine results by detecting the factors that give some websites an unfair advantage over others in search engine rankings. When those factors are detected, those sites get booted further down the rankings list.
The updates done this summer are focusing on the low-quality link signals, the quality of content, and domain advantages. In each of these cases, the intent of Google is to battle the low-quality search results that are spammy and hurt the quality of its search results. Bad search results lead to a poor experience for the searcher.
Penguin 2.0: The Spam Terminator
On May 21, Google released its newest version of anti-link spam technology, called Penguin 2.0. Google warned it would be a major update, affecting around 2.3 percent of English queries. This may not sound like a big impact, but it was the largest impact came in April 2012 when the first update was unleashed.
According to Google, Penguin 2.0 is a more comprehensive update that goes deeper in targeting than the first Penguin version. Sites that have struggled with link devaluation since April of 2012 most likely saw even more issues with the 2.0 update.
In many cases, sites that had been around for years that had accumulated a lot of link profiles containing links from spammy websites saw a change.
It is important to know that Penguin doesn’t necessarily penalize sites for link building practices that were legitimate in the past and are now considered not so great. However, the value those old links once had are completely removed, so the end result is still a decreased ability to be competitive in search results. Another thing that Penguin did was automatically remove the link authority when spammy links are detected. Because this is all automatic, a site cannot submit for re-inclusion.
To recover from this update, sites need to focus on regaining link authority after what Google considered spammy links were devalued. It is not as simple as manufacturing new links, as links need to be naturally earned in order to have value that stands. It can also help to disavow the links that are obviously spammy.
The Detuning Of Panda
The most recent update came on July 14-15 in the way of the Panda algorithm, which is now more-finely targeted. What this update did was dial back the Panda effect a little bit. It was originally released in February 2011 with the goal to demote sites of a low quality and with little content (remember, content is king).
Keeping track of Google’s algorithm updates and determining which can have an impact on a website is challenging, which is why this is something that may require professional assistance due to the time involved, the tools needed, and the effort required in rectifying the issues on the site so that it can once again be competitive in search results.