If you’ve been using the internet for a while, you have most likely landed on some sort of webspam site some time or another. Spam sites have been around for as long as the internet has and tries to manipulate the search engines algorithms in order rank and gain traffic. However, these low-quality sites are being pushed out constantly by Google’s algorithm updates. Understanding how these updates work and how they will impact your rankings in the SERPs are important in order to plan out your SEO strategy.
Most Famous Algorithm Updates
The two largest updates that shook the SEO industry in the past several years have been the Panda and Penguin algorithm updates. First, let’s talk about the Panda updates. Panda mainly focused on pushing out low-quality website and duplicate content that tried to cheat the search engine’s rankings. Many sites that used the same exact content across multiple sites, also known as “content farms”, were targeted by this update. Although Panda’s massive movement occurred in February 2011 when it was first released, it’s still receiving minor tweaks and small refreshes to work with other updates.
In 2012, Google officially launched the Penguin algorithm updates. The update targeted links that were considered webspam and manipulative. The purpose of Penguin was to insure website with natural, relevant and high-quality backlinks were rewarded with higher rankings while webspam and low-quality links were pushed out of the SERPs. These low-quality links included directories, link farms, and spammy blog comments that included money-keyword anchor texts.
Cleaning Up The SERPs
Before these major updates took place, many low-quality sites littered the front page of Google and gave a disadvantage to sites with real valuable content. Google’s mission as of late has been to give sites with valuable content the focus they deserve on the front page. After the latest iteration of Penguin was introduced, sites that used manipulative link building strategies with low-quality links started to see a huge dip in organic rankings and traffic.
Soon after, multiple smaller updates were released targeting more low-quality sites with exact match domain names and ad-heavy sites. These domain names had exact match keyword phrases in their domain name which helped them rank faster in the past. Many of these sites were related to affiliate programs and even some local service sites that included their service and city stuffed into their domain names. The Top Heavy Update also crawled websites to evaluate how many ads were placed at the top of the website, making them “top heavy”. If a site contained too many ads above “the fold” it was penalized by this page layout algorithm for creating a negative experience for its visitors. These top heavy sites primarily existed to make money and wasn’t concerned about giving quality content to its readers.
Understanding These Updates
Understanding these algorithm updates helps companies that provide SEO services like Switch Lead to identify Google’s strategy and quest for quality content for its search engine pages. In the end, it comes down to providing high-quality content for our visitors who are looking for answers to their questions and problems. If your site isn’t optimized properly according to how Google defines it should be, then you’ll never see high organic rankings. It’s that easy. Switch Lead understands how to optimize for these updates and provides a proper SEO strategy for our customers that will give them a great experience in the end.