The Penguin Strikes Again! Google’s Attack On Black Hat SEO

by GuestBlogStar on May 29, 2013

 The Effects Of Penguin 2.0

It is no secret that Google does not like SEO firms that try to manipulate page rankings through trickery in an effort to get their clients’ pages ranked higher.  Each new iteration of the Google algorithm makes it harder and harder for black hat SEO firms to operate and rewards the efforts of ethical white hat SEO firms.  In Penguin 2.0, released May 22, 2013, Google took aim directly at black hat SEO tactics and made significant changes to the way that SEO is done.

penguin swimming on back waving

Penguin 2.0 Waves Goodbye to Black Hat SEO

Link Spamming

One of the worst offenses that a black hat SEO firm can make in off-site SEO is the use of link spamming.  Link spamming is when a company aggressively links anchor text keywords in the content in an effort to artificially raise the index value of the page.  Before Penguin 2.0 a black hat SEO firm would simply use the keyword term they wanted to rank for as many times as possible on many pagse and create back links to the client’s website.

With Penguin 2.0, Google now punishes sites who have too much keyword density and not enough density as well as many other small updates they made.  In a study of more than three dozen niche sites, after the release of Penguin 2.0, SEO experts have found that the top ten sites in each niche had a keyword density of between 0-2.7%, down from an average of over 6% before the changes.  There are many instances though that EMD domains are ranking great with higher densities, but the average of 44 niches with the top 10 in each averaged were those densities talked about above.  The average for the top 3 was a low 0.9% which is much less than before.

Link Quality

More than ever before Google is making an attempt to provide the best experience possible to the end user.  This means that when a user searches for content, that content should be relevant to the end user’s search query.  Too often search results were being affected by sites where the only back links were coming from social media, forum links and blog comments.

The new algorithm punishes sites that have too many links from these places, a big blow to black hat SEO firms that count on these low quality links.  However, Google also put in place more rewards for companies that build links through high quality avenues.  Now if a company receives a link back from a website that has a high domain authority rank in its niche, the page ranking of the company will receive a greater boost than it had before.  This encourages the creation of high quality content over content spamming.

Domain and Page Authority

The final blow to black hat SEO firms comes in Google’s emphasis on domain and page authority in the creation of back links.  Before the Penguin 2.0 update, sites that had high domain and page SERP ranking that linked to a site had very little influence over the linked site’s page ranking.  Almost all sites were viewed the same during the indexing process.  With Penguin 2.0, domain authority is very important.  When a site that is considered very relevant to a niche links back to another site, the linked site receives more credit in the Google index.  This allows sites that have end user relevant content to become more visible to the end user in the rankings and devalues bad content.

What this means for SEO firms is that they will have to pay close attention when posting content on the web.  A site with a DA or PA of less than 30 will actually be detrimental to a client’s SEO ranking, while a site with a DA or PA at or near 50 will have a positive impact.  White hat firms have always made an effort to find relevant places to post content, so this change will have limited impact.

link cloud SEO Google sits links black hat content

Overall, the changes to the Google algorithm in Penguin 2.0 are great for the end user and for white hat SEO firms.  The key to SEO moving forward will be building high quality content and links for clients over a long period of time, so that the site rankings can grow organically.

Matthew Boley is an SEO owner of a leading SEO firm where they offer very ethical SEO services world wide.  To keep up with the latest changes to the Google algorithm check out where you can read about all of the udpates.

Photo Credit: Penguin photo adapted from original by bottled_void under flickr Creative Commons License.

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