Yesterday Google launched a new algorithm update aimed at targeting webspam. Google has stated that this update will target around 3% of queries.
Only 2 weeks ago at Brighton SEO, Stefan Hull predicted that with content farms being hit in 2011, this year would be the turn of webspam/linkspam to feel the force. And it’s happened already. Google’s change will “decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines“. Although Google have always made an attempt to target webspam, this algorithm is a further improvement in their efforts to reduce it and promote higher quality content.
This algo change will hit sites that are using strategies such as link schemes, deliberate duplicate content, keyword stuffing and any form of cloaking. And once again, Google have encouraged ‘white hat’ SEO instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics.
Oh, and for those worried about the over-optimisation update that Matt Cutts was talking about; it looks like this was it. Matt admitted that over-optimisation wasn’t the best description and emphasised that this update was targeting webspam, not SEO.
So how has this affected your rankings? We’ve seen some non-movers and some sites jumping by pleasing amounts. It’s times like this that make me glad we employ the white hat SEO strategies. I’ve heard numerous speakers warn people over and over about black hat methods at events across the UK but this is just another warning to those using spammy tactics. If you’re still employing black hat methods, you’re running out of options and it’s only a matter of time before your site is hit, if it wasn’t yesterday.
Unfortunately, no catchy names like Panda this time though. Google is calling this one… [drumroll]… the “Webspam Algorithm Update”.
Update (27th April, 2012): Well it was only a matter of time. This update has now been given an official name – Penguin.