Many SEO companies have found themselves running away from the herd of cute animal inspired Google algorithm updates. The recent Google Panda Update 4.1 sent the SEO world into a short-lived frenzy, and now Penguin 3.0 is up and about to disrupt some companies’ efforts to get to the top of the search results.

What Has Changed

Prioritising Google Guidelines

Panda 4.1 was rolled out in early October, affecting websites with thin or poor quality content, and Penguin 3.0 furthers this trend by penalising sites that are not following Google’s quality guidelines. The most notable disruption has been seen on websites with duplicate content, but in reality the update has affected less than 1% of queries in the U.S as the majority of websites have already embraced the web-spam signals discovered in Penguin 2.1.

Quality Back Links

Back links continue to have a massive impact on page ranking and authority. While the exact outcomes are still unfolding, Google are very specific regarding their link building strategies and Google Support recommends avoiding links that use the following tactics:

  • Buying or selling links that pass PageRank
  • Excessive link exchanges exclusively for the sake of cross linking
  • Using automation to create links
  • Links with artificially optimized anchor text in articles or press releases
  • Low-quality directory or bookmark site links
  • Widely distributed links in the footers or templates of various sites
  • Forum comments with optimized links in the post or signature

BirdBrain Results

To give all of this information some context we looked at our own website, and discovered that since this update our overall traffic has increased by 10.33%. A consistent focus on producing fresh high quality content has ensured the BirdBrain website isn’t affected negatively by these new algorithm changes. We have also noticed a flurry of high authority back links from .gov and .edu pages, which is giving the website increased weight in the search results.

The Takeaway

If you have scanned this blog post and only take one thing away, make it this- Follow Google’s guidelines and be proactive with content. Following the rules will mitigate the possibility of penalties and shock results from a Google update. As the BirdBrain website has proved, following the guidelines and maintaining fresh and high quality content will mean that the website responds positively to changes and achieves great SERP results.