Google Penguin, in a nutshell, is the latest update to Google’s world beating search engine. The main aim of the update was to address several loopholes which allowed particularly aggressive site masters to artificially give their page a high ranking. While this did manage to purge Google’s search results of useless, unrelated content to the original search query- it also managed to harm many legitimate businesses by lowering their ranking on Google.
A good example of a typical site that may get harmed by the Penguin update is the website of London based ,VHC Plumbing. Being a company which relied largely upon local business, it made sense to be listed on local directory websites. Unfortunately such sites, since the Penguin update, are now considered to be too spammy and generally useless; consequently VHC suffered. Much of the link building work that had worked for the site so well in the past was now, in fact, detrimental.
Suffice to say, practically overnight VHC Plumbing saw its page rank fall and business suffered accordingly. Thankfully, many of the plumber’s competitors also employed such tactics and they too saw their page rank fall. Rather then simply accepting this, VHC set about a campaign removing inbound links which were harming the site. Within weeks, many e-mails were sent out to web masters, along with a few phone calls, and many of the toxic links were removed. While VHC Plumbing’s competitors did nothing, the plumber’s actions led to their site actually overtaking rivals, which before Google Penguin, were ranked higher then VHC.
Yet, even after purging many of the toxic links, VHC was still feeling the aftershock of the update- their page rank was still lower then before the overhaul. A long hard look at the site allowed VHC to determine that their keyword strategy was harming them. While in the past, success in SEO was a matter of sheer quantity, since penguin quality has become paramount. The keyword stuffing strategies that worked so well in the past were now harming VHC.
Being a local plumbing business, VHC had adopted keywords which potential customers would use to find a plumber, such as “Plumber Wimbledon” or “Plumber Victoria”. While this tactic was still effective, the keyword stuffing of such phrases alerted Google to the fact that VHC was using tactics to artificially raise its page rank. Google Penguin made the context of the keywording an important factor in organising search results. Much like with the inbound linking, a review was made of all the keywording made by VHC, and any excessive or nonsensical keywording was altered or removed entirely.
Although this whole process proved to be somewhat costly both in terms of man hours and expense, within a short a while of VHC submitting a reconsideration request to Google, VHC saw their page rank improve significantly. In many ways, Google Penguin wound up benefiting VHC, as although it did hurt the company initially, where VHC recovered, rivals failed to take such decisive action and as such found themselves falling in rank (and revenue).