Google’s Panda and Penguin Updates Reward Content Marketers

The Panda and Penguin updates to the Google algorithm marked a sea change for SEOs and put an emphasis on the quality of their content by penalizing questionable tactics like keyword stuffing, link schemes, and content duplication.

“Now updates are not uncommon,” says Benj Arriola, SEO Director at Internet Marketing INC. However, “updates from the past were mostly trying to find the good sites out there and bring them up in rankings. The Panda and Penguin updates were the ones that seemed to be more focused on pushing down the bad sites than pulling up the good ones.”

Aside from being a shift in thinking, Panda and Penguin have received more successive updates than previous rollouts indicating that this trend isn’t going anywhere. So what questionable SEO tactics are next on Google’s hit list?

While he doesn’t consider himself a SEO prophet, Arriola offered a couple of SEO tactics that Google may penalize in the future:

  • Low Quality Infographics – Infographics are great, they are usually very informative, and present easy to digest information visually. People link to them for that reason, but some people are just looking at it as a link generator without considering the quality of what they put out there, this would be giving over qualified links to under qualified content. And Matt Cutts already gave a hint of possibly looking deeper into this in the future.
  • Guest Blogging – We have seen the banning of several blog networks and the company that went out in the open about it was BuildMyRank.com. Clearly this was a service that owned several public blogs and used them as a link building tools. Today a more natural route, guest blogging, is getting more popular. The people that find it hard might try to look for shortcuts, and blog owners will also look for shortcuts to make money. Blogs will accept guest blog post for money and start disregarding quality. Then some SEOs will try to scale the process to mass produce the output without doing proper research to find the best blogs and will end up with the low quality ones. This is not that different from sponsored blog posts, which are also viewed as paid links. Google will find out and might try to do some algorithm change to discourage low quality guest blogging.

“But even if I have these predictions, I cannot really say how Google will react to these tactics, we will just have to wait. But if I had to guess what the next animal will be I would say probably a Zebra or Killer Whale, just because the Panda and Penguin are both colored black and white and they are cracking down on ‘algorithmically’ distinguishing the difference between blackhat and whitehat practices,” Arriola adds.

Regardless of what Google’s next update targets, one thing is clear – the best way to protect your page rank going forward to is provide value through original content.

For more from Arriola about the Panda and Penguin updates and what you can do to protect your pages in the future, be sure to check out his session “The Battle Against Penguins and Pandas: Getting Back Ranking and Running Future Proof SEO Strategies” at Online Marketing Summit Santa Clara.

Have questions for Benj? He’s taking questions and requests over on his blog.