It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) game. The term isn’t even logical at this point, it should just be called KGB, in my opinion – Kiss Google’s Butt game as it is what it is, try to appease the largest search engine in the world.
Yes, there are other search engines around, but for Amazon niche site creators, we’re targeting US visitors mainly and Bing and Yahoo aren’t going to cut it in terms of traffic.
The SEO game wasn’t that difficult to follow and succeed on back in 2010 where the causality of your SEO efforts can be seen pretty quickly (like within a month) whether you’re doing on-page or off-page activities. The SERPs (Search Engine Rank Positioning) dictate how much traffic you potentially could gain which results to massive traffic for your site.
Then Google got aggressive with their long-running updates to how they evaluate websites and judge where you should be placed within the SERPs in early 2011 dubbed the Panda update.
Panda Update – Don’t Blame the Animal!
Here’s what Wikipedia mentioned about the Panda update [source]:
Google Panda was built through an algorithm update that used artificial intelligence in a more sophisticated and scalable way than previously possible.
Human quality testers rated thousands of websites based on measures of quality, including design, trustworthiness, speed and whether or not they would return to the website.
Google’s new Panda machine-learning algorithm, made possible by and named after engineer Navneet Panda, was then used to look for similarities between websites people found to be high quality and low quality.
So it’s not a spam-fighting algorithm implementation but a website assessment system in place to judge whether a site is good or not. The idea was noble enough but we’ve all seen sites ranking high that are absolutely garbage.
That Cute Happy Feet Penguin
In April 2012, a spam-related algorithm change was implemented dubbed “Penguin” by the SEO industry experts. Again Wikipedia mentions:
Google Penguin is a code name for a Google algorithm update that was first announced on April 24, 2012.
The update is aimed at decreasing search engine rankings of websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by using black-hat SEO techniques, such as keyword stuffing, cloaking, participating in link schemes, deliberate creation of duplicate content, and others.
Unfortunately, Google’s Webmaster Guidelines are quite arbitrary and subjective in nature that a lot of great, old, unique-content sites were kicked out of their long-standing perch as well after this update.
To cut down the text, here are a series of infographics that can help us visualize the timeline of Google algorithm changes.
Timeline of Google Updates
Key Difference Between Panda and Penguin
SEO Post Panda and Penguin
So what’s a website owner to do to please the almightly Google? As much as I’d like to say “just do XYZ”, the fact of the matter is, tons of great sites that follow strict guidelines still fail to please the dictatorial search engine, but following these tips below benefits your readers‘ experience on your site as well, which is much more important and holistic in the long run for your website’s health.
There you have it, a run-down on the key differences between Google’s Panda and Penguin updates.
Don’t forget, Panda was designed to sift out and eliminate ‘low quality’ content for SERPs and doesn’t deal with spam, while ’Penguin’ is an algorithm change to punish pages that have been spamming and manipulating Google results.
Takeaway here is, focus on creating great content for your readers and gradually move away from relying on search engine traffic for your websites. Just because you adhere to all rules made by Google doesn’t mean you’ll get rewarded, just ask Tim Carter of AsktheBuilder.
Lastly, be wary of SEO providers who claim otherwise without substantiated proof that their techniques are for the long-term, most of the time, they’re just guessing with better tools at their disposal.
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