If your site’s traffic has changed significantly (for better or worse) in the last 24 hours, it probably has something to do with Google’s new search algorithm. As Matt Cutts warned a while back and just as I suspected that it is going to have big impact, the webspam algorithm has been launched (update: now its called “Penguin”)!
Matt Cutts himself announced on a blog post that Google will begin rolling out this update that sets to target spammy websites over the next few days. Even though Google was always battling against spam, this time it seems that it is a much more serious update which now also targets off-page spam tactics.
Over the last few weeks, the SEO industry has been referred to this expected update as “overly SEO”, but now it appears that the definition isn’t so accurate. It looks like that the update purpose is to vanish spam and not exaggerated SEO- Things like keyword stuffing and linking manipulations.
I already reported that Google has escalated its war against link schemes recently- It started to send webmasters warning notifications about unnatural links to their sites as the company has been cracking down on paid blog networks. Now, this new algorithm update appears like the final act (at least in the current battle).
Anyway, Matt is stating that this update will impact about 3.1% of search queries in English and 3% of search queries in other languages like German or Chinese. In languages where spamming occur more often, the affect will be greater, like in Polish (apparently there are many Polish spammers).
The things that aren’t clear at the moment are which exactly spam methods the update is targeting and to what degree. From the initial responses I was reading so far, I think it is very much related to backlinks spamming with the exact same anchor text (which obviously isn’t natural).
It’s also unclear if the algorithm works the same way as the Panda (update every 4-6 weeks) or more on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, I’m still trying to find the connection to the bug Google had last week, which I’m beginning to suspect that was more like a test before this initial roll out.
So many questions and very few answers… I’m sure that soon enough we’ll have more details about this update, its effect and what particularly it set to identify and destroy.
Update: After the initial launch, Google named the algorithm update “Penguin”.