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CONNECTED CULTURE Blog by Jerry Allocca

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Insights from Google’s Penguin Update

Google Penguin After a two-year wait, Google’s Penguin algorithm update has finally been launched. In its simplest terms, Penguin is a filter created to catch sites that are spamming Google’s search results to increase their rankings. First introduced in 2012, Penguin was designed to find sites that violated Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and penalize them. Even if the sites were improved, they would stay penalized until the next time the Penguin filter ran. This often took months. In 2014, Penguin 3.0 was introduced, cracking down even harder on spammy sites. The penalty went from a couple of months to two years.

With the new Penguin 4.0, these delays are now gone, according to Google. The filter is now real-time. This means that as Google crawls and indexes, pages will be constantly assessed by the Penguin filter. Pages will be caught or freed by Penguin on an ongoing basis.

The algorithm is also more granular. According to Google, “Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.” While Penguin used to be a site-wide penalty, it’s now more specific to affected pages.

What This Means for Your Website
With the rollout of Penguin 4.0, search engine result pages have been more volatile than usual. This highlights the importance of having specific and relevant content on your website. Google values the quantity and diversity of content and will catch pages that have similar content that is repeated specifically to get back links.

What else can you do? If you’re using anchor text for PageRank shortcuts, you’re likely to get penalized. Excessive blog commenting on a similar website or reciprocal link exchange are also red flags in the eyes of Google. While there are tools to evaluate back links, it’s wise to manually audit and remove bad links from directories, PR sites, paid links and link farms to avoid being penalized.

Yes, the update will mean more work to consistently retain a high ranking on SERPs. For those who continuously work to build quality websites, Penguin 4.0 should ultimately be a benefit by swiftly and consistently penalizing low quality sites and ensuring they don’t rank well in search results.

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What Role does Google PageRank Play in Your Site’s Reputation?

Google PageRank is a number system from 0 to 10 that Google assigns to each page on the internet that is based on how powerful the site is in relation to the number of quality links it has. However, the number Google displays may not be an accurate measure of a site’s ability to rank highly in search engine results.

In the beginning, PageRank was used as a way to increase profit for people selling links, the higher the rank, the more money was made. Google was unsatisfied with this practice and began to delay updated data in the toolbar, giving a PageRank a 6 month or longer delay of your actual public PageRank. When Google first started using PageRank, it was an important variable in their algorithm to order web pages.  Google has removed PageRank from their webmaster tools and issued an explanation of why PageRank might not actually matter at all. Read an official Google statement Here.

Does PageRank Really Matter?

PageRank does play a small role in where a site ranks in search engine results, but in the grand scheme of SEO there are more important variables at play. PageRank is a metric that can’t accurately be tracked, as the actual results are delayed. Your ranking may not be updated for up to 9 months making your rank a useless metric, as it isn’t entirely accurate. Many websites with a PageRank of 0 are still gaining organic rankings and search traffic. It’s more important to focus on other metrics such as analytics, conversion rates, returns on investment, relevancy and other metrics that benefit meaningful gains for your website or business.

Another reason why PageRank may be a useless metric is that it has no relevancy toward social media results. Social media engagement, status updates and other social content are making their way into search results. However, a tweet or status update that is ranked 0, still shows up in search results. Google has also made it clear that sites with strong social networking profiles are gaining increased preferences. Ideally, the most important way to gain SEO benefits is to keep creating strong content, and optimizing the content for search. The utilization of SEO in social media is a great way to promote your content and turn visitors into potential customers.

Low PageRank? Don’t Worry

Google PageRank is a great way to “show off” your site if it has a high ranking, but it is entirely useless in SERPS. Having a PageRank of 0 doesn’t reflect your sites reputation. Newer websites may be ranked extremely low because they are new. Newer websites may also receive a low PageRank because of their lack of backlinks, however these sites still have the potential to rank incredibly high in search engine results. When all is said and done, the best way to get your site ranked is to concentrate on the content you are writing. Content is still king, regardless of your PageRank number. Stop worrying about PageRank and start focusing on actionable metrics. A low PageRank is in no way the be-all and end-all of your site’s ranking potential.


What do you think about PageRank? Do you think it has any significance in your sites reputation?

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