24th April 2012 saw the release of the latest algorithmic update from Google, this time code-named the ‘Google Penguin Update‘.
Thousands of website owners across the world witnessed a huge shift in their rankings since the update, indicating that this was in fact another large-scale movement by Google, and not one of their smaller ‘Google Dances’ that happens every so often. If further evidence was required, Google themselves confirmed the update.
So, here’s what you as local business owners need to know about Google’s Penguin Update.
What was Google Penguin?
In short, Penguin was an attempt by Google to either remove, or certainly de-credit, web-pages that had been using dodgy techniques such as keyword stuffing, over-optimisation and cloaking in an attempt to ‘beat the system’ and steal a gain on the rankings.
Was My Site Affected?
As a general rule, unless you have been doing anything which violates Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, then the chances are that no – you’ll not have been affected.
However, there are a few ways to check whether your site was affected:
Check your Google Webmaster Tools account for any messages from Google.
In the cases of the worst offenders, Google have sent notifications regarding spamming offences to website owners via the Google Webmaster Tools console.
If you don’t have a Google Webmaster Tools account in place, you really should do. Usually it takes less than 5 minutes to set up and provides you with a direct insight to how Google sees and indexes your website. Let us know if you’d like a hand setting this up – it’s a worthy exercise.
Check your traffic stats since 24th April 2012 in Google Analytics.
Can you see any major drops in traffic for any particular pages or keywords in the days/weeks / months directly after this date? If so, chances are that your site was hit in some way by Google Penguin.
Not all sites affected of course have been detrimental, with thousands of websites falling down the rankings this presents an enormous opportunity for sites that have been playing by the rules to take their place, so there is every chance that your website may see in increase in traffic since Penguin.