Minor weather report: We pushed 1st Penguin algo data refresh an hour ago. Affects <0.1% of English searches. Context: goo.gl/4f7Pq
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) May 26, 2012
It’s been little over a week since Matt Cutts announced the first data refresh for the new Penguin algorithm, and although Cutts insists less than 0.1% of English searches were affected, the tales of plummeting page ranks from SEO’s seems to tell a different story.
16th March – The first reports that Google would be implementing a Over-Optimisation Penalty started to flood the Internet after Matt Cutt’s made the announcement during a panel at SXSW. It was clear that SEO’s in particular would be targeted, although Cutts has been vague as to how the over-optimisation penalty would work.
19th April – Over a month later SEO’s started to spool out countless articles about what to avoid, what not to do, how to minimise the damage, how to recover etc.
24th April – In a post on the official Google blog, Matt Cutts explained the kinds of black hat SEO tactics they were aiming to target in the update. In particular keywork stuffing and link schemes were the tactics which would be most heavily penalised.
May 15th-16th – This is around the date we suspect that the Penguin update went live, although there is no way to be sure. So far at Bigfoot Digital we haven’t seen any positive or negative changes to our own, or our clients websites.
May 17th – Search Engine roundtable shared this sneaky little hack to see pre and post Penguin rankings. Although it no longer works, it’s interesting to see that some websites did suffer.
May 26th – Matt Cutts announces the first data refresh for the Penguin update on Twitter.
May 28th – SEO Roundtable conducted this poll which revealed that 65% of SEO’s were harmed by the update, although they pointed out that those who saw a negative change were more likely to vote. The comments left by irate SEO professionals are well worth a read as they show some real insight into the sites hit by the update.
May 28th – This case study by SEOMoz shows how a site which is known for creating valuable content was hit by the update and how they battled to get things back on track. They cite the algorithm refresh as ‘crushing’ to many websites, including WPMU.org.
Our advice here at Bigfoot digital?
Make a big push towards social media – as the focus is now on content and links from established sites, social signals from sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube are vital.
We’re advising that only around 20% of links use keyword anchor text.