It has been spoken about for a long time: searchers and web optimisers alike have been longing for an algorithm update to clear out the spammy, single themed websites built on bulk links with little authority.
I was certainly expecting this anticipated update to fly in like an eagle owl, late at night, with a highly tuned sense of its prey and clean up, leaving a trail of screaming keyword-rich domains and linking farms counting the cost of depleting referring traffic revenues. As should have been expected, Google turns cool on it head and delivers us the Penguin.
The implications will be felt across all sectors but those high-value, resellable terms like “Loans” are, as to be expected, the first to be hit.
Here are two examples of this, as seen late in April 2012, for search terms “Unsecured Loans” and “Bridging Finance” – alerted to us by our Intelligence Platform
If we take a closer look at the “Unsecured Loans” chart we can see two clear examples of winners and losers, using our content diagnostics and performance tool we can look closer at the affected pages.
Here we look at the major on page elements of the two URLs: www.fastunsecuredloans.org.uk and www.circleloans.co.uk.
www.totallymoney.com and www.uswitch.com
If we take a look at the return page SEO diagnostics it is clear to see that the sites with low authority and poor on-page optimisation scores have fallen. Those sites with higher PageRank (a good sign of stronger link quality) and with stronger page theming benefit from improved conversion positions.
So what is the lesson?
It’s too early to tell the long term implications (the positions may revert) but so far this could be the long awaited triumph for substance over spam. But like most things on the internet I hope this does not come at the cost of the emerging pretender looking to build authority and in turn position.