On The Bright Side
#1. It Made Quality Content King
For years, Google preached to webmasters that “Content Is King”, while all the while rewarding some form of volume based link building. Since link volume had more algorithmic value than quality content, webmasters and SEO service providers spent more time on backlinks and less time on creating great content. Then Google launched Penguin and link building changed forever. They still preach that Content Is King, onlythey mean this time.
#2. It Changed Behavior
While a big chunk of the SEO community still seeks to find and exploit algorithmic loopholes via linking strategies, for the most part Penguin has been very successful in changing SEO behavior at the macro level. Since Penguin is a punitive algorithm, many SEOs don’t want to engage in black hat or even gray hat link building anymore because there is too much liability and risk in doing so.
The mainstream SEO industry is now more focused on earning links through content-driven SEO – and this is a good thing. Furthermore, webmasters and SEO service providers pay much more attention to managing backlink profiles for quality and relevance, and they are as interested in pruning away bad links as acquiring new quality ones.
#3. It Brought SEO Services Back Onshore & In-House
Prior to Penguin, there was little risk in buying services from SEO community websites and offshore freelancers. In the pre-Penguin era, digital agencies would often get a new client and then outsource link building through online communities or crowdsourcing and freelancer websites. This created a huge boom for offshore service providers that lasted for years.
Offshore link building packages became so popular and widespread that even mainstream digital agencies and business owners started buying them directly. While Google played a cat-and-mouse game battling these techniques, for the most part these services worked. Then Google dropped the hammer with the launch of Penguin in 2012, instantly shining the bright lights of accountability and liability to SEO services industry. Now companies and agencies are much less likely to outsource link building services and in this sense, Penguin was a game-changer.
The Ugly Side of Penguin
#4. It Hurts Small Businesses
While most people view Google as another highly successful tech company, it’s actually much more than that. Google Search has become a fundamental part of the economy and for many types of transactions, Googling is now an integral part of the purchase process. It’s become part of the Internet’s digital infrastructure just like resource commodities and transportation systems are a part of our brick and mortar world. Yet, while food and energy commodities are highly regulated, Google Search is not. No other private company on the planet can affect such an immediate, far reaching change on the global economy the way Google can with a major algorithm update.
Josh Bachyski, an SEO and ethicist, wrote a fascinating post on The Moral Conceptwhere he claims that Google lacks the moral authority to penalize websites with algorithms such as Penguin. Mr. Bachynski uses a very interesting metaphor comparing Google to a multi-national that builds a dam and water reservoir, where native tribes (i.e. small businesses) build a dependency to this resource. Arbitrary and punitive algorithms like Penguin, combined with Google’s lack of transparency, can have a crushing effect on small businesses every time they are updated.
#5. It Created Negative SEO
By creating and launching an algorithm that penalizes spammy link building, Penguin gives some people the incentive to try to use link building to trigger a penalty on other websites. Since Penguin’s initial release, Google webspam team members have claimed that negative SEO is very hard to achieve. Yet, many in the search community believe that negative SEO is real and much more effective than Google claims it to be.
#6. It turned ‘Webmasters’ Into Web Slaves
Since Penguin is in essence a punitive algorithm, it has taken a great deal of control out of webmasters’ control and put it in the hands of third parties. Anyone can link to your site and thus send Google an important ranking signal without your consent. While it’s hard for you to earn the links you want, it’s easy for anyone to give you links you don’t want. If Google only counted good links and ignored bad links, this wouldn’t be a big deal. It would be nice if Google gave us the option to moderate incoming links, but instead, they want us to find and disavow junk links.
Overall, the effect of Penguin to date has probably been a wash. Some people feel Penguin would have been a much better algorithm if Google used it to neutralizespammy links versus penalizing them. What we do know is that Google launched Penguin 2.1 on October 4th 2013 and it took over a year to release Penguin 3.0 on October 17th 2014.
While some may believe that Google relished keeping websites in the penalty box waiting for a refresh, others were more hopeful that Google was simply taking extra time to test and fix Penguin’s perceived flaws. Regardless, this link spam algorithm is here to stay and Penguin will continue to fascinate the SEO community with each and every new update.
Original Posted Date at http://blog.ahrefs.com: Nov 17, 2014 Posted By