Google in its next search ranking algorithm update targeting webspam techniques that include : keyword stuffing, and link schemes. The change will go live for all languages at the same time.
In a April 24, blog post Matt Cutts announcing the update said, “The opposite of “white hat” SEO is something called “black hat webspam” (we say “webspam” to distinguish it from email spam). In the pursuit of higher rankings or traffic, a few sites use techniques that don’t benefit users, where the intent is to look for shortcuts or loopholes that would rank pages higher than they deserve to be to be ranked. We see all sorts of webspam techniques every day, from keyword stuffing to link schemes that attempt to propel sites higher in rankings.”
….we’ve launched Panda changes that successfully returned higher-quality sites in search results. And earlier this year we launched a page layout algorithm that reduces rankings for sites that don’t make much content available “above the fold”.”
Cutts notes, “In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines. We’ve always targeted webspam in our rankings, and this algorithm represents another improvement in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content.”
“While we can’t divulge specific signals because we don’t want to give people a way to game our search results and worsen the experience for users, our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics.”
What’s “webspam” as Google calls it, or a “search spam”? In short, web pages that try to gain better rankings through schemes like:
- Keyword stuffing
- Link schemes
- Cloaking, “sneaky” redirects or “doorway” pages
- Purposeful duplicate content
Here are the screens of the keyword stuffing and link schemes spams:
“Sites affected by this change might not be easily recognizable as spamming without deep analysis or expertise, but the common thread is that these sites are doing much more than white hat SEO; we believe they are engaging in webspam tactics to manipulate search engine rankings,” added Cutts.
“The initial Panda ranking algorithm affected about 12% of queries to a significant degree, this algorithm affects,” Cutts said:
- 3.1% of English queries
- 3% of German, Chinese and Arabic (but the impact is higher in more heavily-spammed languages)
- 5% of Polish queries
Update: Panda algorithm update 3.5 is live as on April 19, Cutts tweet confirmed, “Panda data refresh on 4/19.”
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) April 26, 2012
The last update was Panda 3.4 on March 23, which Google had publicly shared.
Cutts also commented on SEL about the numbers of sites affected with this update, saying,
“Hey Danny, there’s a pretty big flaw with this “winner/loser” data. Searchmetrics says that they’re comparing by looking at rankings from a week ago. We rolled out a Panda data refresh several days ago. Because of the one week window, the Searchmetrics data include not only drops because of the webspam algorithm update but also Panda-related drops. In fact, when our engineers looked at Searchmetrics’ list of 50 sites that dropped, we only saw 2-3 sites that were affected in any way by the webspam algorithm update. I wouldn’t take the Searchmetrics list as indicative of the sites that were affected by the webspam algorithm update.”