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P,P, Picking up from Penguin (2.0): Google Search Algorithm Update

It’s been a busy week at MLT as we review the changing search landscape in the wake of another update to Google’s search engine algorithm – in this case, a moderate change to their recent ‘Penguin’ algorithm, labelled by Matt Cutts as ‘Penguin 2.0’. We thought it would be worthwhile explaining generally what these changes mean for law firms and other businesses looking to rank, or continue to rank, in Google and other search engines ahead of their competition while implementing white-hat SEO practices.

Summary of the Effect of Penguin 2.0

A s part of their ongoing quest to perfect the way in which information is organised, Google continually updates their algorithm to take account of changes in the internet landscape, particularly where spam and underhanded (unethical “black-hat”) SEO tactics are concerned.

Every update changes things just a little –Google stated that around 2.3% of all search queries will be affected this time round. However for SEO and online business generation professionals like us, every change, no matter how slight, makes us sit up and take notice.Google Penguin 2.0 Algorithm SEO Update

The main targeted practices that Penguin 2.0 seeks to reduce can be summarised as follows:-

  • Advertorials – Google is seeking to eliminate the number of paid advertorials. Some big brands have been guilty of this recently and indeed Google has taken action – see, for instance, Interflora.
  • Link spam and black hat techniques – Google is aiming to reduce low quality directory links, spammy blog comments, forum post links and other black hat techniques which have for a long time been best avoided.
  • Hacked sites and spam user generated content – Google is taking a particularly strong view against any sites that have been hacked and which allow users to spam. This can be a particularly prevalent problem, for instance, with Wordpress comments that aren’t moderated.

For more analysis on the effects of the Penguin 2.0 update, see this helpful SEOmoz update (from Dr Pete).

While other SEO and online marketing consultancies see challenges, Moore Legal Technology see opportunities, not least in respect of Google+ authorship (‘AuthorRank’) and social media sharing in general, which form part of a bigger objective – developing a robust website with great content that people will want to share to their connections.

Long Term Perspective for Best SEO Results

Regardless of Google’s or other search engines’ updates, we appreciate that it’s best for us and for our clients to take a long-term view of search algorithm updates and, consequently, it’s essential to continue to build robust, optimised websites with great content that’s useful for people, not (just) search engine spiders.

It’s possible to get overnight success pretty quickly with your rankings, but such a short-term view is misguided and can often have drastic effects on your rankings in the medium to long term – and it can be very difficult to right the ship. A good SEO company will recognise that there may be the occasional patch of rough sea and keep you informed of these, as well as acting to correct the damage quickly – damage which is often caused by the shoddy work of cheap SEO. A good SEO company knows when to batten down the hatches and when to bail out water.

Choosing the Best SEO provider for your Law Firm or Business

It may be tempting to reduce overheads by choosing a website design company that provides a cheap, one-off SEO service, but in our experience, real success with internet marketing and online business generation comes from choosing a trusted digital partner who will manage and report on your rankings and analytics on an on-going basis as part of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. If you get it wrong, you could very easily slip beneath the waves of Google’s first page. A steady hand on the tiller, if you like.

If your rankings have been affected, fret not – even noble organisations like the Salvation Army have taken a dip in rankings. With long term, modern SEO practices these dips are simply part of the voyage - with a short-sighted ‘quick-fix’ SEO provider, they can be a hole below the waterline.

Contact us for Professional Internet Marketing Advice

We appreciate that as solicitors or business owners you have more important things to worry about than black-and-white animal metaphors (indeed we noted that on our blog post about Penguin last year), but the changes that are happening with search engines can potentially have a significant effect on the amount of business you generate online. We would be pleased to hear from you and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have on these recent developments with Google’s algorithm changes. Contact us here.

Blog post by David Kerr and Gavin Ward.

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