Google has a new algorithm called Penguin to replace the system called Panda
Google Penguin is a code name for a Google algorithm update that was first announced on April 24, 2012. The update is aimed at decreasing search engine rankings of websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines  by using black-hat SEO techniques such as keyword stuffing, cloaking, participating in link schemes, deliberate creation of duplicate content, and others.
We don't do that. I read a lot about the penguin and the panda, but all that stuff confuses me. But in google's eyes what constitutes keyword stuffing?
Just watched the Google Penguin webinar from Point It. It was worth my time. The organizers talked about symptoms that a site has been hit by Penguin, ways to avoid being hit, and what to do if you get hit. The symptom of being hit is a huge drop in traffic. Most people here are not webmasters, so I won't go through what to do if it looks like Penguin struck. I will go through the things the presenters said to avoid when it comes to bad links:
1. blog/content networks. These are networks that serve no purpose other than to increase the Google rank of the sites within the network.
2. over-optimization. SEO buffs will understand this better than I did. Not a lot was said about what was meant.
3. boilerplate sitewide links. Google sees it as natural that a relevant site could link once or twice to another, but 100 times? Ranking would go down.
4. links from irrelevant sites. If your friend sells toilets and you sell jewelry, reciprocal links make no sense and will pull you down rather than increase.
5. blog comment spam. We all know this one. It is the person who has nothing meaningful to add to a blog or a group, but is just inserted to pass along a link to a business.
As always, the advice was to build your links based on rich content. IOW, if you are selling something, write it up well using the right keywords. Google will find it, and if people like it, they will spread your link for you. This has been what Google has been saying for years. Posts with rich content and good keywords will be rewarded. The old spammy SEO tricks are being devalued. And black hat techniques will be penalized. The organizers said that using social media to promote a site is a good. It is something I was concerned about. And I still wonder how much linking from social sites, e.g. FB, is considered good. It did not discuss the specifics of this.
The webinar will be available on demand in a few days from Point It, an SEO company. I'll provide the link when I get it. Nothing was surprising in the webinar. It did provide reassurance that if we're not trying to trick Google, then we don't have to worry about a Penguin or Panda attack
Thank you for this update. I now understand a little more about the Panda & the Penguin. Looking forward for the link.
Anita, thanks for your helpful summary of that webinar.
what are "black hat techniques"?
CheriShops, the best link I've seen discussing black and white hat methods is http://www.casinoaffiliateprograms.com/blog/black-hat-seo-white-hat.... I actually enjoyed reading this link. Some of them get so technical that I get lost. This one was written for folks like me.
From what I interpret is that the black hat sites are ones trying to cheat the system in various ways.
From what I gathered, black hat techniques include things like spamming, link farming, setting up meaningless blog sites for the sole purpose of links, hidden text and URL code that users can't see, but search engines can, duplicate pages, page selection based on the IP address of the viewer. This last one is particularly tricky. Search engines will see a page with good content, while other viewers will see something different. I do not know the way it works, but some sites have multiply duplicated content within their sites. I'll have to figure out what supposed advantage that is, but Google does not like it and the Penguin will gobble the site up and spit out the bones.
I like this Penguin. With so much abuse of Google, searches would become very cumbersome indeed. Something I've noticed that may be related to Panda and Penguin is that we don't get all the clutter from the parked domains now. A year or two ago, when I would do research, about half of the links I got on searches were parked domains with links to things on eBay. So many people were buying domains and parking them, so they could get kickbacks for eBay sales. I can't recall seeing many lately, though they might still be lurking out there. If Panda and Penguin are responsible, they saved a lot of time.
Google is indeed smart in looking out for its future by making the user experience more pleasant.
I have to take that back about there being fewer parked domains showing up in searches. I have been researching some bells tonight and most of my Google results have been parked domains. Sigh.
The link for the webinars came out today, but it isn't so simple. You have to register for the webinar pack. I'm not sure if there is any payment involved. If anyone wants to follow through, the link is http://www.pointit.com/resources/webinars-whitepapers/.