On April 24, 2012, Google posted a blog post in the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog about an algorithm update targeting webspam. This type of SEO, which is described by many as black hat SEO, has been a target of Google’s Matt Cutts for some time. It’s a daunting task for him and his team, but early reports of this algorithm update suggest that all webmasters should have cause for concern.
First, you might want to read Google’s post titled “Another Step to Reward High Quality Sites.” Judging by the comments on their blog post, Google is not dishing out rewards. Instead, Google is destroying many legitimate businesses that rely on search traffic for their sole existence. Obviously, many webmasters are upset.
Let’s look at the keyword Viagra. Right now three potentially comprised (hacked) websites are enjoying positions at #5, #6 and #10. The #5 listing for this keyword query also happens to be a .edu domain. Obviously, quality has significantly suffered in this area. But is it impacting other queries as well? The answer is yes. When performing a search for “python hosting” without quotes, the number one listing is a website that has only the words “OK” on it. Their homepage contains no HTML in the source code or anything else.
Google notes the following:
The goal of many of our ranking changes is to help searchers find sites that provide a great user experience and fulfill their information needs.
Considering the erroneous search results presently being returned by Google, search quality has definitely diminished and the great user experience that Google is trying to provide users has been tarnished.
While there are some that speculate this algorithm update will be rolled back, many small businesses are being adversely impacted and may not survive until a rollback is initiated. Remember, the economy is quite fragile and many businesses have been hanging on by a thread. Google’s April 24th 2012 algorithm update targeting webspam might just be the final factor that causes many businesses that depend on internet based leads and sales to fold.