Does Penguin Make Google And The Web Less Relevant?
Just about everyone knows Google’s Penguin Update was supposed to
eliminate web spam from Google’s search results, but is there a fundamental
flaw in Google’s methods, which over time, will make those results and the
web itself less relevant?
Has Google Search Become Less Relevant After Penguin?
Google’s Penguin Update, which was rolled out at the end of April,
has drawn much outcry, especially from well established sites affected
by this latest algorithm change. However, much of the discussion has
been about these affected sites and how to recover from Penguin, very
few people are discussing the underlying structural changes to online
search and the fundamental changes to SEO and the nature of the web
itself, this latest update is spawning.
Google is probably happy most of the discussion has centered around
“web spam” and how Penguin has caught those sites and individuals who
are in Google’s words/eyes trying to “game” their rankings by aggressively
link building via optimized keywords in the anchor text of both their
external and internal links. Most people are cheering Google’s moral
high ground on this issue, especially those sites which have now replaced
the offending domains. The general masses and the ordinary web surfer,
for the most part, is probably oblivious to any of these changes.
Almost no one is questioning whether the Penguin Update will make the web
a worst place, especially when it comes to search? Sure, Google may have
supposedly caught more than a few people who were “over-optimizing” their
SEO in order to rank highly in Google. (We are not talking about spun content,
keyword stuffing, link buying, hidden text, link cloaking… all those things
should be banned and fixed by Google.) But has Penguin make the web and online
search less relevant for the end-user? Will the Penguin Update and its fallout,
fundamentally change how linking is done on the web? Changes which will make
those links much less relevant and helpful to the web surfer.
The real question here – does Penguin, at its very core, damage and erode
one of the most fundamental and essential building blocks of the web
– the keyword link?
Google with the Penguin Update, is punishing site owners for building
optimized “exact keyword” links both external and internal. Supposedly,
if your ratio of exact commercial keywords in your anchor text links are
too high, your rankings in Google are toast. Google is arguing that by
excessively building these keyword links, a person is trying to game or
manipulate Google’s rankings, which goes against Google’s quality guidelines.
This is, more or less, a link scheme to manipulate Google. This may be even
true, but by reducing or downplaying the presence of these “keyword links”,
doesn’t it also make the web and these web pages less relevant on a fundamental
Yes, webmasters and site owners can use the “nofollow” tag and still use
these keyword links, but this is basically telling Google these links are
really not relevant in the overall scheme of things. And in the process,
relevant links and content, will get reduced in importance, at least in
Google. Keywords are the building blocks of the web, has Penguin seriously
eroded their effectiveness and power?
If Google and Penguin had their way, would all the links on the web be
entitled “click here”, so as not to influence Google’s ranking system?
Let’s face it, if you’re searching on the web, which link would you more
likely use: “click here” or “best hotel in vancouver” and answer honestly.
We use keywords to find what we’re looking for on the web and using “exact”
keyword links is one of the best ways for giving the web surfer what they’re
looking for in their search.
In a similar light, if after Penguin, the site owner can no longer use exact
keyword links on their pages, their whole site becomes less relevant because
the web surfer will have a harder time finding exactly what they’re looking
for in the content presented, regardless of its quality. Google and everyone
knows, most surfers only land on one page on your site and if their keyword
and related keyword links are not found, they will usually hit the back button.
Providing exact keyword links (commercial or otherwise) should be the given
right of any site owner. It does not degrade site quality, but improves it.
The whole concept of SEO is to make your content more relevant and prominent
in the search engines and on the web. Take away or diminish the effectiveness
of SEO and keywords – you make everything less relevant and less helpful.
But not under Penguin, use too many of these exact keyword links and your site
may be perceived as over-optimized and vanished from Google search. Applied
across the whole web, this fundamental change brought on by Penguin, could have
a tremendous impact and make the web less relevant and much less enjoyable for
everyone. Even for the now Penguin approved sites, will the Google searcher end
up scratching their heads, trying to find related keywords and content from their
initial search. Google’s search index and results becomes much less relevant to
the end-user and erodes the user’s experience and certainly doesn’t improve that
On a more general level, after Penguin, will external links on countless web
sites have fewer and fewer of these exact keyword links, will this make it more
difficult for the web surfer to find relevant information they’re searching for
on the net? Has Google really thrown the baby out with the bath water on this one?
If Penguin does indeed make SEO less effective by reducing the importance
of keywords, it is indeed a sad day for the web.
What is even more puzzling and totally incomprehensible, if Google can already
distinguish between unnatural “inorganic” and “organic” links on the web, why
couldn’t Google just DISCARD any perceived “inorganic” links flowing into your
domain when it comes to ranking your content/site in Google search? Why couldn’t
Google ONLY count or rank your organic links in their whole algorithm ranking process?
Why the need for Penguin at all – to catch a few web spammers? If their spammy
content is not indexed and not ranked, it has no effect and is rendered useless,
why cause all this fuss with Penguin? Why not simply make the web spam pointless
or useless when it comes to ranking in Google? Wouldn’t that have been a much smarter
way to solve this issue?
Google vs Facebook
It is also very sad when one company or search engine can dictate the whole nature
of the web. No one company should have this right or monopoly. This is wrong and must
be fixed. One can only hope the web of the future will be equally divided when it comes
to online search – with Google having 25%, Microsoft 25%, Apple 25% and FaceBook 25%.
While this dream scenario may be delusional to the extreme since most people believe
Google’s dominance of search will only go up, rather than down. Others argue, if Google
rolls out more updates like Penguin, then Google’s numbers will only go down. Google is
not invincible, according to Alexa, FaceBook has already knocked Google from the number
one spot on the web, countless times this month alone.
Others take a more neutral stand, and say, ultimately it will be the web users who will
determine the nature and make-up of the web of the future. For after all, the Internet
is mightier than Google, or any search engine for that matter. Time will prove this fact.
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