For anyone interested in search, Google has released the Penguin update over the past week. This is the first major update to Google's ranking factor and search result algorithm since the Panda release just over a year ago.
In the official Google blog about this new update, it describes it as "another step to reward high-quality sites." In other words, Penguin is just another effort at tackling what's now being called "black hat webspam:" the practice of trying to rank webpages higher with techniques like keyword stuffing and creating elaborate link schemes, among others. The same blog clearly differentiates "white hat" from "back hat webspam" search engine optimization and emphasizes the importance of "white hat" SEO in improving site content, usability and performance (i.e. speed).
I guess I don't need to mention that SCN is committed to white hat SEO. :smile:
Google's announcement came with a sigh of relief: over the past few weeks there was chatter about an "over-optimization penalty" forthcoming and no one was really sure what this means. I suppose it was easy to misinterpret what could mean and people were even more on edge after a glitch during a minor update two weeks ago. This glitch resulted in a huge drop in the number of indexed SCN URLs, which quickly bounced back after 24hrs. (SEO requires lots of patience...lots...) Overall, Penguin is just another attempt by Google to stay one step ahead of the webspammers and provide quality results for users.
Here are some good blogs about the Panda release that you should consider looking at: