2012 has really been the year of change for Search Engine Optimisation.  And not just little tweaks either – we have seen fundamental change.

The buzzwords of the year so far have been ‘reputation and trust’.  We are not talking here about online reputation management, we are referring to the integrity and relevancy of your  website’s content, it’s design, and the quality and authority of the external links that point to it.

Google and the other major search engines have always openly stated the importance of website content relevancy and quality while criticizing all forms of trickery used by some of the more ‘unsavoury’ SEO practitioners. What changed in 2012 is that Google can now police such trickery much more effectively and broadly than ever before.

In the past, Google has not openly advised domains about that their black hat webspam had been spotted by them.  This changed in April 2012 when Google started using its ‘Webmaster Tools’ to advise webmasters that ‘unnatural’ links had been found pointing to their domain.


Google introduced Penguin on April 24th. Penguin penalised websites that were exhibiting signs of artificial external links. This update led to marked downturn in traffic for some sites very quickly.

When websites tried to recover their former search engine rankings Google is adamant that websites must make a thorough effort to remove all artificial and low quality links no matter how long they have been in existence. Google did provide a link disavow tool last month, but it still uses link submissions as strong suggestions, not a hard and fast off-switch.

Even with the disavow tool, Google makes no rush to restore a site’s good status. Google waits until it re-crawls and re-indexes the URLs you disavow before it takes action. It can be weeks or even months between spider visits to deep or low quality pages.

It is worth also remembering that Google ignores links it cannot trust.  In practice it seems that websites can have plenty of unreliable links before they trigger some unknown statistical threshold and Penguin takes hold. Penguin does not replace manual reviews by the search engine either, Google can still take manual action to de-list  a site because of untrustworthy links, even if Penguin has already engaged.

In our next post we will look at other major search engine changes.  If you would like to know more about how GB Web Marketing can help you gain or retain a good ranking for your website in the search engine results.  GB Web Marketing are Internet Marketing Professionals and specialist SEO experts serving UK Businesses.  If you would like more information about how we can help you please leave a comment below, or if preferred call us today on 01293 822755

Chris Griffin
Chris Griffin
Chris has been a Digital Marketing Consultant since 2005. Since 2007 he has specialised in Search Engine Marketing, both Paid Search and Organic SEO. He has an excellent record of helping businesses of all sizes, both in the UK and overseas, to achieve their online marketing goals.

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