Google is Unleashing Penguin 2.0 Soon
The buzz all around the SEO forums and google webmasters forums is all about the anticipation of Google's actual announcement that they are rolling out a new update to their penguin update. It has been nearly a year since the last update to the algorithms so this has been expected.
Most of the time Google just makes updates and does not really announce that it is going to take place. However, this is supposed to be a big algorithm update, so big that Matt Cutts said you can you look at Penguin as 1.0 and the new update as Penguin 2.0.
There has been some movement in the SERPS already since the announcement so most people who are keeping an eye on their SEO are noticing the shifts.
Google did talk about a few things they wanted to work on in this update. It all remains to be seen for the most part.
What we do know is that Google has made a HUGE shift towards brands. That is why they took out patents related to detecting brands. The bad part for the real estate agent is that that means the big 4 took over most of the top spots you used to dominate for in the SERPS.
For hyper-local content this is not what the consumer, the searcher normally wants. When a searcher is looking deep for information on the hyper local level they are not interested in clicking on zillow or trulia. Those sites don't get to the real nitty and the gritty about lifestyle in specific neighborhoods and certainly don't have a voice that the searcher can relate to.
Google says they are trying to work in this update to be able to discover sites that are not as authoritative as far as pagerank goes but that are more what the searcher is looking for making the smaller site the authoritative voice for that brand. The brand equals the keywords. The keywords when used correctly signal to Google that they are that brand.
We hope to see some shift back to real estate agent and broker websites for the content that the searcher is looking for.
But we saw something very unnerving in several areas this past week where most SEO folks believe the algo shift and update have already started to take place:
1. We ranked for a keyword phrase for over 4 years now, totally dominate page one for this keyword holding 8 out of 10 spots. Two competitors each have one spot on this SERP. Suddenly, lo and behold, this past Monday- guess who showed up on page one? Yep, zillow. And they were given a spot without the keyword being in their title. The phrase match was not even in the description or the title tag. Google could only pull up a word here and there throughout a page that somehow they considered authoritative enough to rank on page one. This goes to our original theory that the fear is to make the big brands even stronger rather than the small companies have a shot at page one on the SERPS.
2. The next concerning SERP situation was Debbie Gartner's keywords that she uses. She owns a flooring store. She sells hardwood floors and carpet, etc. She has ranked for a cherry wood flooring for a long time. She dominates the SERPS for this keyword. Suddenly there was zillow when you do a search for looking for hardwood cherry flooring in her town which is in New York. Zillow was given a spot on page one of the serps for a listing of a home in Boca Raton Florida with hardwood flooring. Now, the obvious search is that someone is looking to remodel their home in New York and wants to put hardwood floors in their house so they do a search for hardwood flooring in their town so that they can find a store that sells the wood flooring and get the prices, etc. So either Google is too stupid in their algorithm to be able to figure that one out or they are so far bent in preferring the big brands over anyone including Debbie Gartner who sells flooring. And the listing from zillow was not optimized either for the keyword phrase!
3. The worst part came when Debbie posted about the flooring keyword on her google plus page. Google now assigns hashtags to your posts. You have the option to delete the hashtags that google puts there but most people don't know that. What really bothered me is that Google put the hashtag of zillow on Debbie's posting. Now, even if the algorithm could see that there was discussion about zillow why did Google choose that hashtag instead of the main topic hashtag which was hardwood flooring.
I am hoping that I am wrong, very wrong. I am hoping this new shift is back to the good quality content websites that agents and brokers have worked hard to offer good content to consumers serious about moving, selling and buying homes and properties in their respective areas.
But I am not holding my breath in light of what we have encountered over this past week.