This week Google confirmed not to expect a ranking boost from the recent Penguin algorithm update — but could something else be in the works? Google My Business power users have a new update to make their lives easier. Also, SEO spammers are at it again, this time hacking WordPress sites for personal gain.
Full details about each of these headlines are included in this week’s SEO and internet marketing new roundup.
Latest Penguin Update Will Not Give a Ranking Boost
Google’s Gary Illyes had to clear up some confusion on Twitter this week about what exactly site owners should expect following the recent Penguin update. More specifically, is there any kind of ranking boost associated with Penguin?
Illyes stated matter-of-factly, “there’s no Penguin boost.”
A “Penguin boost” could refer to a favorable ranking adjustment for sites which are not being devalued by Penguin. That would mean sites which never had any problem with Penguin in the first place, would get a rankings boost as sort of a pat on the back from Google.
There’s no “boost”, there are only “recoveries”. If you have recovered from previous issues with Penguin, then your content will be ranked according to how Google’s algorithm decides it should be ranked. There’s no special treatment for sites that have recently recovered from Penguin.
Another Kind of Rankings Shake-Up?
There may have been another kind of rankings shake-up in Google this week; there are not many details at this point, but we can rule out the possibility of a Penguin boost.
There has been chatter in the SEO and webmaster communities about sudden ranking fluctuations — some soaring while others are plummeting. Barry Schwartz summed it up quite well here, and we can also confirm we’re seeing similar traffic patterns going on with some of our clients.
Have your rankings drastically shifted this week? Either up or down? Let us know in the comments section.
Edit Attributes for Google My Business Listings
If you’re a power user of Google My Business, meaning you manage multiple accounts, the next time you sign in you may be asked to review a spreadsheet of attributes that correspond to the individual businesses.
Attributes include amenities such as “has Wi-FI”, “offers outdoor seating”, and other pieces of information that may be helpful to customers. There will be a lot to review at once, but once that’s out of the way you will be able to edit the attributes as needed going forward.
Hacked SEO Spam on the Rise
Sucuri, a software company and leading authority on WordPress security, released a statement this week about a type of SEO spam that they’ve been seeing more of lately.
Hacked SEO spam, especially on WordPress since it’s so widely used, is not a new thing. However, it usually involves installing widgets, inserting links, or defacing the content of the site in some way.
What attackers are doing with this type of SEO spam are using the victim’s website to host a spam site in a subdirectory. They’re not manipulating any existing content, they’re adding brand new content. The address of the spam site would end up looking something like www.legit-site.com/spam-site. Spammy sites installed on the host site thus far have been sales pages for designer sunglasses.
The goal behind this attack is to build on the authority already generated by the host site. This makes it easier for the spam site to rank in search, drive traffic, and ultimately generate affiliate income for the attacker.
Unfortunately, unless you have a security monitoring solution in place, it’s difficult to catch this kind of attack. In addition to getting a monitoring solution in place, we recommend going into Google Search Console and looking at the search terms you’re ranking for. If you see a bunch of keywords for products that have nothing to do with what’s on your site, it’s possible you’ve been hit by this attack.
There’s no ranking boost associated with Penguin, but there might be another shake-up in the works. Google has neither confirmed nor denied anything when asked about the recent ranking shifts. Google My Business users can more easily edit attributes, and there’s a type of SEO spam gaining in popularity. Keep your guard up!
As always, we do our best to highlight the week’s top headlines. Did we miss anything? Leave a comment below and let us know which story was most important to you this week.
- What is Call Tracking and How Does It Work? - March 15, 2021
- How to Optimize Your WordPress Site to Boost Core Web Vitals - February 15, 2021
- Create a Custom Report in Google Analytics - January 19, 2021