So, to set the record straight, we must first get to know the two curiously black and white animals that we either love or hate (more often the latter) which represent the two most recent Google algorithm changes: the panda and the penguin.
Panda Released in February 2011, this major update was created with the purpose of reducing the rankings of low quality sites. The overall goal was to improve the searcher's experience (as is with most Google updates) by forcing webmasters to remove low quality content. This content includes, but is not limited to:
- Duplicate (or low proportion of original) content.
- Content that has an unnatural keyword density (keyword stuffed content, etc.).
- A high amount of advertisements - especially above the fold.
- Little or no quality inbound links or social signals.
- Anything else that would signal a spammy site.
To recover from a "Panda Slap" all one needed to do was make the visitor's experience on a site a better one—whether it was by removing low quality content or by taking steps to speed up your site. Though many loathed the update at the time, Panda has certainly made the web a better place and has since been updated (at the time of writing) 20 times, with the last one focusing on devaluing many exact match domains (EMDs).
Penguin The most recent major algorithm change by Google, released earlier this year on April 24th, is one that focuses more on illegitimate link building—a practice which, until this update, many were engaged in. Like Panda, there are a set of things that the algorithm update looks for which may either reward or penalize a site. With Penguin, it is anything that signals and unnatural link profile. This includes:
- A high percentage of exact match anchor text links.
- A low percentage of branded links.
- A high percentage of links outside your niche.
- Links from sites that are deemed "spammy" by Google.
- A high percentage of comment links.
- Anything that seems "unnatural."
A recovery from a "Penguin Slap" has proven to be a bit more difficult than a Panda recovery—mainly because it involved dealing with sites other than your own. Not only did many webmasters have to reach out to spammy sites to get links to their site removed (which, ironically, many had to pay for), but they needed to dump resources into the creation of natural links in order to even out the link profile. In case a "natural" link profile is unclear, here is what Google is looking for:
- High quality links from a diverse assortment of domains within your niche.
- Many social signals from Twitter, Facebook, etc.
- Link type diversity - with many having branded or universal anchor text.
- Deep links.
- Any other links that help contribute to what a natural link profile would consist of.
So there you have it, Google's most recent algorithm changes in a nutshell.
So how does Zemanta fit into all of this? Are we really a product that abides by all of Google's rules? Even the most recent updates? Though it may come as no surprise that our answer is yes, there are several reasons for that—related to both Panda and Penguin.
Now of course you can use Zemanta to add related articles, images and tags to your blog post. But if a user wants to get the most out of Zemanta, then they will have added their blog to our index so that when they link to other bloggers using our tool, we will then go ahead and recommend their content to other bloggers that are writing about similar content. This, of course, is a practice known as "Link Love."
Sounds like a great way to earn links, right? Well yes, but there are a few catches—all of which work very nicely with Google's algorithmic animals.
First, let it be known that we have a dedicated team focused on keeping all spammy and low quality blogs out of our index. Doing this not only ensures that our tool isn't abused by spammers, but it also provides incentive for bloggers that have the potential to create high quality original content.
But getting into our index is only the first step. If a blogger has any hopes of getting linked to by other Zemanta bloggers, they have to continue creating high quality original content that other bloggers choose to link to—among the many other relevant articles of similar quality that we suggest to them. This not only creates a competitive environment where only the most quality content survives, but it also creates a better web. A web that Google is also trying to create.
Not only does Zemanta force serious bloggers to create quality content on a quality site (a la Panda), but it also offers them an opportunity to receive a diverse set of natural, deep links from other quality bloggers within their niche (as per Penguin). Is there anything that we missed?