Google released a new algorithm in its search engine code in October.
This new algorithm, called Penguin, is built to root out search results that fall into a spam category as defined by Google. If Penguin decides that your site contains spam problems, Google places a penalty onto the site. This penalty makes a site lose a lot of visibility on the internet. This loss of visibility translates to fewer visits and fewer customers. Once the algorithm is understood, companies are quick to look to SEO experts to ensure that their websites are in line with requirements. In past years Google has had an unwritten promise to not alter the search algorithm during the holiday season.
This year, it is a little different.
In the past, the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day has been off limits for changes to the search algorithm. Google released an update to Penguin on Thanksgiving Day. Since then, Google has updated an alleged three additional times. These updates came on Dec 2, Dec 5, and Dec 6.
More information on these updates is forthcoming as the repercussions of the changes become more widely understood. In the past, updates to Penguin have affected anywhere from .03% of queries to 3.1% of queries. With over 3.5 billion searches per day, these numbers affect a large population of people.
The holiday season is a huge boon for most businesses in the world. To lose out on anticipated sales because of noncompliance with Google’s algorithm would spell disaster for companies reliant on internet traffic sales. As these algorithm tweaks become more understood, we can see a silver lining to their holiday timing. Websites who were hit with the penguin 3.0 penalty may have a chance to be reevaluated before the full swing of holiday shopping begins. This will mean a lot for sites that have been losing traffic since October. Google hasn’t released any official information on these updates; as they become available the situation should become much clearer.