Roughly 50 times a week, Google, the most used search engine in the world, updates their search engine algorithms to protect the integrity of the internet and to continue to fight against spam. The latest of their algorithm updates, Penguin, aims to target what Google considers to be “over-optimized” websites, in addition to other core factors.
When Google puts out an update, the scale is massive. Millions upon millions of websites and domains can be impacted. While Google has a very strong success rate in targeting the offenders, oftentimes even highly reputable sites can be negatively impacted.
Every time that Google makes a change to their search engine algorithms, the company and its Search Quality Team will discuss what improvements are being made. Matt Cutts, the head of the Search Quality Team at Google is often cryptic about what new tactics they are using to combat spam, and what has changed specifically with regard to the algorithms.
For example, targeting over-optimized websites aim to target those websites that have abused the system and have rapidly changed their website infrastructure too quickly and too often. Using successful search engine optimization (SEO) practices take time to implement over a given period. Optimizing too fast in a short period of time has proven to be damaging.
These algorithm updates represent the never ending battle against website and internet spam. As much as technology continues to advance and the internet continues to evolve, so too do the processes that govern this infrastructure.
There are many low-quality sites and websites that try to abuse the system in order to gain the most advantageous search engine rankings. Google puts out enough updates each month to combat these practices and further crack down on the practices each time. It is Google’s official stance as the overwhelming market leader in search engine technology that they feel a responsibility to protect the integrity of the internet.
Such proposed legislation has tried to make its way through Congress to continue the battle against low quality websites and domains. While there is virtually no government intervention amongst website rankings and polices and procedures for online search, many have lobbied in Washington for this to change. In fact, discussing copyright infringement and the unlawful stealing of ones thoughts online, such proposal including the famous SOPA and PIPA were introduced to Congress in early 2012, but was ultimately unsuccessful.
The question therefore remains, who will protect the integrity of the internet? Obviously Google plays a significant role in this environment and there seems to be a lack of presence by other competing firms.