Google has announced an update to its ranking engine in an effort to reduce spam in search results. The update targets specific "black hat" search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, or methods used to increase the visibility of websites without any corresponding increase in content quality or relationship with the search query. Google states that the update has affected three precent of search queries in English, just over three percent of results in German, Chinese, and Arabic languages, and five percent of queries in Polish. This update has a smaller impact than Google's February update, referred to as Panda, which affected 12 percent of queries.
"Keyword stuffing" is specifically mentioned as one of the SEO techniques that the company frowns upon. This involves packing repetitive search terms into low visibility areas of a website in hopes of being picked up by a search engine. However, Search Engine Land points to techniques like "linking schemes" and "cloaking" that violate Google's Webmaster Guidelines. The first is the use of organized rings of link spammers that spread unrelated links all over the web, and the second is a sophisticated method of showing search engines a separate, curated site rather than the site available to real users. Sites that employ these tactics will have their visibility penalized, while sites that abide by the search engine's guidelines will gain varying levels of visibility.
Search Engine Land also performed a casual side-by-side comparison of Google's new filtering algorithm against results from Microsoft's Bing. Notably, Bing provided more relevant search results in some instances, but Google was found to provide marginally better results for pages that strictly adhere to approved SEO techniques. On the whole, Search Engine Land wasn't able to find any significant difference in Google's rankings, which aligns with the stated three percent change in search results.