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Then print out the Google Webmaster Guidelines and stick them next to it.
Read the guidelines.
If your site(s) aren't sticking to those rules, then look back to the first print out - "Google doesn't own you anything". Read the first few lines very carefully:
"Even if you choose not to implement any of these suggestions, we strongly encourage you to pay very close attention to the "Quality Guidelines," which outline some of the illicit practices that may lead to a site being removed entirely from the Google index or otherwise impacted by an algorithmic or manual spam action."
If you break the guidelines, you risk a penalty.
You may be wondering why we've chosen to publish such seemingly obvious advice, especially as the guidelines have been around for years and years. It's something we teach on our SEO courses, and seems to be common sense.
Read through the other comments on that second post to get an idea of the anger felt towards Google by large portions of the search industry. So why is everyone so angry?
If you've been keeping track of Google's latest updates you will be aware that around two weeks ago (April 24th 2012) they rolled out the latest algorithm update: Google Penguin.
Follow that link for more information on the update but in brief it was designed to crack down on webspam. It was originally called 'Google Webspam Algorithm Update' but we think you'll agree that Penguin has a better ring to it.
This isn't the first black and white critter that Google has deployed to help combat webspam, you should be very familiar with Panda, which shook up the SEO industry in 2011.
In this post we take a look at the reaction to the update and what you should do if you've been hit.
Google Penguin: The Backlash
Reaction to Google Penguin has been similar to last year's Panda update. Angry SEOs have flocked to message boards and blog comments to declare that 'Google hates SEO' and how the Penguin update has cost them their livelihood.
Skim through the comments on the official Google Penguin announcement and three complaints keep popping up:
"Google have made search worse"
There have been some strange results appearing recently, but it is hard to tell if these are caused by the update. One thing we have definitely noticed is that Wikipedia dominates SERPs, ranking #1 for very weakly related searches. The jury is out on whether this update has resulted in worse results, we think that Search Plus Your World and the Venice update have had a bigger role in making results less user-friendly.
If, as Google claim, this update is explicitly designed to remove sites that use spam tactics from search results then that can only make search better.
If you really can't cope with Google search results, then use another search engine!