Leave it to Google to make everyone mad, all over again.
Every algorithm change brings with it a period of adjustment, for web marketers and online business owners alike. But as people learn to deal with the new rules, the grumbling slowly subsides, and things get back to business as usual.
This time, the fallout may be worse.
This time, Google’s update, called “Goat,” in a clear break with their tradition of choosing animal names beginning with P, such as Panda and Penguin, promises to wreak as much havoc as a real goat loose in your neighbor’s backyard.
Goat has forever changed the way online marketing will work. Whereas previous updates were tweaks to the system, this is the Big One.
There are three main parts to Goat. We’ve listed them here for easy reference:
1. Any and all links within content will be considered spam. Following the trend they started by penalizing guest blogs, Google has decided that any link at all is probably spammy, and will therefore be penalized. As this new system begins today, horrified online marketers are scrambling to remove all links from within their content and their clients’ content. Sites have taken hits all over the web, and everyone is furious. Could this spell the end of Google’s supremacy online?
2. The use of any SEO keywords at all will be considered keyword stuffing, and will be penalized. Everything about keywords has been in flux these past few years, but Google has finally had enough. Now, creating a website will be akin to playing a game of Taboo, in which the actual keywords companies want to be found for are not allowed to be used at all. So for example, a company selling chocolate cakes will be penalized for using the words “chocolate” and “cake,” and must instead describe products creatively, such as, “a baked delight made from the fruit of the cocoa tree.” Google says this will make for a better user experience online.
3. Any free downloads will be considered potential sources of viruses, and will result in the permanent banning of your site from Google’s listings. Despite the fact that many companies offer a free download to entice visitors to sign up for their email list, Google feels that there is just too much at stake, and has decided to permanently ban any company who dares to give away free content in this way. Unfortunately, since, again, this update takes effect today, tens of thousands of sites have already been permanently banned from ever appearing on Google’s search results pages again. There is no recourse, and no way to be forgiven.
The good news is that since these changes take effect today, we don’t actually have to worry about any of them – because it’s April Fools’ Day!!!!!
So no worries – happily, no changes to Google’s algorithm, and sadly, no changes named Goat are in the works at all. Although we do think that would make a very nice name for the next one.
Happy April Fool’s Day!