Google, Google, Google. In search of an ever better mouse trap Google released the Penguin update to their algorithm on April 24, 2012. I don't fault Google for improving their product in fact I applaud them for it. Sadly, after suffering through the Panda update with an online retailer I know first hand the financial pain and resource suck these updates can cause. So hear is the scoop from Matt Cutts at Google. The update is designed to go after sites that violate Google's quality guidelines. Specifically they are ranking sites lower that are keyword stuffing as well as sites with unusual link patterns. If links on a page are unrelated to the content then penguin may not assign much value to those links. The update has been referred to as an over-optimization penalty.
A solid SEO process should be a part of every website. Beyond ranking well in organic search traffic for your market better SEO practices make your site more usable for your customers and easier for search engines to send you traffic. If you stay on top of current SEO trends you will find less work awaits you when big updates roll out. The guiding principle of all sites though should be to create a site that gives your users a unique experience in your marketplace. Good original content in addition to a well thought out layout and design will produce not only loyal customer but potentially consistent search engine rankings as well. Build a site for your users first and the search engines second.
Feel like poking the penguin? Check this out.