The Artic bird strikes again. This time, however, it strikes less than 1% of searches. Does this mean black hat webmasters have gotten slicker? Or, does it mean 1.2 was effective enough to combat future negativity? We're still learning about Google's latest algorithmic beatdown, but this is what's known thus far: spam your content, and you'll be made an example of by the Penguin - regardless if the Batmobile is waiting outside to rescue you.
What it Did
Thus far, we've discovered that Google's latest attempt to purge search engines of spammy B.S. is working in syncopation with Hummingbird's concurrent update. Business sites, bloggers and others that simply love manipulating search position will feel the tremors as page rank, domain authority and overall position will plummet off the face of the earth. Seems unfair, yet consider this: you'd probably appreciate finding accurate information, as business owners, when searching Google; they feel the same about your consumers.
It may behoove you to check your Webmaster Tools to see if any manual action or spam penalization has been applied to your domain. Alternatively, you can search Google with this string:site:yourdomain.com. If you see all your website's indexed pages, thumbs up to you. If you get the dreaded 'nothing found', Penguin slapped you silly due to link spam or content quagmires.
What it Will Continually Do
Unless you attempt to reconcile your evil content or link building ways with the search gods, you'll never see page 20 of search results. It's really not difficult to create content calendars, build strong internal link structures or reach out to others for link reciprocation of the more relevant sense. These updates creep up during most of North America's sleep hours, and we're left discovering it when Europeans awaken from their slumbers.
Brainstorm an effective marketing plan that doesn't involve 'bucking the system' - many larger corporations are enacting a corporate video production schema into their marketing plans; videos are virtually Penguin, Panda or Hummingbird-proof. Google will find you, steal your wretched little soul, and bury your business before the foundation is set.
The world of content marketing is changing to suit the highest bidder - in a sense. In the information age, traditional methods of advertising have begun to lose their luster, forcing companies to raise the bar on how they market their brands and products. Central to this ever shifting business paradigm is content marketing: attracting customers not by "selling" them a brand, but instead by creating interesting, entertaining, or compelling content that will guide customer behavior without making an explicit sales pitch.
Google penalizes the lame. The weak-willed entrepreneur that only has time to outsource link building to someone that will spam them to death, or content writing to those that care little about your goals.
Next time, you may not get this warning - your site will be banned forever without an opportunity to rectify.
Trust, but Verify
Reading up on various facets of SEO is perhaps the best verification method - especially when it comes from Matt Cutts himself. We all know that SEO is a “game” that always changes its rules unexpectedly. Many “famous” SEOs have proven time and time again that Google’s algorithms have flaws that can be exploited to increase your rankings, earn more money, or both.
A few months ago, in-depth books on various tech, business and marketing were introduced by Go Bookee, http://www.gobookee.org/ - perhaps read their literature, compare notes with articles you read, and make a concerted effort to discern fact from algorithm fiction.