Over the past few years, Google has launched several algorithm changes aimed at improving the quality of its Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Through articles such as “More Guidance on Building High-Quality Sites,” Google has been encouraging webmasters to produce quality content.
In February 2011, Google officially launched its “Panda” update, which aimed to penalize low-quality sites or sites that contained shallow content. Over the past 2 years, Google has launched 25 separate updates to Panda, as recently as March 18, 2013.
Next, Google released its “Penguin” update in April 2012. The aim of this change was to crack down on sites that violated Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by using black-hat SEO tactics, such as keyword stuffing and cloaking. Some high-profile marketers have come out and admitted to utilizing these unscrupulous SEO tactics.
According to Google’s own Blog, Webmasters who may be concerned about Google’s algorithm changes should ask themselves several questions, including:
- Would you trust the information presented in this article?
- Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
- Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
This is where it gets interesting …
Google’s Matt Cutts stated recently that Google would no longer be officially announcing new algorithm updates. However, employees within the company have told Search Engine Land that there is in fact a new secret algorithm change that is being released in April 2013.
The naming of the new algorithm change follows in the tradition of animals beginning with the letter “P.” Inspired by Agent P from the hit Disney show, “Phineus and Ferb,” the new update will be officially referred to as “Platypus”.
What is Platypus?
Platypus is the new algorithm update for the Google Search Engine. It will be released in April 2013.
What does Platypus Target?
Platypus will focus primarily on websites that contain poor spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Is there a Comprehensive List of Issues Targeted by Platypus?
There isn’t an official list, but some of the common mistakes that will be targeted include:
- Incorrect usage of “there,” “their” and “they’re”
- Using “me” as the subject of a sentence as opposed to “I”
- Using apostrophes to create plural words
- Using “affect” as a noun or “effect” as a verb
- Run-on sentences
- Comma splicing
- Overuse of TLAs (Three-letter acronyms)
Perhaps the biggest controversy surrounding Platypus is its seemingly irrational penalty for the overuse of exclamation points. Critics argue that this penalty is sexist, as it has been scientifically documented that women use this form of punctuation 7 times more frequently than men. A female representative from the New South Digital Marketing Conference, who wished to remain anonymous, has gone on record as saying “I know that one exclamation point is usually sufficient. But I enjoy being able to use three or more at a time. It portrays the fact that I am super excited about something.”
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer added to the firestorm by stating “I am a woman!!! If a company makes a change that penalizes me for my gender, I am not in favor of that!!!!!!” According to sources close to Marissa, Yahoo has no plans to penalize the overuse of exclamation points or any other punctuation for that matter.
Google has yet to comment on the criticism of Platypus.
On a slight side-note, Google had previously used the codename Platypus for it’s now defunct GDrive product, which was originally released in 2006. Google has wanted to reuse the name for several years and has often stated that they are committed to the success of Platypus, both the animal and the codename.