SEO Expert Nick Garner on Google Ecosystem, Panda & Penguin Updates Defined – Part I

SEO Expert Nick Garner believes that Google is after one thing and one thing only…making money.


The goal of the notorious Google updates are to shift search results in a way to improve user experience and also allow Google to operate as the middle man and drive traffic to adwords.

Therefore, the goal of every Google update is to make more money.

Nick Garner, Head of Search for Unibet

Just about anyone who has an internet connection is affected by Google updates as they are released, but its affiliate or “middle man” sites are the ones that have felt the most pain after the latest Panda and Penguin updates.

The Panda update was all about duplicate content and nailed larger sites with many pages, so the casualties in affiliate land were minimal. The real killer for smaller affiliate sites was the Penguin update that zeroed-in on link profiles and penalized sites that were over-optimizing, using “artificial links” and other link building techniques that Google doesn’t approve of.

So why have affiliates sites become the bullseye of the update casualties this time?

Affiliates are the middle men!” explains Garner, “The big effort here is to push out spammy sites – Google wants them out of the ecosystem”. An ecosystem that makes Google money through adwords, that is.

Further proof that Google is getting better and better at funneling traffic through adwords is the fact that their market share has been fairly steady in the UK, yet their revenue is growing 35% year on year in this market.

The explanation for this massive increase in revenue? Google is successfully pushing out the middle men.

Garner also points out that even if Google search results aren’t the most user friendly when compared to other search engines, Google has done a great job of branding themselves and people love the brand.

“Google has been super clever in building a massive brand halo around the search engine- Android, Google+, Google Docs, Google Maps, Gmail…Google will sacrifice search quality for money and users won’t leave because of all the other things going on at Google”, explains Garner.

Google does like forums and review sites, however. The “Zero Moment of Truth” or ZMOT concept has proven that users now investigate on average 11 sources before deciding on which product to purchase. Seeing as internet users these days are very savvy and can navigate the internet like a second language, users can spot “bullshit” a mile away. This is where forums and review sites come into play…and Google hopes that the user will reach their product of choice through adwords which, of course, makes them more money.