Nothing that Google has said, ever, has changed with the Panda or Penguin update.
To rank on Google should be as simple as this:
1. Good quality website (w3c.org compliance)
2. Good quality, original, new and fresh content
Google Panda and Penguin is wrong however regarding inbound links and spam pages with links to your page: Inbound links to your website should not penalise you as this is an easy way for anyone that wishes to harm you, to hurt you.
Google has always given inbound links too high a value in their search results, inbound links should carry the weight of the referring page, as it does and pages found to be selling links or doing any other evil things, should be punished and lose their value, as it is happening now anyway. Inbound links, in my opinion, should not carry the amount of weight that it does now and Google should rather develop other ways of discovering fresh, exciting and relevant content. Again, as Google is doing already anyway.
Readability of text, quality of design, Coleman Liau index, Flesch Kincaid Grade Level, ARI (Automated Readability Index), SMOG and most importantly w3c.org and other standards compliance, are the most important factors.
There are many opinions about the latest Google update to it’s search engine called Penguin. The opinions range from ‘killed small business’ to ‘the next Google update will undo some damage caused by Penguin’ these comments coming mostly from many that are heavily invested in SEO in one way or another. What negative comments all have in common is that they are not looking at the Google update holistically.
It is quite obvious that Google has cleaned, and is cleaning, lots of webspam from it’s search indexes. After looking at the new Google search results, after the Penguin update, it is quite clear that Google is improving search results and the Penguin update is obviously a winner.
Want better visibility in the Google index? Then make better content, build a brand, be popular and rule the world.
Read more about the Google Penguin update from Google Written by Matt Cutts.
Matt Cutts, Distinguished Engineer at Google has also written much about webspam in the past, and nothing has changed much over the years, except that the great people that work at Google has consistently been working very hard to create the very best search experience and at no cost to any user. Well done guys and gals 🙂