In the continuing struggle to make searching for sites more human and more relevant, Google released its latest update on April 24 2012. Code named Penguin, it penalises sites that violate Google's guidelines by using techniques such as keyword stuffing, link schemes, duplicated content and other tricks to improve their rankings.
Penguin is good news for quality sites that have relevant content and deserve to be found. The elements of your site don't need to change, they just need different strategies. Now more than ever before, it's all about quality and currency.
The old days of "more is better" have been pushed aside, replaced with "the right amount is better". Content, links, and social signals must be natural and at a high level without seeming manufactured.
It's not a numbers game. It's a quality game. You get more out of a single trusted and relevant inbound link than a hundred low-quality links. Anchor text must be varied; keyword hunting under Penguin can have the exact opposite effect.
Posting unique and relevant content has been in play since well before Penguin, but it's clearly punctuated now. Write for the visitors. Bring them value. Google can tell the difference between content written for rankings and content written for humans.
The emphasis might be on the changes but don't forget the basics. Sitemaps. Internal linking. Title tags. Microformats. These all continue to play a role in rankings and should not be neglected.
Social signals have the most immediate impact on search rankings. Getting Google + 1s, retweets, and Facebook likes on the site and on attached social profiles is extremely effective.