Google Launches Penguin 2.0, Plans More Changes for the Future
Penguin 2.0. SEO changes you need to know!
Google’s war against spam and “black hat” SEO techniques continued last month with the long-awaited launch of the Penguin 2.0 algorithm update.
Matt Cutts, Head of the webspam team at Google, announced the roll out via his official blog, stating that:
“We started rolling out the next generation of the Penguin webspam algorithm this afternoon (May 22, 2013), and the rollout is now complete. About 2.3% of English-US queries are affected to the degree that a regular user might notice. The change has also finished rolling out for other languages world-wide. The scope of Penguin varies by language, e.g. languages with more webspam will see more impact.”
Webmasters who come across any specific spam sites will now also be able to report these directly to Google using the new Penguin Spam Report form.
However, the majority of websites taking an algorithm hit will not be huge (with most penalties related to sites like gaming sites and porn sites, according to Search Engine Land) and it seems that the impact is much less enormous than many SEO professionals may have originally feared.
Sites that have received penalties or experienced a drop in rankings may very well have seen it coming, especially if “black hat” SEO services have been on the table.
Cutts also posted a video a few weeks back, which we’ve included here, to provide webmasters and other professionals working in SEO with a clearer (though very general) idea of what changes we can expect from Google and its associated algorithm updates.
Here’s the gist of what Cutts had to say:
- Google is making a continued effort to prompt business owners and webmasters to create compelling, high quality sites that positively impact the user experience, instead of trying to manipulate search engines via webspam.
SEO Agency Tip: It goes without saying that all sites should aim for high quality, but many professionals need to realise this means more than just quality SEO copywriting. Instead, you’ll need to assess the link profile of their website and consider if other low quality links or exact match anchor text might be affecting your rankings.
- Link spammers and hack sites will be further targeted and the new changes will hopefully de-value link spam and uncover hack sites more effectively. Any sites promoting this will be pushed further down the ladder of search results.
SEO Agency Tip: If you’re smart, you’ll stay away from link spamming and hack sites altogether. Concentrate on building your links organically.
- Paid advertising that violates Google’s quality guidelines will also be targeted, to make sure that these adverts do not affect or pass Page Rank and search engine rankings.
SEO Agency Tip: If you are engaging in paid advertising, you should utilise “no-follow” functions and it should be overtly clear to users that your content is sponsored (i.e. they shouldn’t have to go looking for the fine print).
- Google is also trying to give more credence and rankings to websites or pages with a higher authority in certain niche areas to ensure these show up in top results for users.
SEO Agency Tip: Matt doesn’t elaborate on how this credibility will be established, but we can guess it has something to do with Google Plus and Google Authorship . Getting yourself set up with Authorship sooner rather than later will benefit you down the track, especially as Google focuses more and more on this area.
- More information and tools will hopefully be made available for webmasters and SEO experts who take an update ‘hit’ and need reliable tools and diagnoses to determine how to fix their sites.
SEO Agency Tip: This is useful on Google’s part, but it means you also need a stronger game plan if your site has been penalised by Penguin 2.0 (or another update). A good place to start might be with your link profile and your on-page content.
If you did notice any changes to your rankings or website traffic following Penguin 2.0, the problem could be related to any number of issues, but it is most likely due to:
- Poor quality inbound or outbound links that Google has recognised as spam
- Overuse of exact match anchor text links on your pages or evidence of keyword stuffing and abuse
- Exact match anchor text links that are paid links; this is one step up from keyword misuse and something that Penguin is specifically targeting with the new algorithm
- Spam in your comments
If you feel that your site is supporting any of these problems, you will need to investigate your entire site, not only the home page, as the Penguin 2.0 update has been customised to target all sub-pages as well.
Lost your rankings? For further advice on how to recover from Penguin 2.0 or another Google change, contact us on 1300 SEO AGENCY
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