Penguin 2.0: Launching the Fourth Penguin Update
Penguin 2.0 has just been launched as announced by Matt Cutts in the afternoon of May 22. Penguin 2.0 is the fourth Penguin-related launch that Google has done. With this, webmasters and SEOs can expect major changes to the search results. Matt emphasized that about 2.3% English queries will be noticeable impacted by this update. “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.” Cutts had written in his blog.
As with every developments, the first thing that always come to mind is what changes will accompany it. Since Penguin 2.0 has just launched, the SEO community’s collective knowledge is still, at best, limited. New data may be revealed after a series of test but at this point, one can only guess at the impact of the newest Penguin development. Before we move on to speculations, let us first dissect the facts leading to the update along with the things that we’ve managed to learn from Penguin 1.0.
What exactly is Penguin 2.0?
Google’s initial Penguin update originally rolled out in April 2012 which was then followed by two data refreshes last year, first in May and the second one in October.
According to Matt Cutts, the new version of Penguin is primarily designed to penalize websites that utilize black hat SEO techniques and reward websites that offer genuine value. The ultimate goal is to cut back on link spamming and hacking, while providing webmasters with the tools to fix hacked sites. Penguin 2.0 aims to help small to mid-sized business that play by the rules and avoids black hat SEO.
Changes You Can Expect with Penguin 2.0
1. Bad news for black hat web spam. Naturally. The next generation Penguin is, after all, more comprehensive than Penguin 1.0 and it will go deeper and have larger impact than the original.
2. Enforcement of guidelines against advertorials. Cutts emphasized that there is nothing exactly wrong with advertorials. It’s just that they don’t want them to be abused for PageRank and linking reasons. So if you are using advertorials, it is recommended that you clearly mark them and that it should be obvious that it is paid advertising.
3. Problematic searches. An example that Cutts particularly gave was regarding porn queries. Unfortunately for those who are in this gap though, Cutts isn’t revealing how they’re dealing with it, just the fact that it will be happening.
4. Devaluing Upstream Linking. Just like in the previous number, there are no specifics regarding this change. But you can be certain that Google is working on making link buying less effective. They also have a couple of ideas for detailed link analysis to tackle this issue.
5. Hacked Sites. Hack detection will be improved and strengthened. Google is looking for ways to let webmasters have access to more specific information to determine whether they are dealing with malware or a hacked site and provide them means to clean it up.
6. Authority. If Google’s algorithms believe you or your site is an authority in a particular area, they want to make sure those sites rank a little bit higher than other sites.
7. Panda. As I’ve already mentioned, the new generation Penguin aims to help small businesses that play by the rules and hopefully, those sites who have previously been impacted by Panda.
8. Cluster of Results. Google is looking into a change where once you have seen a cluster of results from the same site, you will be less likely to see more and more from that same site as you go deeper.
9. Information for Webmasters. As Cutt had said, Google wants to be able to give webmasters more information that is detailed and relevant through webmaster tools.
If you are among those severely affected with the changes, don’t despair. The situation isn’t totally irreversible. There are still certain things that you can do. You just need to work a little harder and be a little bit more diligent.
Once again, there are changes. And you can be sure that this won’t be the last. But the bottom line really is that if your site is focused on high quality content and uses white hat SEO, then you don’t really have to worry about anything. Nice sites don’t finish last.