Last week Matt Cutts announced the impending Google algorithm update Penguin 2.0. As usual, I waited the week to respond here while SEO’s frantically flooded online forums for days as if reporting on the arrival of Godzilla on their mainland metropolis. Now that the initial panic has subsided I figured it time to chime in on Penguin 2.0.
In simple form, Penguin is a Google web spam algorithm update that seeks to uncover “blackhat” SEO practices. While Google stresses that there is nothing to worry about for anyone managing a website under their guidelines of providing the best possible user experience, Matt Cutts is quoted as saying that an “eventful summer” is coming for those that do not. If you’re so much as exchanging conversations in blackhat forums you may indeed expect the arrival of Godzilla on your shores. For the rest of us doing the right thing, we’ll be riding the wave towards better Page Rank.
Are you in for an Eventful Summer? Find out by reviewing Penguin 2.0:
1. A Bigger Wave
While the initial Google Penguin updates were somewhat less dramatic as Google tested the waters by wading in slowly, Penguin 2.0 will have more of a comprehensive impact. The way Google sees it everyone has been warned well in advance. The time for leniency has passed. Those that grinned while Penguin 1.0 left them and their blackhats untouched over the last year may not be so lucky in the summer of 2013.
2. Bad Backlinks Will Drown
Penguin 2.0 will include “more sophisticated link analysis”. Websites with an SEO strategy that depends upon buying up as many links as possible on website directories and other sites offering a bed for a buck will be sent packing. Whatever Page Rank they had will be left on the curb next to a pile of keywords that they once achieved great Google search results for. If your SEO has steered you wrong with bad backlinks you will need to remove them from these types of online link building resources:
- Generic directories (not related to your industry)
- Foreign link farms
- Low quality article submission websites (websites that allow submissions of articles stuffed with anchor text pointing to client websites)
3. Advertorials & Native Advertising Kept Out of the Lineup
One of the more explicit targets of Penguin 2.0 includes advertorials and native advertising articles. Google has no inherent problem with advertorials, they indeed serve their place in marketing strategy, but Google will not allow them to receive any Page Rank benefit. Refer to this article about how Inflora (flower delivery service) and UK newspapers received a stern warning from Google on the matter. Google also demands that all advertorials include very clear disclaimers so that readers do not mistake them for non-bias content.
4. Spammy Words Are Shark Bait
Traditionally spammy keywords such as “payday loans”, “porn”, and “online poker” are shark bait for Google’s Penguin 2.0 update. If you manage a website that is actually involved in the above, it is more important than ever to ensure that you follow Google’s content quality and link building guidelines. Websites with inherently spammy keywords need to be wary of Penguin 2.0 more than any.
5. Content Specific Sites Will Swim Easily
Penguin 2.0 is also focused on detecting strong authorities for specific niches and passing Page Rank to them. If your website provides frequently updated, useful, and original content in an easy to consume format for a specific industry (e.g. travel, local real estate, etc…) you will be rewarded for your efforts.
6. No More Domain Clustering on the Shores of Google Page One
Penguin 2.0 seeks to remove domain clustering. Domain clustering is when you see the same website (with various URL extensions) rank more than once on Page One for a keyword search. You can see this with websites like TripAdvisor if you were to search for hotel reviews in your city.
7. Google Plans on Being a Better Lifeguard
Google also plans to improve their own service to webmasters by providing better online tools and communication support to diagnose and treat their website in the event that there is cause for concern (e.g. potentially hacks, wrongful penalties, etc…).
All in all, Google continues to state that anyone managing a website that places the user experience above all else has nothing to worry about with each algorithm update, Penguin 2.0 or otherwise. The general message of the updates for the season ahead is that Google intends to help small to medium businesses and webmasters in general manage their online presence. For those that fail to be mindful of their recommendations (read: warnings), well, an eventful summer is truly on the way.
Want to view the Penguin 2.0 announcement for yourself? Spend 7 minutes with Matt Cutts, Google’s Big Kahuna, here: