The next generation of the Google Penguin Update (2.0) was rolled out on May 22, 2013. As was the case for many other algorithm updates, some people were rejoicing, others were holding their breath and everyone who had a stake in what happened was watching closely. As a side note, it is amazing to see how far Google has come as a company and to realize how many professionals whose livelihoods are attached to what this business does and the decisions that it makes. It’s hard to imagine that a little over a decade ago, this company didn’t exist, and today it has become a leader in online advertising. But I digress. The update, yes, the update. Google Penguin 2.0 is the next iteration that goes deeper into fighting black-hat web spam, and it offers a more comprehensive approach to that end goal.
What Does the Google Penguin Update 2.0 do?
This update is not a data refresh, and it is expected to go a little deeper than the original Penguin update. So, what does that mean, exactly? To understand what Google is going after, you have to understand where they come from as a company. Google’s original and unofficial mantra has always been to not be evil. While their views on corporate culture may have been augmented following their rapid rise to success, users remain a core focus for the company. That being true, they listen to when people are having problems or when things are happening that are negative (as it relates to Google’s search engine or other products).
The first Penguin update focused on the home pages of websites, and when Matt Cutts officially announced the launch of Penguin 2.0 on This Week in Google, he claimed that the algorithm would go deeper into websites to fight spam. While much of the detail remains elusive, Cutts explains that this is the next generation of algorithm updates, and it is designed to have a large impact on black-hat web spam.
Other Things to Expect for SEO
Google also released a video with their head of web spam explaining other changes besides the Google Penguin update 2.0.
Here, Cutts explains that Google is working harder to go after web spammers in niches that have traditionally been wrought with abuse like payday loans, for example. A notable change is that the company is working harder to communicate with web masters. I’m not sure if you have ever tried to get in contact with Google about a hacked site or malware or for any other reason not associated with spending money, but it can be a tedious process.
Google is also trying to become better at recognizing when someone is an authority in a particular area. Maybe someone publishes a lot of content on SEO that people interact with heavily. Maybe it’s something to do with cooking. Whatever the case may be, search results may be affected if someone is an authority in that niche. Cutts does not allude to what criteria might be used to determine those facts. One of the most powerful things he says in the video is that by the end of the summer, black-hat spammers are less likely to show up in results.
Why should you care?
In my view, there are basically two camps. Those who care about the algorithm update and what it means for their businesses or activities in general, and those who don’t care because they weren’t doing anything that would cause them to lose rankings. That is the one key takeaway from any press release, video or public comments from Google pertaining to algorithm updates. If you were making a great website, making great content, writing for users and, in general, focusing on building your business and not your rankings, then you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. If, on the other hand, you were cutting corners, gaming the system, taking the easy way out and putting low quality content out there, you will be very busy this summer reorganizing your strategy.
Have you been affected by the new Penguin update? Were you doing anything that could have caused you to lose rankings? Join in the conversation by commenting below.