*** Read what’s new on the Penguin Algorithm as of 11/26/2015 here.
Matt Cutts announced the release of Penguin 2.0 update on his blog. The update is technically Penguin 4, it being the fourth update of Penguin since it was first launched, but it is internally called Penguin 2.0 because this newly launched update is major and not just a data refresh like the previous two. This new generation algorithm features advanced spam-fighting technology that goes deeper into analyzing web pages and denies black hat and link spammers credit.
According to Cutts, the update will affect 2.3% of English queries. Penguin 2.0 has also been rolled out internationally, and the amount of websites affected will depend on how much spam exists for each specific language.
Aggressive Campaign Against Spam
Cutts explained in an earlier video released by Google what to expect with Penguin 2.0 and the future of SEO. He was very clear about one thing: Google will be more aggressive with catching and discrediting spam.
Among the things that Penguin 2.0 will be targeting are the following:
- Spammy queries: Google will look into queries that can be contested as spam and be stricter with these. The examples Cutts gave in the video are “payday loans” and pornographic-related queries, which were not subject to scrutiny before.
- Link spammers and link networks: Google wants to go “upstream” with deterring link spammers by discrediting the value of the links they got from different spammy sources, and denying credit for those they will acquire from similar sources in the future.
- Advertorials: Cutts made it clear that while advertorials are a perfectly legitimate way of promoting different products and services, they should still follow Google’s prescribed guidelines. Advertorials should not float PageRank, and they should have clear and conspicuous labels that tell visitors they are paid advertisements and not organic. Penguin 2.0 will evolve to discredit websites that use advertorials to artificially inflate their link profiles.
More Sophisticated Link Analysis
Penguin 2.0 will continue Google’s promise of improving their link analysis feature. Cutts says this is still in its early stages, and that we will see more improvements in the coming months, but some of the features he discussed already show the beginning of a more sophisticated link analysis solution:
- Authority Boost
Penguin 2.0 will be more thorough with identifying which sites are authorities in specific niches. The updated algorithm will check the content of each site more thoroughly and examine the link profiles more carefully, checking for different trust signals that show they are the authority figure for that particular industry. These sites will receive more credit and eventually rank higher in the SERPs.
- Improved Hacked Site Detection
In addition to fighting spam, Penguin 2.0 also detects hacked sites more accurately and works with Google Webmaster Tools to warn webmasters about the attacks. Once the algorithm identifies a website as potentially hacked, Google will apply a label on its SERPs listing. Google is currently working on integrating this advanced hack detection feature into their Webmaster tool.
- Softening the Panda Blow
Whenever Google updates Penguin, they include improvements that give borderline websites the credit they lose whenever there are Panda updates. Penguin 2.0 is expected to include more ways of giving these borderline sites credit through checking other quality metrics present.
What This Means for You
Penguin 2.0 is designed to get you to produce more quality content and consider their audience carefully. Practices frowned upon by Google may have gotten away in the past, but Google will continue to modify their algorithms to zero in on spammers. The algorithm update also comes one step closer to mimicking human behavior when judging the quality of websites.
Cutts stated in the video released earlier this month:
“In terms of what you should be working on, we try to make sure that that is pretty constant and uniform. We’re trying to make sure that you make a great site that users love, that you want to tell your friends about, bookmark, come back to, visit over and over again, all the things that make a site compelling. We try to make sure that if that’s your goal, we’re aligned with that goal, and therefore, as long as you’re working hard for users, we’re working hard to show your high quality content to users as well.”
Our partners need not worry about their websites being affected by Penguin 2.0 because we consistently update our methodology in anticipation of such updates. We’ve followed Google’s quality guidelines from the beginning to ensure that you stay visible through any algorithmic updates. Our quality content-driven methodology has been proven to give you the results your clients want, and this latest Penguin update only affirms that we are going in the right direction towards improving our services.
If you’re not yet our partner, and you notice changes in your campaigns, we’d be happy to help you. Just sign up for free and an account manager will get in touch with you to discuss how you can regain and retain your rankings through major algorithm updates.