The rollout of Google’s latest Penguin webspam algorithm update, Penguin 2.0, officially hit the search results late afternoon, Wednesday 5/22/13. Matt Cutts, Google’s head webspam fighter, says the update will impact about 2.3% of English-US search queries to a noticeable degree.
Here’s a summary of what you can expect both from this Penguin update and other Google initiatives in the coming months, according to Cutts:
If there is one point to take away from all of these Google updates, it’s this: Google says they will always be aligned with websites that genuinely create a great site that users love, want to tell their friends about, want to bookmark, and visit over and over again. If that’s your goal and you’re working hard for users, Google says it’s on your side. Penguin is here to fight webspam, not content marketing/SEO. This may be all you need to know.
And consider these points:
To reiterate, Google is dedicated to finding black hat webspam and trying to address it. Cutts explains Penguin 2.0 goes a bit deeper into this mission. For example, they’re looking at advertorials and other paid coverage or ads to ensure those ads do not pass page rank. (Not that there’s anything wrong with paid coverage; Google just doesn’t want it to float page rank.) Google is working on that so if you’re overly reliant on paid coverage you may feel the effects of this effort.
There are also changes coming up to tackle general queries and some of the more “spammy” or spam-contested types of queries (adult sites, for example).
Google is also working on a more sophisticated link analysis system which will go upstream to deny value to link spammers.
They also continue to work on hacked sites to better detect them and also to communicate more effectively to webmasters so web owners who are not serving up malware but instead have been innocently hacked can resolve the issues.
Also according to Cutts, Google has been working on additional ways to help webmasters by doing a better job of identifying who is an authority in a particular space and trying to get those sites to rank higher.
Google has also been looking at Panda to refine the effect for sites that are on the borderline. Perhaps giving certain sites the benefit of the doubt?
Finally, Google is also working to address “cluster results,” in which you may be less likely to see the same site on a cluster of results. (This could definitely make things interesting.)
It’s a good time to remember this quote from Cutts over one year ago: “We want people doing white hat search engine optimization (or even no search engine optimization at all) to be free to focus on creating amazing, compelling web sites.”
P.S. Watch the video from Matt Cutts here: What to expect in SEO in the coming months