On May 22, 2013, Google rolled out another change to its search ranking algorithm. This update goes deeper than Penguin 1.0 which was released to catch sites that were deemed to be spamming search results by buying links or obtaining them through link networks that were designed to boost rankings in Google. The latest algorithm update is referred to as Penguin 2.0. It continues to target web spammers.
Penguin 2.0 in greater detail
Approximately 2.3% of English-US queries were affected by the 2.0 algorithm change. And, according to searchengineland, 2.0’s biggest losers were porn sites, game sites and a few big brand names including the Salvation Army, Dish.com, CheapOAir and the Education Testing Service (ETS).
Penguin 2.0 is really focusing on cleaning up the still spammy areas of the web so that more relevant searches show in the SERPs. And, as discussed by Matt Cutts in his video update regarding the algorithm change, paid ads will also no longer be able to float page rank. Furthermore, so as not to incur penalties, paid ads need to be made clear so that users don’t think they are organic or editorial.
You can watch the full video summary from Googler Matt Cutts here:
How to avoid a Penguin penalty
As a whole, the Penguin updates target those webmasters/sites that are undertaking spammy linkbuilding practices and other black-hat SEO practices.
A few things that could incur a penguin penalty or ‘penguin slap’ (as they have been dubbed) include engaging in any of the following practices:
- Keyword stuffing
- Excessive anchor-text rich links
- Over done on-page search engine optimization
- Low quality content
- Poor social signals (no one is sharing/linking to your content/site)
- Spun content and duplicate content
Things you should be working on:
Making a great site users will love, bookmark and come to time and time again. Matt cuts says, ‘if that’s your goal, we’re aligned with your goal’.
So continue to:
- Write quality content that gets shared because it is human, useful and interesting
- Attract NATURAL links to you content
- Encourage engagement on your site and off-site about your site. This may mean creating your own content strategy and focus on taking a PR approach to promoting your site – get it mentioned for natural reasons.
- Undertake white-hat SEO practices. Be good and the Google will be good back.
Hold on just one second!
If you’ve seen a spammy site that still has a high-ranking position, you can finally do something about it. Google has posted a form that allows you to report/submit links of sites that need to be reviewed for black hat SEO tactics.
Need more help?
If you think you’ve been Penguin slapped or if you’re worried about your current SEO practices, get in touch with Xanthos. We will be able to guide you in the right direction to ensure top-ranking results.