Penguin 2.0 Officially Launched
Back in early May Matt Cutts, the head of spam for Google announced that a new Penguin update would be released within the next couple weeks. Well Penguin 2.0 is now officially live within the Google search.
Matt Cutts announced via his blog that earlier today Penguin 2.0 was released. This is a full update and not just a data refresh. The update is now complete and about 2.3% of all English Queries have been affected.
This is the fourth related Google Penguin related launch since it first appeared back in April 2012.
What is the Penguin?
If you are not aware of Penguin you might want to familiarize yourself with it. The Penguin update is targeted on black hat SEO techniques used to game the search engines and boost rankings within Google’s index. Some of these techniques include; cloaking, participating in link schemes, deliberate creation of duplicate content among other things against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
What can I do if my site dropped?
If your site has dropped you should first analyze if it was because of this change or because of another algorithm change that caused the drop. If you have dropped 10’s of pages back chances are this algorithm hit your site and you should look at everything from your on page content, to your backlink profile. Algorithms change all of the time so if you only dropped a few spots chances are it is simply caused by other sites matching with the algorithm better. Everything is truly hard to analyze until the dust settles.
How can I make sure I am not affected by these changes?
There is truly no way to guarantee you will not be affected by any algorithm any search engine adopts. The best thing to do is make sure your content is relevant, your site is user friendly, indexable by the SE’s, be cautious about links and be careful about duplicate content issues.
The search engines want information their user finds relevant. The best thing to do in my opinion is stop worrying about the search engines (though that may sound crazy, the more you worry about your customers and stick to the basics, the better your rankings will organically come. The more you stress rankings the more likely you are to do something that could hurt you later down the road). Start focusing on fresh content. I know this has been said a million times but as these updates continue and new algorithms are created relevant content will become more and more useful to your users and the SE’s. Starting a blog talking about your experience in your field is an easy way to make sure you can have fresh content on your site. This also helps your target long tail keywords that may not call for a whole page of content. Once your blog is created share the information on your social networks.
Keep in mind no search engine owes you anything. They will always try to place the most relevant information to their users so they can stay ahead of the game. While some sites may be collateral damage for the most part the algorithms the search engines create are effective for the purpose they were created, them and their users.
When you lose rankings in the SE’s all of us think our site is better and more useful for the user. While in some cases that may be true. Think about this for a second; Google and other search engines are pretty smart, and Google has some of the smartest people in the world working for them. When they make these changes they are not out to hurt your business, they are out to make theirs stronger by providing the information they feel their user wants. This is the reason I believe they tell website owners and webmasters to create information that will benefit a consumer. If you do that, you should see growth in your online market share. It doesn’t happen overnight and can take time for Google and other SE’s to trust you, but once you prove your value in your niche you should be rewarded.
For more information about this update please visit Matt Cutts Blog about Penguin 2.0