Thursday, May 23, 2013

Google Penguin 2.0 Update is Live

Webmasters have been watching for Penguin 2.0 to hit the Google search results since Google's Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts first announced that there would be the next generation of Penguin in March. Cutts officially announced that Penguin 2.0 is rolling out late Wednesday afternoon on "This Week in Google".
"It's gonna have a pretty big impact on web spam," Cutts said on the show. "It's a brand new generation of algorithms. The previous iteration of Penguin would essentinally only look at the home page of a site. The newer generation of Penguin goes much deeper and has a really big impact in certain small areas."
In a new blog post, Cutts added more details on Penguin 2.0, saying that the rollout is now complete and affects 2.3 percent of English-U.S. queries, and that it affects non-English queries as well. Cutts wrote:
We started rolling out the next generation of the Penguin webspam algorithm this afternoon (May 22, 2013), and the rollout is now complete. About 2.3% of English-US queries are affected to the degree that a regular user might notice. The change has also finished rolling out for other languages world-wide. The scope of Penguin varies by language, e.g. languages with more webspam will see more impact.
This is the fourth Penguin-related launch Google has done, but because this is an updated algorithm (not just a data refresh), we’ve been referring to this change as Penguin 2.0 internally. For more information on what SEOs should expect in the coming months, see the video that we recently released.
Webmasters first got a hint that the next generation of Penguin was imminent when back on May 10 Cutts said on Twitter, “we do expect to roll out Penguin 2.0 (next generation of Penguin) sometime in the next few weeks though.”
Matt Cutts Tweets About Google Penguin
Then in a Google Webmaster Help video, Cutts went into more detail on what Penguin 2.0 would bring, along with what new changes webmasters can expect over the coming months with regards to Google search results.
He detailed that the new Penguin was specifically going to target black hat spam, but would be a significantly larger impact on spam than the original Penguin and subsequent Penguin updates have had.
Twitter is full of people commenting on the new Penguin 2.0, and there should be more information in the coming hours and days as webmasters compare SERPs that have been affected and what kinds of spam specifically got targeted by this new update.
Let us know if you've seen any significant changes, or if the update has helped or hurt your traffic/rankings in the comments.

Matt Cutts Talks SEO for Google: 9 Things You Should Expect This Summer

The latest Google Webmaster video features Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts talking about what webmasters can expect to see in the next few months in terms of SEO for Google, particularly changes combating black hat web spam from many different angles in a variety of areas.
Here are nine search and SEO changes webmasters will likely see – although, as always, Cutts warns nothing is set in stone and it should be taken with a grain of salt.

1. Next Generation of Penguin – Penguin 2.0

This update is to try and target more black hat web spam. The new Penguin 2.0, which is the name Google uses internally for the next gen Penguin, will be much more comprehensive than Penguin 1.0 and it will go deeper and have a larger impact than the original.

2. Advertorials

Many advertorials (a.k.a., native advertising) violate Google's quality guidelines. More importantly, they should not flow PageRank.
Google is planning to be a lot stronger on their enforcement of these types of paid links and advertising, disguised as “advertorials”. Cutts did clarify there is nothing wrong with advertorials, simply that they don't want them to be abused for PageRank and linking reasons. If you use advertorials, Cutts suggested that they should be clearly marked and obvious that it is paid advertising.

3. “Payday Loans” in

Cutts mentioned that this is a problematic search, and there are others like it, so they are tackling it a couple of different ways. For those that play in that space, however, you're out of luck since Cutts isn't revealing exactly how they are dealing with it, just that it will be happening.
He said that they are targeting specific areas (another example he included was porn queries) that have traditionally been more spammy.

4. Devaluing Upstream Linking

Again, Cutts isn't going into details about this, but they are working on making link buying less effective and have a couple ideas for detailed link analysis to tackle this issue.

5. Hacked Sites

They want to roll out a next generation of hacked detection, as well as being able to notify webmasters better. They would like to be able to point webmasters to more specific information, such as whether they are dealing with malware or a hacked site, and to hopefully clean it up.

6. Authority

If Google's algorithms believe you or your site is an authority in a particular area, they want to make sure those sites rank a little bit higher than other sites.

7. Panda

They are looking for some additional signals for sites that are in the "gray area" or "border zone", and looking for other signals that suggest the site truly is high quality, so it will help those sites who have been previously impacted by Panda.

8. Changes to Cluster of Results From the Same Site

If you're doing deep searches in Google, and going back 5, 6 or more results pages deep, you can see the same site popping up with a cluster of results on those deep pages.
Google is looking into a change where once you have seen a cluster of results from the same site, you will be less likely to see more and more from that same site as you go deeper. Cutts mentioned this as being something that came specifically from user feedback.

9. More Information for Webmasters

Cutts said they want to be able to keep giving webmasters more specific and detailed information via webmaster tools. He mentions specifically example URLs to help webmasters diagnose problems on their site.
He believes that the changes will really make a difference with the quality of the search results, as well as impact the amount of spam that is showing up.

Bottom Line

Cutts says if you are focused on high quality content, you don't have much to worry about. But if you're dabbling in the black hat arts, you might have a busy summer.