PENGUIN – AN INTRODUCTION
Most of you must be familiar of Google Penguin – believed to be the search engine giant’s latest weapon to counter websites that deliberately violates Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Since the latest Google update Penguin 2.0 is on its way to hit soon; it is important for you to understand the basics of the update so that you stay clear of the black-hat SEO techniques such as keyword stuffing, cloaking, participating in link schemes, deliberate creation of duplicate content, etc. disapproved by Google – and save your website from being prone to fall in search engine rankings.
PENGUIN – THE STORY BEHIND
Google Penguin – code named for Google algorithm update was first announced on April 24, 2012 after weeks of speculation over Google’s strategy to penalize ‘Over-optimization’. Initially rolled out as ‘Webspam Update’, this was soon coined as Penguin. Its Penguin 1.0 impacted an estimated 3.1% of English queries by making adjustments to a number of spam factors, including keyword stuffing.
The next Google algorithm update, Penguin 1.1 (2nd Penguin Update) was rolled out exactly a month later in May, 2012 that impacted almost 0.1% of English language search queries. This was in fact believed to be Google’s first targeted data update after the “Penguin” algorithm update that was processed outside of the main search index.
Thereafter, was rolled out the Penguin’s third update Penguin 1.2 (3rd Penguin Update) in October 2012, believed to have impacted 0.3% of English language search queries.
Now, Google is all set to make the biggest splash ever with the soon-to-be-released Penguin 2.0 (Next Generation of Penguin, 4th Update) – in its effort to combat the burgeoning violations in its search engine policies with its main target being spamdexing (including link bombing). In short, the strategic goal of Google Penguin is to display higher quality websites at the top of Google’s search results.
So, are you ready to take the big blow? We will tell you what to expect from Penguin 2.0 and how you can save your website from the onslaught of the update.
WHAT WILL YOU EXPECT AND/OR HOW TO SAVE YOURSELF FROM PENGUIN 2.0?
Avoiding Advertorial Spam
Advertorial spam is an ‘unscrupulous’ search engine marketing technique that allows the selling of links or entire advertorial pages with embedded links of a nondescript website with the content of a prestigious website that pass PageRank. But with the advent of Penguin 2.0, selling links that pass PageRank will violate Google’s quality guidelines leading to consequences like losing trust in Google’s search results, reduction of the site’s visible PageRank in the Google Toolbar and lower rankings for that site in Google’s search results.
Ensure that no paid links on your site pass PageRank. Remove any paid links or advertorial pages (if any), or make sure that any paid hyperlinks have therel=”nofollow” attribute. You may later submit a ‘reconsideration request’ after ensuring that no paid links on your site pass PageRank.
Monitoring Spammy Queries
Penguin 2.0 is expected to come hard on the aspect of monitoring spammy queries. As elaborated by Google’s Head of Webspam, Matt Cutt; some websites in the pursuit of higher rankings or traffic use techniques (that don’t benefit users), with the intent to look for shortcurts of loopholes that would rank pages higher than they deserve to be ranked. This include all sorts of webspam techniques from keyword stuffing to link schemes – that attempt to thrust sites higher in rankings
Google is of the view that Penguin 2.0 holds no risk for all those who practice the so-called “white hat” SEO tactics.
Working upstream at Link Spammers
Google is expected to come down heavily in penalizing link spammers who still participate in quick and easy tactics of trying to deceitfully manipulate its search results. In its endeavor in working upstream at link spammers courtesy the previous Penguin updates, network after network has been hit by the paid link penalties besides resulting in a huge downgrade in ranking.
Avoid using short sighted SEO techniques like link networks because it is grossly unwise to build your rankings on networks of links that can be penalized within seconds by Google.
More Sophisticated Link Analysis
Google promises to come up with better and more sophisticated link analysis software with its next update, which one believes will be better at understanding links.
Concentrate on conducting link analysis that benefits your ranking
Improvements on Hacked sites
Google has been quite serious about its dealing with hacked sites and their index – specially labeling the search results of potentially hacked sites, removing those sites from search engine rankings and also warnings webmasters about the hack.
It’s your responsibility as site owner to ensure that your site isn’t spammy. But, in all eventualities of your site being hacked or getting spammy, Penguin 2.0 is sure to remove your site, but with an alert message via Google webmaster console and even by emailing you about the hack and the consequent removal of the site.
Authority Boost in Algorithm
Google is said to be working on an algorithm to give authorities in in any specific space – medical, travel, education, etc. a ranking boost for being that authority i.e. rank those a little more highly. While Google tried to do this earlier within Google News, Penguin 2.0 is contemplating trying to determine subject authorities within Web search.
You can benefit from this algorithm by posting quality content on your website that is informative, with comprehensive data and one that is factually correct, to ensure your authority boost.
Moderating the Impact of the Panda
One of the major changes expected Penguin 2.0 update is moderating the impact of the Panda algorithm for sites that are in the “gray area” or “border” of being impacted by the Panda algorithm. While Google has succeeded to help refine things for sites that are kind of in the border zone, some additional signals of quality will definitely help sites that were previously affected.
But it still requires to be seen if at all the sites will benefit in ranking after the Panda algorithm is softened. Let’s wait and watch.
Domain Clusters in SERPs
A reduction in the number of clusters of the same domain name showing on the first page of Google’s search is expected this year. While Penguin 2.0 promises to make the search results on the first page even more diverse; in all likelihood you may see clustered results from the same domain name there too when you click to the second results page.
Google is persistently tweaking as to how many search results from the same domain name are showing up on a single page of search results.
Enhanced Webmaster Communication
Google, as always is working towards enhancing their communication with webmasters. With the Penguin 2.0, you can now expect even more detailed examples within webmaster notifications that are received within Google Webmaster Tools.
Enhanced webmaster communication will reduce the number of ‘black hat’ webmasters from showing up, while giving smaller businesses resorting to white hat SEO techniques, the opportunity to rank better.
I hope the aforementioned discussion on what to expect from Penguin 2.0 in the coming weeks will surely help you to introspect on your current status and pull out a viable SEO strategy. This will not only help you align with the new Google algorithm update, but also ensure that you benefit in improving your search engine rankings, while take preventive actions of minimizing the risk of being penalized or downgraded in rankings.