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Google Penguin vs. Google Penguin 2.0

Background

One of the reason’s Google has become the dominant search engine is through their continued fight against attempts to manipulate its ranking signals through link farms, paid links and other forms of link spam.

In April 2012, Google launched the “Penguin Update,” thought by many to be the most significant algorithm update to combat false signals in its ranking algorithm, specifically the web spam backlinks that attempt to game the system by presenting false quality signals to Google’s ranking algorithm.

On Thursday May 23, 2013, Google launched Penguin 2.0 — the first major algorithm update to Penguin.

How it Works

The first Google Penguin sought to identify webspam and decrease the rankings for sites that they believed were violating Google’s quality guidelines. Upon launch, this update affected more than 600 million queries. As Penguin proved successful, Google expanded the update to include even more queries.

In conjunction with this update, Google launched advanced webmaster messaging to better communicate with site owners if their websites are in danger of becoming removed from the index due to ill-gotten links. A “Disavow Link” tool for webmasters was also launched to help webmasters dissociate their sites from identified spam links.

After more than a year of algorithm tweaks, Google announced they were releasing the next generation Penguin update that would go much deeper than the original Penguin update. Whereas the first Penguin update focused more on webspam directed towards homepages, Penguin 2.0 broadened the attack against spammy links toward entire sites. Penguin 2.0 will affect many more SEOs and webmasters than the first generation version. Sites that were affected negatively by the first Penguin update were probably hit even harder by Penguin 2.0.

Resolution POV

  1. Short cuts often do not provide long-term benefit. Many SEO efforts, including link building and creating original content, are time-consuming and can take weeks to implement. Many webmasters who sought quick-hit solutions found themselves heavily punished by Google upon the release of Penguin and Penguin 2.0. It has been proven to be a far more scalable, effective and long-term strategy to employ a strategy that adheres to Google’s quality guidelines.
  2. Content remains king. One of the most effective strategies to remain “valuable” in Google’s eyes is to provide fresh, original content consistently. More content means more organic links to your content. If Google sees that there’s genuine interested in your original content through links, they’ll rank your site higher.
  3. Determine your own fate. As part of Penguin 2.0, Google released a form to report spammy sites that Penguin missed. It’s more important than ever to make sure that someone is monitoring webmaster tools for unnatural link messages from Google. Any abnormal links clearly violating Google’s guidelines should be reported.

Summary

To improve a website’s position in search engines, the optimizer should seek to create high value content and syndicate that content to creators in conjunction with Google’s quality guidelines. This is more important than ever with the Penguin update that eliminated a lot of spammy content from Google’s search results. At Resolution, our approach has always been and will be ethical in nature and firmly within Google and other search engine’s best practice recommendations.

For more information, visit the resources below:

  1. Launch announcement from Google (4.24.2012)
  2. How WPMU.org Recovered from Penguin (3.28.2012)
  3. Google Quality Guidelines
  4. Search Engine Land Recap of Disavow Link Tools (10.16.2012)
  5. Penguin Spam Report (5.23.2013)
  6. Penguin 2.0 launch announcement from Matt Cutts (5.22.2013)