On May 22, 2013, Google updated its Penguin algorithm to a new standard: Penguin 2.0(or Penguin 4). The idea behind Penguin is to drive sites with low quality content and links down in search rankings while also identifying websites worthy of being on the first page of search results.
The original Google Penguin came out in the spring of 2012 as a revamped version of Google Panda which had the same end goal of quality link building and supporting helpful websites.
The Penguin 2.0 refresh mainly focuses on taking the screening process a step further. Sites using black hat SEO techniques are now more accurately detected and dealt with, while websites offering helpful content and genuine links are rewarded for it.
Previous iterations of Google’s analytic algorithms have occasionally penalized legitimate sites because of what appears to be improper link building tactics. Link spamming, duplicate content, keyword stuffing and concealing, etc. is all targeted by Penguin 2.0, and now inbound and outbound links will affect website rankings and legitimacy ratings. The new algorithm also addresses links to more than just the home page. Sub-pages will be searched thoroughly with the new system and can’t be used to avoid screening.
Not all of Penguin 2.0 is negative, however. Webmasters who use white hat SEO techniques, and provide high quality content on site will be found and separated from the rest. Building links to reputable websites and providing a “good neighborhood” for your site is vital to rank well. By Getting Started on Google Analytics, you can start tracking the true quality of your links.
With the introduction of Penguin 2.0, SEO agencies must be aware that black hat SEO is becoming less and less viable as an option for promoting a website. Search engines are being worked on everyday to prevent spammers from flooding the Internet with useless links and information.
What Should I be Doing Now?
There are a few things you should look into doing to make sure that Penguin 2.0 doesn’t affect your website in a negative manner:
- Identify and remove any links to low quality, or “thin” websites
- Track all inbound and outbound links to ensure a “good neighborhood”
- Remove any signs of black hat SEO
- Avoid links that are irrelevant to your home site
- Avoid duplicate content
- Make sure you are publishing relevant and current information
In the end, most users have nothing to fear from Penguin 2.0. Sites that are being hit the hardest are those with adult, gambling, or offensive content. Providing up-to-date, helpful content is a surefire way of increasing traffic to a website.