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Google changes the rules of SEO, once again with Penguin 2.0

Google did it again, and this time they’re calling it Penguin 2.0. As the leading source of valuable information for everyday Internet users, Google must ensure their search results display legitimate and relevant information. To do this, they’re constantly tweaking their definition of high-quality websites, while sending businesses invested in SEO marketing scrambling to adjust accordingly. Quality websites are rewarded with high search visibility and low quality, or spammy, websites are punished with lower and lower search rankings. In other words, Google’s new algorithm, Penguin 2.0, and its respective updates, has a major role in determining your content’s online traffic.

Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, began leaking hints about the 2.0 algorithm update in early May via his Twitter page and blog. The Penguin 2.0 algorithm finished rolling out on May 22, 2013, sealing a new way that search results are ranked, indexed and filtered.

The new algorithm focuses primarily on webspam. However, there are a few key updates to consider as you adjust your content to Penguin 2.0 standards. Cutts himself has promised better detection and communication regarding hackers, lifted ranking for “authoritative sites” in a specific industry, and a more diverse first page of search results. Other important changes include improved link analysis software to target unnatural link profiles and spammy websites (primarily pornographic and gaming sites), and a greater leniency for borderline victims of Google’s previous Panda update.

Matt Cutts Tweet from May 22

“Black Hat and Link Spammers Less Likely to Show Up in Search Results after Summer” on Searchland

A couple weeks pre-launch, Barry Schwartz revealed his expectations for the new technology’s features. Schwartz accurately predicted Penguin 2.0 technology would predominantly attack spammy sites as well as sites that artificially inflate their link profiles. This means, if you want to avoid being attacked by Penguin 2.0, remove unnatural links from your site.

“Practical Tips for Modern SEO from the Best Minds in Europe” on HubSpot

Kieran Flanagan references 5 eBooks written by European industry leaders to help recover sites hit by a Google update. However, in order to avoid a Google penalty, Flanagan suggests boosting the quality and ranking of your content by becoming “Panda-free,” or generating personal surveys using identical criteria as Google’s Panda algorithm.

Matt Cutts Tweet about Penguin 2.0 on May 15

“Google Rolls Out Latest Penguin Algorithm Update” on HubSpot

Desmond Wong claims that Penguin 4, sporting Penguin 2.0 technology, is “the most major change in Google’s Penguin algorithm since Penguin 1.” As you adjust to Penguin 2.0, keep in mind the “authority boost,” improved link analysis software, and greater leniency for borderline victims of the previous Panda update.

Matt Cutts Tweet about Penguin 2.0 on May 9

“Google Penguin 2.0 Casualties: Why Sites Got Hit” on Search Engine Watch

Danny Goodwin explores why certain sites’ search visibility was destroyed by the update. Sites that heavily employ exact match anchor text, or “money keywords,” have been hit hard, supporting the idea that the new update primarily targets unnatural link profiles. Goodwin references HOME24.DE and cheapoair.com as two cases that received massive search visibility drops after the update. Immediately remove unnatural links from your site in order to maintain your current search visibility.

“4 Steps to Take After a Google Manual Penalty is Removed” on Search Engine Watch

What if Penguin 2.0 has already penalized your content’s visibility? Your first step is to clean up your website; next, your should appeal to Google for a reconsideration. Chuck Price provides four useful steps to consider after your appeal to Google is approved, and the penalty is then removed.

  1. Inspect your foundation for clean source code and conduct an on-page site audit
  2. Panda-proof your website
  3. Build your Google+ author rank
  4. Safely rebuild your link profile. Remove unnatural links from your site.

“Google’s Penguin Update 2.0: Loser analysis” on Searchmetrics

Marcus Tober also confirmed Schwartz’s prediction that pornographic and gaming sites would be primary targets of Penguin 2.0. The update focuses primarily on webspam; thus, sites containing untrusted links are receiving the harshest penalties. Remove unnatural links from your site.

Matt Cutts warns webmasters, “If you’ve been hanging out on a lot of black hat forums and trading different types spamming package tips and that sort of stuff, then it might be a more eventful summer for you.”

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