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Penguin 2.0 is Live, Are You Prepared?

Penguin 2.0 officially rolled out in the afternoon of Tuesday, May 22nd 2013.  This is what we know so far:

  1. It’s the fourth Penguin update, but it is referred to as Penguin 2.0 because it is an update in the algorithm and not a data refresh or an index update (unlike Penguin 2 and 3).
  2. It is expected to affect 2.3% of English queries; Penguin 1.0 affected 3.1% of English queries.
  3. Penguin 2.0 is focused on catching black hat web spam. Matt Cutts said that it is more comprehensive than the original Penguin 1.0 and is expected to go deeper and have more impact than Penguin 1.0. You can read Matt Cutts blog post here.
  4. Ads and paid listings that pass page rank could get you a penalty. Penguin 2.0 will try and find websites that are not in line with its webmaster guidelines, but ads and paid listings that pass page rank were specifically mentioned.

I have personally noticed an extreme increase in clients’ rankings. Here is one example (this is very un-natural and it is happening across many accounts):

Penguin 2.0 Rankings Increase


Matt Cutt’s stated that Penguin 2.0 will only affect 2.3% of all English queries, less than Penguin 1.0 which affected 3.1% of English queries. However, he also states that Penguin 2.0 is more comprehensive than Penguin 1.0 and will have more impact. If it will have more impact, Penguin 2.0 should affect more than just 2.3% of queries!

Penguin Updates Impact So Far

Penguin 1 | April 24, 2012 – Affecting 3.1% of queries

Penguin 2 | May 26, 2012 – Affecting less than 0.1% of queries

Penguin 3 | Oct 5, 2012 – Affecting 0.3% of queries

Since Penguin 1.0 hit, Google has received 700,000 reconsideration requests via the Penguin feedback form in webmaster tools. 600,000 of them were about black hat web spam and less than 25,000 about unnatural links.

Other Points Mentioned by Matt Cutts

  • Google’s web spam team is working on a completely different system that does more sophisticated back link analysis.
  • Google’s web spam team are working on a way to deny value to link spammers so that link spamming will become less effective (as if it’s not already useless).
  • Google is doing a better job in detecting authorities and over the next few months you will see that authorities will be rewarded with better rankings as it may be more appropriate for users.
  • Google’s Panda may be softened a little for websites that have been affected if those websites still show some signals of quality.
  • People who are link spamming or utilising black hat SEO tactics are less likely to show up in searches by the end of the summer.

The Bottom Line

If you have optimised your website for your users, created high quality, original content and adhered to webmaster quality guidelines then you should be happy. Google will reward you with higher rankings and you have nothing to worry about. If your content is good, people will link to your website naturally and you do not have to worry about low quality link building tactics; instead you will eagerly await the next algorithm update.

By Hamza Afridi

Qasim Majid About the author
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Lorraine Robinson
10 years ago

No doubt you've been doing things properly! It's good to see the other side of the Penguin update: an increase in rankings for those that have used proper methods to gain links.  I presume this is to be expected: if the websites that don't deserve their position are penalised, it leaves spaces for those that do who naturally will be uplifted within the SERPS.  

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