Last April, Google launched an algorithm update, called Penguin, as a large-scale attack against Web spam tactics that would see the demise of many high-performing sites. The update’s primary aim was to target the sites that possessed a portfolio in which their anchor text was singularly focused and which contained links that appeared “unnatural” in the eyes of the global search engine.
While these terms are rather ambiguous, as are most of Google’s public reports, investigation into the update has revealed that Penguin instilled a ‘“stricter standard” on manipulative link profiles. This is indicated by the fact that any site with more than 40 percent anchor text to one key term would be deemed high risk for “manipulative link building” and, therefore, be penalized.
Since the initial launch of Penguin, Google has rolled out two more updates, occurring in May and October. As a result, many sites have seen their traffic flatline or go missing completely from Google’s index.
A New Update, Penguin 2.0
Recently, speculation has developed about the release of another major update from Google. Google’s chief of Web spam, Matt Cutts, recently confirmed the major update would be coming out under the guise of Penguin 2.0, declaring his second attack for stricter link building standards. And you can expect that update in the next couple of weeks.
@mrjamiedodd we do expect to roll out Penguin 2.0 (next generation of Penguin) sometime in the next few weeks though.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) May 10, 2013
What to Expect from Penguin 2.0
With more information coming from Cutts than typical for Google’s chief of Web spam, he indicated the update is another major attempt to devalue link spam. Cutts said the algorithm is much bigger than its predecessors because it will “go deeper and have more of an impact than the first Penguin update.” That’s frightening news given that the first update ended up altering a large scope of search queries across the Internet, as well as causing an uproar of disappointment among a large number of webmasters.
The first generation of Penguin showed a lot of brand favoritism by Google. It appears that Google will be likely to continue this bias through Penguin 2.0, and continue to aggressively devalue those links that they deem “unethical.” Small brands have felt the sting. Local plumbers, like Mr. Rooter Oneida, felt the sting from the first round of updates. When talking about the upcoming Penguin 2.0, Rick Miller, webmaster for Mr. Rooter, stated that it’s been hard to become competitive beyond the company’s local area because each update seems to rank brands even more highly, making it difficult to take any market share in the real world, as well as online. “Unfortunately, potential links that fall under Google’s manipulative tactics may more adversely affect your sites beyond being devalued, as they could bring penalties.”