Another Penguin for Summer 2013




Robert Wakefield
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By Robert Wakefield   

Watch out - there's another Penguin on the loose this summer.

Google Panda 2.0

On May 13th 2013 Matt Cutts, Google's search spokesperson and front-man, released another video about Google's latest developments and new algorithmic changes. This summer website owners, webmasters and SEO companies can expect a new visitor - Penguin 2.0. From what Matt is saying it looks as if there is some good news for those business owners and SEO experts who have rigidly stuck to White Hat SEO methods and resisted all temptation to fall foul of Google's ever-stricter guidelines. Here are the highlights of the videocast:-

1. Penguin 2.0 to sniff out paid advertorial content and penalise accordingly. No worries for wysi SEO clients there then - we've never succumbed to such methods and don't intend to start now.

2. The new algorithms, says Cutts, will deny link value for sites that are still using spammy links. That's fine but what is a 'spammy link'? Whilst Matt always tends to be a tad vague when asked this, we deem a spammy link to fall into any (or all) of the following categories:-

the link is a blog comment where the blog content is totally irrelevant to the outbound resource content;

the commenter's username just happens to be the keyword or phrase (durrgh!) example: cheapcarloans;

the page is just a shopping list of outbound links but not an authoritative web directory;

the linking page has no images, is poorly constructed and is perhaps only a one-page domain;

the linking domain has no age or trust;

the link is not contained in well-written prose;

the linking page is not themed in any way to the outbound linked resource.

(there are more)

3. Multiple listings on Google results. Matt says these will tend not to be on the first page, but perhaps 3 or 4 pages into the results. We disagree and see sites such as Amazon, eBay, and the larger retailers dominating the first page of Google results. We feel this is something that Google need to address as good, genuine sites are pushed to page 2 or even 3 as a result. Let's hope the new algorithm addresses this rather unfair domination by the bigger companies.

4. Perhaps the most concerning snippet we picked up on in Matt's podcast was the reference (at 3.30) to "working on a completely different system that does more sophisticated link analysis". Cutts says this is "pretty exciting" but it's "early days still".  Concerning because,as any website owner knows, link-building is still the most beneficial aspect of off-site SEO and it's nigh on impossible to obtain (and maintain) high rankings without some form of White Hat link building. Cutts has even told us in previous broadcasts that link building still plays "a vital role in any successful optimisation strategy". We will be keeping a very close eye on further developments and press releases on this topic.

5. "Border zone" sites to get greater benefits from Google. This is really good news and ties in with Cutts' remark about 'lots of changes to help small and medium sized businesses'. We think, by 'border zone', Cutts means those sites that are genuinely well-optimised but fail to make the first page because their authority value is seen as inferior to the some of the market leaders in the industry sector. If this is the case, then this is really good news for nearly every wysi SEO client. If you're an SME trying to compete with (say) B&Q or Amazon, then these changes should mean improved rankings for your site. We'll be watching out for positive trends as a result of this and report to you via our SEO ranking reports.

6. More help for SEOs and webmasters. This is also great news and we're delighted to learn that Google will be releasing example URLs through its Webmaster Tools module for SEOs like us to use for diagnosis. This could be the most helpful step Google has taken thus far - we wait with bated breath. Just so you know, we already monitor every wysi SEO client's website and domain through Google's Webmaster Tools suite, and react immediately to any alerts or adverse data. Luckily, such instances are very few and far between.

So, all in all, there may be more good than bad to come out of this latest press release from Google; let's hope that's true. 

The English summer may arrive next month (who knows) but watch out when you take your picnic in the woods this summer - there's another Penguin coming along soon. Got your biscuits handy? Meanwhile, here's the video!

About the Author.

Robert Wakefield

My career in SEO and web development began in the mid-1990s when the Internet was in its infancy and Google had not even been conceived. Nowadays my role is split between heading up the content marketing/ SEO department, which has grown considerably over recent years, and overseeing operations including PHP and MySql (Open Source) development for larger, more bespoke applications.

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