The Google Penguin 2.0 update has gone live. In this post we cover insight from Ignite Visibility on what this update changed. It should be noted that up until now, there have been limited reports on what has actually changed. Search Engine Land stated that adult websites and gaming sites ranked worse. But this is really a broad generalization.
As of right now the update is still new. What we know is that targeted web spam; primarily bad links and hacked websites. We also know that 2.3% of English queries were affected to a noticeable degree.
One thing that is interesting, is that this update marks a greater effort by Google to push their web spam fighting efforts on to those looking to get rankings. Do you have malware? Better clean it up to get back in the index. Do you have bad links pointing at your site? Better block them and do a reinclusion request to be allowed back in the index. Oh, and you have to tell Google all about how your got the bad links in the first place. OK, enough with the intro, let’s get into the article so that I can get more specific.
If you Don’t Know the Basics on this Topic, Here is the History of the Penguin Update
If you do Know What we are Talking about, Let’s Jump Into it!
Here is how Penguin 2.0 Has Changed SEO
Some of these items were true before the update. If they are being reported on here, then they are still true or possibly more important.
Quality Links over Quantity
It is much better to have a few quality links opposed to many low quality links. The more SEO progresses, the more low quality links become a red flag to Google. Similar to the effort needed to create excellent content, when it comes to links it is critical to focus on quality over quantity. You want links that are natural from very high PR websites. That will allow you to jump ahead of the competition.
More Fluctuation in Ranks than Ever
Post Penguin 2.0 there have been more fluctuations in rankings than ever. For every 3 to 10 searches you may see a different set of results. In addition, your future searches are continually modified and refined based on your past searches. This fluctuation in a Penguin 2.0 Google ranking environment makes it hard to know what your positions really are. Which is why we rely more on traffic and conversion numbers opposed to ranking numbers. Your SEO person really needs to be a complete marketer now to understand how to perform well in search engines.
Too Much Exact Anchor Text Continues to Kill
Almost every day I run into a new website who used to rank very well for a big term but now their position is terrible. Take a look at their anchor text distribution and you almost always see that the non-branded keyword they are going after is their top anchor, or one of them. In Penguin 2.0 too much anchor text will get you knocked down further and further in the rankings. There is a threshold that you need to respect.
Reward for Blocking Bad Links
Along the same lines of too much anchor text for a specific keyword from external links, there is also the idea that if you block the bad links with the Google Disavow Links Tool you will be rewarded. I have yet to run into a situation where I blocked bad links and the website did not receive more traffic. Of course, you need to know which of those links are hurting you. This is just another reason why I feel less is more. If you block the bad links and are associated with only quality sites your rankings and traffic goes up.
Bad Sites Hanging on Now Gone Forever
After Google Penguin 2.0, the bad websites (those with low PR that were only used to scheme the system in one way are another) have been eliminated from the index. Having these cruddy websites out of the index is a good thing for everyone. This is actually a great move by Google. I see these websites often when doing backlink clean up. This has become more and more common for us, as we are helping new clients clean up the bad links past SEO companies have built.
Adult Sites and Gaming Sites
Search Engine Land reported that adult websites and gaming sites were hit the hardest. Based on the data they provided, this is hard to argue with.
Spam is your Problem
In a post Penguin 2.0 world, spam is now the problem of the webmaster, not Google. If you get hacked you are in trouble. I have had clients recently who had huge drops in traffic and had no idea why. After looking at the URLs that were in question and doing some digging, it became clear that the websites had been hacked. In one case, Google said nothing. In the other case, the webmaster did get a notification. Either way, traffic slowly dropped for each until the issue was resolved.
Summary of Penguin 2.0
Penguin 2.0 is still a new update. This post covers observations from Ignite Visibility Internet Marketing after the update occurred. If there is something we missed, please comment below! One thing is for sure, the Penguin 2.0 update changed SEO. Ignite Visibility saw a jump in rankings after the update. We hope you saw the same!