Penguin 2.0 Changes, does it affect your Google Search rankings?

Firstly, let me explain Penguin 1.0 and its implications, fundamentally this first update was the first real attempt by google to penalize off site linking and penalize Black Hat strategies (linking to a lot of external sites to confuse google and raise your sites rankings) it’s also designed to reward sites with genuine content and what seems in googles eyes to be a good match for searcher’s search strings. 

Penguin 2.0 has been designed to hunt out fishy activity of inbound links, normally given away by either a large number ‘all of a sudden’ linking to the target site, lots of links coming from 3rd party countries (if you’re a plumber in Auckland but have hundreds of links from India google makes the assumption this is spam) or there’s lots of inbound links all with the same content/tags around the link. This update also will be specifically targeting ads with do follow links (since the introduction of the no follow tag, Google has told webmasters to use it to differentiate paid links and avoid passing on ranking value and trust), and improve the detection of hacked sites.

How Do I Know If I’ve Been Affected?

In most cases you will know straight away by a drop in traffic and google rankings, or others, the effects might not be quite as obvious. A couple unnatural links may have knocked you back in the results a few spots or pages. Your search traffic may have dropped for some of your keywords. Your sales might fall for products to which you’ve built tons of exact match anchor text. Take a look at your organic search tracking in Google Analytics and look for differences before and after May 22 in particular.

How do I take advantage of this new change?

If you’ve been engaging in high-quality link building, meaning no copy pasting of descriptions, using sites that update their content regularly, sites within your industry and country this should open up some new opportunities to get higher traffic and rankings on those really hard search phrases. One trick ten years ago as internet marketers was to start writing blogs and link that blog back to your site. Penguin 2.0 is once again giving great rewards for such content and linking. There is one major change though, to have a blog or site with changing content linking into you is fantastic however google now collects data on each sites statistics so for simplicity let’s call it ‘readers; if you have a blog and there’s no readers, then Penguin 2.0 will ensure you do not get any false reward, on the other hand if you write a blog and people actually read it then your rankings can sky rocket.

What I predict from this release is a growth in blog sites, with email marketing pushing readers in. On a real positive note, I think this also marks the end to those overnight seo companies relying on companies in India/Asia to link farm sites to their local portals which have no relevance to New Zealand sites. 

Always remember good quality content and in bound links over time will always help your site, quick link farming strategies have and will in the end become a liability to you.