Google’s next algorithm update Penguin 2.0
Every year or so, Google does a major algorithm change. Generally speaking they do not warn anyone about this. Google engineers sit and plan the algorithm change with the Google Management Team – most notably Matt Cutts who is the head of search quality. Then they do a lot of testing in the Google sandbox to see how search results are affected by the change and if the algorithm does in-fact ‘penalize’ the websites that Google deems less relevant and of lower quality. Then if all passes the sandbox test and after a lot of tweaking, Google slowly releases the new algorithm like a disease in different locations until the whole world is suffering under this new algorithm. Why suffering you ask? Because many decent and non-spammy webmasters and websites are usually hit or caught up in the penalties dished out by any algorithm change.
You should be asking yourself ‘How can I prepare my website for this latest algorithm change?’ Matt Cutts said in his blog on May 13th 2013 that the algorithm change will be released ‘soon’.
You can see from the video above in which Matt Cutts explains the main focus of the algorithm update is to penalize sites using “black hat web spam” tactics and he mentioned that this update is more comprehensive than Penguin 1. So what does that mean?
Lets look over the brief history of Google’s last 3 major algorithm updates and see the pattern of dates each algorithm update was released and what each update focused on:
- “Caffeine” Feb 2010 – speed and better indexing of blogs/news/new articles
- “Panda” Feb 2011 – focus on content and onpage quality
- “Penguin” Apr 2012 – over optimization
So according to dates and times of algorithm updates it does seem that Google are ready to release a new update shortly. And this update comes with warning shots fired by Matt Cutts and the Google team which usually does not happen. A lot of other algorithm changes were found out in hind sight by webmasters realizing a huge drop in traffic and rankings, but this one seems to be different. Google is communicating to webmasters and SEOer’s alike to prepare their sites and ensure all is white hat and clean (especially in certain industries such as pay day loans).
Why cant Google simply tell us the date of release of the new algorithm? Matt explains this is because many times, Google does not know when the testing will finish and the algorithm will be live. It has meant in the past that there was no way for webmasters to prepare their sites for such changes even if they were not using spammy or black hat tactics. With this official announcement by Matt, I hope that all webmasters will start to further ‘clean things up’ in preparation so as not to be balcklisted or penalized by Google.
I would like to finish with my recommendation of how to prepare for this update:
- Check your Google Webmaster Tools account and ensure
- Inlinks are not all using the same over optimized anchor text
- Inlinks are coming from a large variety of quality and relevant sources
- Contact webmasters to take off links pointing to your website if they come from low quality or irrelevant sources
- Failing that use the disavow link tool
- There are no messages or warnings
And in the future how to prepare for the inevitable future algorithm changes? Simply play by the rules if you like it or not. Read Google’s user guidelines and ensure you build and optimize your website in line with Google policies. Optimization is fine, SEO is fine, just do it in a white hat way and your site will rank highly on SERP’s and you will get the quality traffic that you deserve. Google makes the rules, so we all have to play by them until ICANN or other internet NGO’s take more control of the internet and create tighter regulations for these search giants like Google and Bing.