In last few weeks, we have seen a lot of discussions and speculations roaming around the web regarding some sort of major Google Algorithm Update which is predicted to impact the search results to a great extent. The rumours were confirmed as soon as Matt Cutts himself announced on his Twitter account that the new update is about to be released and it is called “Penguin 2.0”.[quote style=”1″ author=”Matt”]We do expect to roll out Penguin 2.0 (next generation of Penguin) sometime in the next few weeks though.[/quote]
They are calling it the new Generation of Penguin update (hence Penguin 2.0). Matt Cutts also mentioned that it will be one of the most talked about update as it will affect a huge chunk of search queries on web.
History of Penguin Update:
Penguin update was first launched in April 2012, which penalised tons of spammers online using spammy backlinks to rank higher on Google. This was the first time when Google made everyone realize that Quality of backlinks is much more important than the quantity of backlinks. The Penguin was followed by two refreshes as well, subsequently in May and then in October 2012 and a few minor refreshes.
Sites with all the backlinks coming by same anchor text were hit badly in latest Penguin refresh, along with websites that had junk backlinks profile with un-natural backlinks coming in bulk from non-authority sources.
How to Prepare for Penguin 2.0 ?
I don’t know for sure about how this update would work and how much impact it will have, until it is actually rolled out. But one thing is for sure that, like the 1st generation of Penguin, Penguin 2.0 is definitely going to take everyone by a surprise. As Google is consistently working on how they can completely remove spammers from SERPs.
We know that Penguin is all about quality backlinks, and Penguin 2.0 will also affect websites with bad backlinks coming their way. Since there were a lot of complains regarding the injustice with a lot of SEO professionals around the globe, I am sure that Google would have worked out a way to filter out websites that build junk links intentionally, and websites that have been a victim of negative SEO.
In order to tackle this new Generation of Penguin Update, you must keep following factors in mind:
Quality of Link Neighbourhoods
It seems that Google`s system is efficient enough to understand the difference between a good and a bad backlink. Hence it is highly critical to keep an eye on your backlinks neighborhoods, (also known as Link Graph), which consists of all the nodes that point towards your website.
Ensure that no spammy or junk websites are included in your Link graph to prevent any Google penalty for your website in coming update. Most of the junk backlinks don’t work anymore, anyways, hence it is important to focus on building quality backlinks from authority sources only and disavow all the previously built junk backlinks. Remember, do not ignore any email for google webmaster team.
In all past penguin updates, Google put a strong focus on websites that have un-natural linking velocity. Websites that have all the links coming their way in short span of time, are most likely to get hit by coming Penguin 2.0, as Google’s system is smart enough to understand that these websites must have used some sort of automatic link building software. A website that builds backlinks with a steady speed and will keep the same speed for as long as they can will almost always win the race in all the modern Google updates.
When I talk about Backlinks trust, don’t confuse yourself with Backlink Quality. Quality and trust are two entirely different things, as far as Google’s algorithm is considered. I personally got to know about this metric recently while using Majestic SEO, when I noticed their Citation and Trust flow metrics, which apparently gives an idea of how much a backlink is trusted on web and how authoritative the author of the content is. Google also uses this metric to disregard un-trusted backlinks. As a SEO professional you can’t have authority backlinks for all your websites, but to build trust you must avoid completely un-trusted/banned/low quality linking neighborhoods to build your trust in the eyes of Google gradually.
Social Authority/Social Signals:
The same principle of authority applies here, instead of just blasting your website on social media to generate some “fake” social signals; you must concentrate on generating social signals from authority sources/authorities in your niche. It is a fact that some niches on World Wide Web are not very effective when promoted on Social media, but for most of the niches, social signals play a significant role after recent Google updates, and this trend will only grow after Penguin 2.0. If you are avoiding Google+ for your business I would suggest, you start using it right away.
Anchor Text Diversity:
Like the last Penguin refresh in October, anchor text diversity will play a significant role in penalising lots of low quality websites with un-natural backlinks pointing to them. A lot of top SEOs around the globe have a consensus that un-natural/same anchor text for all backlinks, is the biggest indicator or artificial backlinks created in automated fashion.
It is understandable that having natural backlinks profile means having a combination of branded and keywords based anchors. And websites that have all the backlinks coming their way with same or similar keywords must be doing something fishy, and hence you must avoid it as much as you can to survive the coming Penguin 2.0 update.
Relevancy of Backlinks:
This is perhaps the most important factor that you, as a SEO professional can never neglect. There is nothing worse than having tons of backlinks coming to your website from irrelevant sources. Therefore if you are building backlinks on random websites, just for the sake of increasing your backlinks, you must stop doing that right now, and use the Disavow tool to remove the irrelevant backlinks you have already created, otherwise you would definitely be hit by the coming Penguin’s New Generation.
Penguin 2.0 will again tackle websites with un-natural backlinks, but the algorithm will get even stricter and hence after this update would be rolled out, we can expect to see more and more SEO professionals and website owners complaining about how and why there website is hit on forums all around the web.
I will wait till the update is finally rolled out and I will report on my findings. Stay tuned.