On May 22, the much-anticipated new edition of Google’s Penguin was unleashed across the Web. Penguin 2.0, as it is being called by Google employees, is the fourth and most significant release since the initial algorithm made waves in April 2012. Designed to identify and eliminate spam, the original Penguin affected an estimated 3.1 percent of English-language search results.
Penguin 2.0 has proven to be smaller than some feared at around 2.3 percent, but it is still making noticeable changes to the rankings. Matt Cutts, a representative for Google, offered some insights into the features of Penguin 2.0 and the future of SEO in a May 13 video statement:
“Penguin is a webspam change that’s dedicated to try to find black hat webspam and try to target and address that…So this one is a little more comprehensive than Penguin 1.0, and we expect it to go a little bit deeper in have a little bit more of an impact.”
Where the first Penguin only assessed the homepage of a website, Penguin 2.0 crawls throughout the domain looking for spam and suspicious links. It also targets specific niches known for their spammy results. As part of its early analysis, Search metrics has compiled a list of websites most impacted by Penguin 2.0.
Here’s the list:
The clear losers in this update are members of the pornography and gaming industries, as well as domains with shallow content and low-quality links. As always, those using black-hat SEO have been knocked down the ranks, and they can only look forward to more punishment in the next few years. Smaller and less experienced business owners could also be harmed, however, through clumsy or inefficient SEO.
Although Penguin 2.0 is not as groundbreaking as the first introductions of Panda and Penguin 1.0, it represents a refinement of Google’s long-term goals and cannot be ignored. With the addition of author ranks imminent and ever more sophisticated quality detection, it has never been more important for webmasters to focus less on the easy way out and more on providing a helpful, meaningful experience for their visitors.