Penguin 2.0 and Other Changes That Lie Ahead For SEO in 2013

Following the top SEO mistakes that Matt Cutts recently released, he yet again posted another video yesterday on GoogleWebmasterHelp channel, this time, to talk about some of the things Google’s webspam team is working on. One of the highlights of this video is Matt saying that Penguin 2.o (or Penguin 4 if you are counting the updates like does) will soon be deployed, and is going to be more comprehensive than that of Penguin 1.x. According to him, this update will “impact” (or hit), a lot more than the previous updates.

So, should we all panic? The answer to that question will always be difficult. My guess is that if you are doing things right from the very beginning, you should be on the clear. In any event, let’s hear what Matt has to say, as perhaps this could help you to do some cleaning up, before the “tidal wave” begins. It will happen!

What should we expect in the next few months in terms of SEO for Google?

To begin, you will notice that Matt (as usual) makes all kinds of disclosures and disclaimers that for now, this is what they are working on. However, he mentions that things change and therefore, the information he provides should be taken with a “grain of salt”…

Advertorials (Advertisements in the form of editorial content)

Matt mentions that they are also looking at advertorials that may be violating their quality guidelines. If you remember the “interflora” case, you may have seen that they were “hit” by Google due to a campaign they launched for valentines day. Matt further mentions that “taking money” to sponsor posts or links is not necessarily a bad thing, provided that those links DO NOT pass PageRank and that they should be disclosed as not being organic.

Denying Value To Link Spammers

Link spammers should soon feel the wrath of Google? Matt mentions that he is very excited to see how things are evolving to deny the value to link spammers.

… some people who spam links in various ways. We’ve got some nice ideas on ways that that becomes less effective, and so we expect that that will roll out over the next few months as well. In fact, we’re working on a completely different system that does more sophisticated link analysis…

Hacked Sites

Google has already launched Webmasters help for hacked sites recently, but they still want to continue on working on how to better detect them, and provide help for webmasters. He expects that to roll out a next-generation site detection system, that is even more comprehensive. The idea is to help webmasters get more information and hopefully point them in the right way to clean up those hacked sites.

Authority Sites

We have also been working on a lot of ways to help regular webmasters. We’re doing a better job of detecting when someone is more of an authority on a specific space…

Is this “Author Rank”? Maybe, maybe not, but it is clear that Google wants to rank better those people that are deemed authoritative on specific subjects. This should balance and improve rankings for those that are considered sort of an authority site.  Time to work on your online authority and implement authorship?

Panda Updates

This one is a bit of a good news. Matt mentions that they are looking at some additional signals to determine the quality of a site, and soften a bit those that are somewhat in the gray area of quality. This should help improve those sites to “recover” a little, which have previously been affected (to some extent) by Panda.

Other notes

Matt also mentions about trying to improve the cluster of results that are from one domain. Sometimes, you will see more results from the same domain deeper in the search results. He said that they are looking to change the results which would basically avoid users from seeing more results as you go deeper into the next pages of Google’s SERPs.

Finally, he also said that they are trying to figure out how to give more information to webmasters, by providing more details and examples that webmasters can use to diagnose their site.

That’s it! What do you think about this upcoming “wave” of changes? Are you concerned about the big “Penguin 2.o” that’s about to roll out?


DiTesco is a Business and Inbound Marketing Consultant, and founder of iBlogzone's main objective is to help startups and small business owners achieve success in their online ventures. | More About Me and my Digital Marketing Services in SP Brazil.

21 thoughts on “Penguin 2.0 and Other Changes That Lie Ahead For SEO in 2013

  • I’m encouraged to see, in the few comments ahead of mine, that people are actually GLAD to see Google getting better at spotting fluff-and-bluff. It’s great to see people leaning this way, rather than toward the never-ending pursuit of trying to game Google. I’ve given my “Google Update Reaction Plan” on my own blog, explaining the “forget-about-Google” approach to marketing.

  • There was chatter over this past weekend about sites losing a lot of traffic. Some thought this update was already happening, but apparently Google said no not yet. I guess this video is saying be prepared and don’t say we didn’t warn you maybe.

    I don’t know what to make of all this penguin and panda stuff. You definitely should be following Google updates, or at least making sure you are in the green zone. I would imagine someone just getting started with a website may not even be aware of all them.

    On another note I do like the shirt he is wearing in the video though.

    • Yeah, still trying to see if he will be willing to wear a shirt with my logo on it 🙂

      ANyway, like you said, it is always good to pay attention on what’s happening in the SEO landscape. People who are just starting should really find ways to educate themselves better to be aware of Google and other search engines guidelines. After all things have changed, and while building a website years ago was “easy” , today building it the same way, will not cut it..

  • I honestly don’t feel threatened by this considering the first couple of updates made by Google. Let’s admit that as long as you are bringing in good content, this can always be a good thing for your site.

    • Kamil,

      I can agree with you to a certain extent with one exception. Google’s initial targeting system was too broad and affected people who were legitimately playing by the rules. I’m fine with the flushing spammers and other abusers down the drain. I’m just hoping this next round isn’t a catch all solution again to see who’s left standing after the update has run its course.

      • I agree Adam, even though Google has good intentions their updates do tent to catch a lot of good well intentioned webmasters/bloggers in their net.

  • Hello,
    A friend of mine was affected in the last Google update, she was providing valuable content and she does not do SEO. She was clean but got affected by the update, i just hope the next update won’t affect more innocents… Thanks

    • Hi. That’s an interesting case. I often see people confusing “algo updates” to simply being outranked by competitors. Perhaps her problem was not getting hit by the update but rather being “overtaken” by sites with equally good quality, but doing a bit of SEO… What do think?

  • Most of blogger like me waiting for new changes from Google and want to know on what Google are really working. Last 10 – 15 days there are many fluctuation has been seen by SEO webmaster in Google search result.

  • Seems that Google is tighten their hands on seos neck; search engine optimization is going to be more tough with the passage of time! Especially for newbie its seems harder to get rankings in competitive environment!

    • Agree, SEO is harder than it used to be, as the competition is also “larger” than it used to be. This is the reason why sometimes, it is better to “target” for phrases or the so called “long tail keywords” rather than the broader ones, which are already taken by high authority sites or simple because the competition is just far too fierce..

  • I don’t worry about updates, I just do what I always do, blog about the things that I love. Naturally, like you, I also love to share things that I’ve learned along the way.

    I’m afraid we will never be free of Google updates because there will always be people who find ways to work around them. I also feel that even though they may have good intentions their updates end up catching a lot of good folks along with the bad.

    • Hi Sire. Indeed, there are many legit sites out there without any manipulative intentions at all.. But rankings, sadly, goes far beyond just providing quality content and link building. Factors such as page speed, UI and UX, link profile, social signals, mobile compatibility, etc.. are among the other factors that some of us sometimes tend to neglect, and with this, despite the legitimacy of the site, ranking may be hampered.. In any event, like you said, “someone” will always find ways to manipulate results and I guess we will just have to accept that, that’s one part of the puzzle for being online.

  • DiTesco, do you think Google sees guest posting as the “new spam?” That’s a rumor I’ve heard lately. My main site which is largely made up of guest posts has seen its search traffic erode steadily over the past two years. We were hit hard for the first time with a huge drop in search traffic on May 2nd of this year. It’s certainly not from manipulative SEO strategies since our off page SEO has been on autopilot for years.

    • HI Jarret. Guest posts on your own site is really not a form of SPAM, unless all of them have many external links pointing to “suspicious” sites and with poor authority. With so many guest authors, maybe it is more a “multi-author” type site. For as long as they are not the sort of “advertorial” type posts, I think its OK. An oh, the quality of those articles should also be a factor. Maybe you can start to consolidate some of those posts to create more “authority” on the pages.

      What do you mean about “autopilot” for off-page?

      • By autopilot for off-page SEO, I meant that we don’t engage in any shady link building practices… because we don’t build any links at all. 🙂 When I first launched the site, I used to build some links–just white hat stuff that was mostly low value such with tumblr, wordpress dot com, etc, but I haven’t had time for that over the past two years.
        That’s a great idea to consolidate some related posts to make a more authoritative page!

        • I get it, you meant by “autopilot” was basically people naturally linking to your site based on the “quality” of your content.

          As for consolidating some posts, I really think it is a good idea because some of the “older” ones may probably even be somewhat “dead”, may contain links to poor sites or broken links… After all you do have a lot of articles and using that technique of “reviving” older content helps your site stay fresh too 🙂

  • No follow tag will save a lot of people from penalties..It is great to know that Google is ok with sponsored posts and paid links as long the links are no follow.But there could be new algorithm updates to gauge the quality of the content as well as the site.This can be tricky.

    • Well, I think that the “nofollow” tag only plays to avoid being considered manipulative for rankings. Other factors definitely come into play, and the nofollow tag is just one of them.. You may not be “penalized” but you may also not rank for an article due to other factors.. Tricky indeed

  • SEO game is gonna be more complicated when the Penguin 2.0 updates comes, but the principles of SEO remain the same, It is all about building great content and maximize the outreach method that natural attract traffic, links, shares, leads and sales. Content marketing is likely to search all purpose rather than just getting or driving traffic. Content marketing will help us build brand and boost conversion rate.

  • Too much noise about before updates and about twice as much after update. In general nothing would change and most likely target will be again low quality websites and spam.

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