Matt Cutts discusses Google Penguin 2.0
Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam Team, announced the fourth iteration of Google Penguin, dubbed internally as “Google Penguin 2.0”. This update, which launched May 22, 2013, is a major effort in Google’s push to present the most-authoritative, least-spammy websites for search queries. This latest rollout will affect about 2.3% of English-US search queries and has also rolled out to all other worldwide markets. With the launch of Penguin 2.0, many gaming and adult entertainment sites have been heavily hit by the latest algorithm change. Penguin 2.0 is being noted by Mr. Cutts as one of the major changes to expect with Google’s ranking algorithm in the coming months.
In April 2012, Google Penguin was introduced to address website linking strategy (among a few other website quality indicators) that affected 3.5% of search queries. Sites that were impacted by the update had practiced old, “black hat” link schemes: focusing on quantity of links, rather than quality.
Before you think, “all is lost” if your website has a number of poor-quality links, there are a number of ways to address this problem going forward and fix past activity.
Resolving Low-Quality Links
If you’re worried that your website may be (or has been) impacted by Google Penguin, there are a few tools and practices to employ to resolve those past actions. Utilizing tools like MajesticSEO, SEOmoz Open Site Explorer or Ahrefs, webmasters can identify links that are low-credibility or not relevant to the website.
Upon identification of harmful, low-quality links, webmasters can turn to the Disavow tool in Google Webmaster Tools. Much like implementing canonical tags, this is a tool provided by Google that should not be undertaken lightly. Disavowing valuable links can negatively impact the website’s PageRank.
Build Link “Relationships”
Like any valuable relationship, solid link partnerships take time and effort. To gain a good, relevant link from an authoritative site in your industry, it is worthwhile to make connections and nurture those relationships.
Prior to reaching out for a link back to your website, consider addressing a blog post comment, retweeting or answering a tweet of the publisher, or engaging with the web publisher in another unrelated venue (at an industry forum, etc.). Once a connection is made, take time to review the website and be able to speak to the attributes of the site as you ask for a link. A few extra minutes and care when reaching out will save hours in wasted batched, “shotgun” link email blasts.
Create Link-Worthy Content
The most holistic and easiest way to establish a healthy link portfolio is by creating engaging content to which other sites and users will want to link. Depending on your website, often “fresh”, relevant content gets the most buzz and links. Additionally, content that can be used as a reference and provide valuable information is a strong draw for other linking sites. Finally, publicize “newsworthy” content. What is it that makes your company unique? Drawing traffic through news outlets often provides high-quality links as well as high referral traffic. Be interesting and you will be rewarded.
Going forward, it is important to practice good behaviors for the benefit of users. Look deeply into your site to identify problem areas and as you address them, search engines will only reward you.
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