Penguin 2.0 – What you need to know

Two PenguinsGuess who’s back? That’s right, that pesky little Penguin of Google fame has returned in a new incarnation that will, according to Google’s head of webspam Matt Cutts, affect “2.3% of English-US queries to the degree that a regular user might notice”. As with its original incarnation, Penguin 2.0 is trying to target and address black hat webspam, but Cutts says that it’s a little more comprehensive and is likely to have more of an impact.

Will my website be affected, we hear you cry? Well, if you’re in Google’s good books, then probably not. The most useful resource that we found to determine this is a video from Mr. Cutts which answers the question on every marketer’s lips – “What should we expect in the next few months in terms of SEO for Google?

Cutts says Google is “trying to make what you should be working on pretty constant and uniform” – essentially meaning if you’re already using white hat SEO tactics, your cause for concern should be minimal. “Make sure you make a great site, that users love, that they’ll want to tell their friends about, bookmark, come back to, visit over and over again; all the things that make a site compelling. If that’s your goal, we’re aligned with that goal, and therefore as long as you’re working hard for users we’re working hard to show your high quality content to users as well.”

In the remainder of the video, Cutts reveals that Google will shortly be cracking down on paid advertorials that violate the quality guidelines, pinpointing areas that are traditionally more spammy (the given example is payday loans) and denying value to linkspammers – essentially, targeting the black hat SEO tactics that we all know we shouldn’t be using anyway.

As Cutts concludes, “If you’re doing high quality content whenever you’re doing SEO, this shouldn’t be a big surprise, and you shouldn’t have to worry about a lot of different changes.” If you’re already polishing your white hat, you can sit back, relax and welcome this little Penguin with open arms.