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No Penguin 2.0 Update - Matt Cutts Confirmation 2013-05-10
totalodds




msg:4572798
 6:29 pm on May 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

I've just had confirmation from Google's distinguished engineer Matt Cutts via Twitter;

@mrjamiedodd nope, no new Penguin update this week.

@mrjamiedodd we do expect to roll out Penguin 2.0 (next generation of Penguin) sometime in the next few weeks though.

[edited by: tedster at 7:06 pm (utc) on May 10, 2013]
[edit reason] edit personal link [/edit]

 

diberry




msg:4573356
 10:36 pm on May 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

I had completely forgotten the originally stated target - lowering the visibility of "Content Farms" in the SERPs, like eHow etc.


Right, this is where Google lost a lot of credibility with a lot of webmasters. Ehow is a perfect example of what Panda was supposed to demote, so its recovery after Panda led a lot of people to believe that ehow somehow got a special pass. I personally think it's just that the "authority/trust" factor is dialed up so high in the algo that none of the other factors can function, but I'm just saying one can understand where people got that impression.

Google was smart with Penguin - they just said it was about "aggressive spam/SEO", which is far more broad and doesn't give you a clear picture of the kind of site they're trying to demote (a perfectly decent site can be aggressively SEOd, for example). The leap everyone made to "Penguin = backlinks" was unfortunate - Google never said anything like that, and indeed there is evidence that Penguin is bigger than that.

I have no idea what to expect with Penguin 2.0!

turbocharged




msg:4573371
 12:02 am on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

What is interesting is that Google never updated their SEO Starter Guide to inform webmasters that following their anchor text guidelines can actually be hazardous to their site's health.

Google states:

Links on your page maybe internal—pointing to other pages on your site—or external—leading to content on other sites. In either of these cases, the better your anchor text is, the easier it is for users to navigate and for Google to understand what the page you're linking to is about.

My favorite part of Google's SEO Starter Guide states:
Avoid
writing generic anchor text like "page", "article", or "click here"
using text that is off-topic or has no relation to the content of the page linked to using the page's URL as the anchor text in most cases - although there are certainly legitimate uses of this, such as promoting or referencing a new website's address

By eliminating the most basic forms of contextual anchor text used naturally in a sentence, Google leaves few options except to use keywords to describe the pages we are linking to (both internally and externally).

I wonder how many people actually followed Google's SEO Starter Guide word for word and were hit with an "over optimization" penalty?

Follow Google's own SEO advice and fail with an over optimization penalty, but yet scrapers are enjoying great success. Scrapers are even scraping over optimized websites and ranking them while the originals sit in a state of penalty. Go figure...

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4573402
 4:44 am on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

What is interesting is that Google never updated their SEO Starter Guide to inform webmasters that following their anchor text guidelines can actually be hazardous to their site's health.

In either of these cases, the better your anchor text is, the easier it is for users to navigate and for Google to understand what the page you're linking to is about.

Where does Google define what better is?

People assuming better means keyword rich "get car widget parts", "car widget installation instructions", "car widget troubleshooting", "car widget success stories" rather than a page about car widgets linking to "get parts", "installation instructions", "troubleshooting", "success stories" doesn't mean the assumption is valid or Google's guidance is incorrect.

What is interesting is that Google never updated their SEO Starter Guide to inform webmasters that following their anchor text guidelines can actually be hazardous to their site's health.

See above for how to do the preceding without stuffing, which is in accordance with their guidelines and to my knowledge will not get people hit with an OOP.

Personally, more than wondering how many people who followed what Google's SEO Starter Guide says got hit with an OOP, I wonder how many people who don't understand it says and means got hit with an over-optimization penalty.



And, since I'm in a wondering mood:

Another thing I wonder is how many people who read SEO sites don't realize they are possibly being spoon fed "what everyone says" and "what worked" in 2005, rather than what's actually working right now. They're two different things in my experience and for some reason, many SEOs seem to keep publishing Google circa 2005 optimization techniques. (Quite likely, imo, because that's what gets them the most traffic and makes them the most money, whether it works today or not is another story.)

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4573408
 5:42 am on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

I guess the bottom line of what I really think on many issues people are having, including understanding and following Google's guidelines is it might be time to stop blaming Google for everything and place a bit more (quite a bit more) blame on the SEO industry itself and those who claim to know, use big words, say what everyone wants to hear, yet give out-dated advice and information.

All joking and sarcasm aside, I've been forwarded newsletters from 2 different major SEOs in the last couple of month from people I know and every occasion I've said "What am I supposed to get out of this? It doesn't tell me anything that applies today." or "Uh, this 'news' is way out of date and totally sensationalized. This is what's really going on (or what was really said)... I've know about the 'news' for over a month."

The newsletters weren't from "small SEOs". If I said the names they would definitely be recognized by almost everyone I know and many many readers here, because they're at all the major conferences, speak at some and are very well recognized and respected in the industry.

I think it's sad they do things the way they do, but what they may be better at than SEO is sales, because they're definitely incredible there.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4573420
 7:49 am on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

If half the front page of the serps are ads and major brands, it's hard to believe any amount of onsite or offsite SEO will benefit certain industries (ie. can't rank organically above paid ads).


turbocharged, absolutely. Just one example: fashion accessory niches. 1st and even 2nd page results for these niches resemble a typical high street in the UK these days - I mean literally. The big fashion-selling brands are all there (we know who they are). Not only that, but they're eating up all of the niches that they once didn't sell in (have been watching these niches since the late 90s). So a small fashion boutique that is competing in the same niche as these brands really needs to find new ways to get consistent, targeted and fresh daily traffic outside of Google. Of course it's possible, but the difficulty tarriff is now set so much higher for these small businesses. They will need to expend much more money and effort and risk to create all of this non-Google traffic. The chance of failure is much higher, and yet the costs of time and money are also much higher. It's not an inviting prospect to an average small business. Online marketing has gone from being an interesting (and satisfying) puzzle...to a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. The natural answer to this is Adwords of course. But the big brands are also well represented in Adwords too in the expensive top spots. I've seen a LOT of small businesses who did use Adwords soon after Penguin 1.0 give up because it was just too expensive to compete.

Net sales are much lower than they were this time last year. Some of this can be blamed on other factors though (poor economy).


If it is any consolation, your experience mirrors a lot of web development companies I've spoken to (I am part of a network of individual web dev companies in East Anglia and East Midlands) and my own. Confidence is low amongst small business right now in general. Yes the economy isn't great, and maybe with an improved economy, businesses will be willing to spend more on non-Google marketing. However, the difficulty tarriff for marketing online still remains high even with a strong economy - because the vast majority of shoppers / those looking for services still use Google as their method to find what they're looking for.

Perhaps I can be dismissed here as "moaning", but at the same time what I am describing here is a true reflection of my experiences with dealing with small businesses (as a web developer) and what I've seen.

turbocharged




msg:4573460
 10:14 am on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ColourOfSpring

From a financial standpoint, it would make sense for Google to introduce a large degree of uncertainty with SEO. Businesses, frustrated with a lack of predictable results, would be more inclined to increase Adwords buys. As noted previously, many of the smaller businesses I deal with see the same big corps competing in Adwords as in the organic serps. They have little desire to get into a bidding war with companies that have deep wallets and preferred CPC rates.

Hopefully when Penguin 2.0 is released more people will be able to connect the dots to see where Google is going with all of these updates. Are these indeed quality or financially motivated algorithm updates? Many, including myself, question these. It should be interesting.

rish3




msg:4573488
 12:18 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Personally, I don't think Google owes me a living. However, there's greater irony in the fact that the unwritten rules, for many niches, for many years...encouraged manipulation.

Since their algorithm didn't match the webmaster guidelines, it was very difficult to compete with a white hat. And, not just for a short time...for more than a decade.

Then, the move to match the unwritten rules to the written ones started. Their prerogative, of course. The move doesn't bother me, but the attitude does. They created the ecosystem, and it grew to reflect not what was said, but what was rewarded. I don't see any recognition of that from big G.

The net of that move, then, is that a fair number of otherwise quality properties are now mostly invisible in the SERPS. I think the SERPS would look a lot better if they had some sort of "grandfather line" where, for example, only links created after a certain time were subject to the new rules. Also, at the moment, it's fairly easy to "churn and burn" with spam, as new domains don't have any historical handicap, and the new rules run once a year or so.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4573529
 1:53 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Are these indeed quality or financially motivated algorithm updates? Many, including myself, question these. It should be interesting.


Google encourage webmasters to make quality sites, but they don't reward them when they do. It would be great if Google actually rewarded sites that truly helped their (and our) customers (their searchers, our visitors) and really encouraged a "betterment of the web" via rewarding such sites with better rankings. Thin content sites would be virtually invisible because they wouldn't rank, and brands would rank on merit alone and have a strong incentive to keep improving their sites. Reward quality, and you encourage it.

Leosghost




msg:4573532
 2:08 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Reward quality, and you encourage it.

Except most would then try to reverse engineer what made the search engine think the site or page was "quality"..and then try to give off those "quality" signals..whether they were in fact "quality" or not..

Quality is a subjective measurement in relation to sites or pages..we can all spot crap..but you have to actually know something about the subject of the page or the site, to know if it is "quality" or not..

AI..is not there ..yet..so a lot of crap gets rewarded..and a lot of crap gets "boosted" for other reasons..

randle




msg:4573555
 3:11 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Where does Google define what better is?

In the results - Everything you see in the results is shaped by Google -

The faith Joe searcher has in Google's ability to determine whats good and whats not good is incredibly strong - if Google says a site is the 3rd most relevant result - then thats what Joe believes and thats all that really matters.

Google isn't reacting, adapting and putting forth results based on peoples behaviors - its the other way around.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4573572
 4:02 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Except most would then try to reverse engineer what made the search engine think the site or page was "quality"..and then try to give off those "quality" signals..whether they were in fact "quality" or not..

Quality is a subjective measurement in relation to sites or pages..we can all spot crap..but you have to actually know something about the subject of the page or the site, to know if it is "quality" or not..

AI..is not there ..yet..so a lot of crap gets rewarded..and a lot of crap gets "boosted" for other reasons..


Points taken - I was being a little idealistic I guess. However, it does seem Google are even further away from correctly identifying spam than they were a few years ago. Or let's just say - they're caring a lot less about the false positives that their spam traps catch, while missing egregious examples of spam (that ranks well) at the same time.

indyank




msg:4573615
 5:13 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

See above for how to do the preceding without stuffing, which is in accordance with their guidelines and to my knowledge will not get people hit with an OOP


@TheOptimizationIdiot, you are bang on there...but I think people get confused when they see most of the top 10 ranking pages from the so called trusted sites doing it with their "Related Searches" or "Related Ads" stuff and still getting away with it. When they see them ranking, it is natural for them to assume that google is fine with it.

diberry




msg:4573619
 5:26 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

but I think people get confused when they see most of the top 10 ranking pages from the so called trusted sites doing it with their "Related Searches" or "Related Ads" stuff and still getting away with it. When they see them ranking, it is natural for them to assume that google is fine with it.


Yes - when Google doesn't give clear examples of what they mean, people can only go by what they're seeing at the top of Google. Note that Google has a great section on naming images and how to fill in their descriptions and so on without stuffing. So why not offer clear examples of good and bad anchor text? (I like TOIs and suspect they are right on target - the link should flow in the sentence and sound natural).

incrediBILL




msg:4573662
 7:34 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Matt posted a video describing what's coming:
[mattcutts.com...]

People that didn't believe what I posted in the other Penguin thread might be believers now in that they are capable of finding those linking schemes as they stick out like sore thumbs when all the data is analyzed and now it's being squashed.

Also take note that if your site gets caught up as collateral damage you won't be able to know if it's fixed until the NEXT Penguin update as it's a periodic change, nothing you can tweak on your site and immediately escape. You have to wait for another Penguin update, and if that doesn't work another, etc.

I'm going to go brace for impact.

Good Luck!

[edited by: incrediBILL at 8:11 pm (utc) on May 13, 2013]

Shepherd




msg:4573665
 7:48 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

brace for impact.


Why am I always wearing a red shirt when I hear that phrase...

diberry




msg:4573679
 8:04 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

incrediBILL, thanks so much - that's a really useful video. My Penguinized site can only be hurt worse if they outright ban it. I still don't know what I did that they think is spammy, so it'll be interesting to see what happens.

Awarn




msg:4573711
 8:46 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

The part that gets me is he implies that if you got hit you were black hat and very noticeably. Strange part is I seriously don't think I was black hat at all. I see way worse stuff on a couple sites that are in front of me. I am sure their help to clean up the mess they make will be oh so helpful.

fathom




msg:4573717
 9:04 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Also take note that if your site gets caught up as collateral damage you won't be able to know if it's fixed until the NEXT Penguin update as it's a periodic change, nothing you can tweak on your site and immediately escape. You have to wait for another Penguin update, and if that doesn't work another, etc.


I'm fairly certain that isn't true today... where did you gather that tidbit of info?

fathom




msg:4573727
 9:13 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

The part that gets me is he implies that if you got hit you were black hat and very noticeably. Strange part is I seriously don't think I was black hat at all. I see way worse stuff on a couple sites that are in front of me. I am sure their help to clean up the mess they make will be oh so helpful.


Whitehat = You ARE aligned to Google's guidelines

Blackhat = You ARE NOT aligned to Google's guidelines

There is no middle ground.

You are confusing detectably with factual detection.

If you have a little website greatness to your domain your threshold of webspam detectably goes up. Thus you can easily see worse things that you weren't doing but someone else can easily get away with.

[edited by: fathom at 9:44 pm (utc) on May 13, 2013]

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4573728
 9:17 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Also take note that if your site gets caught up as collateral damage you won't be able to know if it's fixed until the NEXT Penguin update as it's a periodic change, nothing you can tweak on your site and immediately escape. You have to wait for another Penguin update, and if that doesn't work another, etc.

I think incrediBILL likely means refresh rather than update, and actually, it's the next refresh after all disavowed links have been recrawled so they can be dropped from the link graph and that data can be used in the next Penguin data refresh, which only happens periodically.

So, it will likely take weeks and could definitely take months since it could take a good deal of time to get the disavowed URLs totally recrawled especially if some were "obscure" and Penguin refreshes are still not even on a weekly basis.

That's from a JohnMu hangout early this year.
If you've heard otherwise since, please cite your source.

[edited by: TheOptimizationIdiot at 9:33 pm (utc) on May 13, 2013]

diberry




msg:4573732
 9:35 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Strange part is I seriously don't think I was black hat at all.


If I knew any black hat tricks, I'd have been making more money all this time, LOL!

fathom




msg:4573735
 9:41 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think incrediBILL likely means refresh rather than update, and actually, it's the next refresh after all disavowed links have been recrawled so they can be dropped from the link graph and that data can be used in the next Penguin data refresh, which is only happens periodically.

So, it will likely take weeks and could definitely take months since it could take a good deal of time to get the disavowed URLs totally recrawled especially if some were "obscure" and Penguin refreshes are still not even on a weekly basis.

That's from a JohnMu hangout early this year.
If you've heard otherwise since, please cite your source.


I watched the same video and if you asked JohnMu the question slightly differently you'll get a different answer.

...and actually, it's the next refresh after all disavowed links have been recrawled


This is the part I strongly disagree with and I cite:

Reference: [googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.ca...]
A new tool to disavow links
Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 1:43 PM
Webmaster level: Advanced


Today we’re introducing a tool that enables you to disavow links to your site. If you’ve been notified of a manual spam action based on “unnatural links” pointing to your site, this tool can help you address the issue. If you haven’t gotten this notification, this tool generally isn’t something you need to worry about.


I can see how someone who is worried that their past exploits might harm them and disavow links in advance but if those same links are the links that created the ranks - surely the ranks will drop... not because PENGUIN detected and devalued anything... but because you did.

Thus I see no reason to disavow anything once PENGUIN has forced a rel="nofollow" onto such links... as re-forcing a rel="nofollow" ... what a double negative will create a positive e.g. dofollow link?

Wishful thinking IMHO.

Once PENGUIN drops it from the link graph... you can't make the ranks come back by re-dropping the links from the link graph.

Also important... how do you know PENGUIN devalued the "links you disavowed?"

You can cause worse damage using the tool by dropping links that weren't yet dropped.

[edited by: fathom at 10:08 pm (utc) on May 13, 2013]

gouri




msg:4573872
 2:54 am on May 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

People assuming better means keyword rich "get car widget parts", "car widget installation instructions", "car widget troubleshooting", "car widget success stories" rather than a page about car widgets linking to "get parts", "installation instructions", "troubleshooting", "success stories" doesn't mean the assumption is valid or Google's guidance is incorrect.

@TheOptimizationIdiot,

Most of the internal links (some go to other pages, some are anchor # links) in the body text (I am considering all the pages of the site here, all these links aren't on one page, but more like a couple per page) of a site that I am working on are similar to the ones in your first set of anchor texts. I have been affected by Penguin and some of the Pandas. Could the anchor texts be the reason?

If I switch them so that they are like the ones in your second set of anchor texts, do you think that this could help me?

fathom




msg:4573888
 3:15 am on May 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

...for example the Penguin algorithm, is still seeing a lot of issues around links that aren't kind of cleaned up yet


Splitting hairs but still seeing a lot of issues around links what do you suppose PENGUIN does with those issues?

Does it devalue them or does it allow inorganic links to continue passing value? The loss of results suggests it stops value being passed.

If neither passes PageRank then both drop links from the link graph so (even if you say one's a penalty) so whether my metaphoric use of rel="nofollow" is problematic for you your suggestion of a penalty has been repeated noted by Google it is not.

Also, summarized from the video you don't seem to understand very well: If Penguin has to wait for the links to be respidered to be dropped from the graph and not count, then Penguin does not nofollow the links.


That wasn't really what was said, and a 5 second look of any page even with insider tools isn't a confirmation of anything.

Did you review that website?

Your statement I quoted is absolutely false.


In your own words "Can you please cite a source that demonstrates my statement is absolutely false."

Thanks.

BTW [productforums.google.com...] here`s a quote from JohnMu that states (paraphrasing) delete the page and the bad links are no longer impacting you.

Course that sort of contradict's JohnMu future statement you suggest he made (waiting for PENGUIN to re-crawl).

Since I have deleted complete websites and negated PENGUIN completely... I don't see things the same way as you do.

naturaldry




msg:4573937
 6:22 am on May 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

I own a <keyword widgeting> website, we are currently ranked on the first page of Google. We've focused on 2 or 3 main keywords to get there through anchor text, articles, blogs, etc. There are not many "Big" companies in our field will Google push us down with this new penguin update 2.0? Or is it mostly small businesses listed in categories where it is difficult to get listed. Like "buy clothes" or "Shop Online" keywords?
.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 8:02 am (utc) on May 14, 2013]
[edit reason] removed specific keywords, market area [/edit]

fathom




msg:4574021
 11:04 am on May 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

I own a <keyword widgeting> website, we are currently ranked on the first page of Google. We've focused on 2 or 3 main keywords to get there through anchor text, articles, blogs, etc. There are not many "Big" companies in our field will Google push us down with this new penguin update 2.0? Or is it mostly small businesses listed in categories where it is difficult to get listed. Like "buy clothes" or "Shop Online" keywords?


Making predictions on what PENGUIN 2.0 will do is futile at the moment.
.

n00b1




msg:4574044
 12:17 pm on May 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have quite a lot of forum links... The good type, not ones I've actually created myself. There are several well respected forums in my niche where people link to my articles in order to help others out. I get good referral traffic from these as you might expect. I just hope Google can differentiate between this natural linking and forum spam. I think too many people think all forum links are bad, but that's surely not the case.

jinxed




msg:4574050
 12:58 pm on May 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Natural forum links are fine.

Forum links with obvious anchor text abuse isn't.

CainIV




msg:4575981
 4:03 am on May 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

Part of the issue here, as I see it, is failure to reward niche authoritative websites when they do create great content, and it is linked to extensively, and matches high usability signals.

Removing spam is great, but replacing with mediocre, or more major brand, purely because of authority count, doesn't improve the search engine.

Fact is, in most niches, in my opinion it is in fact the small business owner that is often the expert. Many times these people know more than the major brands about specific niches within verticals.

jigneshgohel




msg:4575995
 5:58 am on May 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

I don't think you will have any issue with such referral links as Google can easily identify the variation in anchor text and landing page.

If you are getting 100s of links from same forum having same anchor text and pointing to same page may have issue.

I have quite a lot of forum links... The good type, not ones I've actually created myself. There are several well respected forums in my niche where people link to my articles in order to help others out. I get good referral traffic from these as you might expect. I just hope Google can differentiate between this natural linking and forum spam. I think too many people think all forum links are bad, but that's surely not the case.

n00b1




msg:4575996
 6:02 am on May 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

@jigneshgohel

The anchor text is usually just the URL and I never see hundreds from one forum pointing to one URL. It's naturally spread out as you'd expect. So far I haven't seen any negative effect from this (pre?) Penguin shuffling. I don't want to jinx it though.

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