Summary of Search, May 2013

Around May 22nd, there was an update to Google’s search algorithms. It’s being called Penguin 2.0 (or sometimes Penguin 4) and is a major update. Matt Cutts said in a recent video that compared to the original Penguin update, this one does go much deeper. While the impact is supposed to be 2.3% of English queries, the effect is very large considering the number of Google keyword searches!

Here is the full history:
Penguin 1 on April 24, 2012 (impacting ~3.1% of queries)
Penguin 2 on May 26, 2012 (impacting less than 0.1%)
Penguin 3 on October 5, 2012 (impacting ~0.3% of queries)
Penguin 4 on May 22, 2013 (impacting 2.3% of queries)

Much of the analysis of Penguin 2.0 is still in progress, but some big brands were hit, including and even As far as we can tell so far, Penguin 2.0 penalized:
1. Exact match anchor text
2. Spammy links to subpages
3. Link networks / schemes
4. Links from de-indexed and banned websites, including old directories.
5. link velocity “spikes”

Penguin is impacting sites with unintentional webspam. We’ve seen scraper sites (targeting adsense keywords) delivering the worst links to clients’ profiles. These sites weren’t created for a link building campaign, but instead just adsense revenue for some site owner in a distant land. While they could be ignored before, they cannot be any longer. Now their penalties are our penalties. The approach we recommend is:

1. Protect
Authority link building is the only protection against both negative SEO and Penguin penalties in general. Authority links are gained primarily from great content, promotion and involvement. One authority link can beat hundreds of spammy links in the algorithm of “the new Google”.

2. Defend
Find and remove as many unnatural links as you can manually before disavowing the rest.

3. Build
Over the long term, these strategies will also help protect from Google penalties, and are of course great marketing initiatives:
a. Great content
Copy writing has gone through an evolution and cheap content is not going to cut it. Could it ever though?

b. Promotion & Outreach for Social Media Marketing & Inbound Links
Since the web’s inception, much content has been posted with little regard to promotion. Social, link building, and other outreach initiatives are vital to maximize dollars spent on premium content.

c. Brand Name Searches
Google knows big brands are searched. Their “buzz” is a signal of authority, although not yet on par with link building.

d. User Engagement
Once a visitor is onsite, engage them. Keep their interest and involvement. Good design and excellent content have never been so important. Google has been watching this for some time.

e. Multi-tiered approaches
Spread marketing dollars broadly across many initiatives. It creates a variety of signals to Google that you are legit.

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