On May 13, 2013 Matt Cutts gave us a heads up that a new version of the Penguin update would be launched soon. On May 22, sure enough Google released Penguin 2.0. For those unfamiliar with the first Penguin (read more about it here), the update basically changed the way Google looked at links. Up until then inbound links could never hurt your web site. However, Penguin changed this by looking at both the quality of the links and the anchor text used. This update was horrible for most SEOs who might have relied on link spam to get top rankings. Also, the update caused issues for legitimate sites who were suddenly were vulnerable to negative SEO attacks, which involved simply building lots of really bad links to a competitor web site.
So how is Penguin 2.0 Different?
Penguin 2.0 takes the whole process a few steps further. The goal is to crack down on link spam and artificial link boosting methods. This means cracking down on the following:
link networks – This form of link building arose when clever SEOs built a list of websites where they could post their client links. Link networks were developed where companies would allow people to post their links across these lists. Penguin 1.0 had cracked down on this type of link building strategy and even several companies were put out of business by Google, but Penguin 2.0 has better methods of detecting these types of link networks.
ad links or advertorials – Paid links from high PR sites were another means of building strong links to sites. These ad links or advertorials will be ignored as a means of link juice or could even harm rankings, though it is still not clear if Google plans to go that far because it would mean an end of online advertising.
adult, gaming, pay day loans – These industries are homes to possibly the most active link spammers. As a result Penguin 2.0 will according to Matt Cutts be paying special interest to them.
Google Penguin 2.0 Casualties
The update was said to have affected only 3% of of search results. But already many companies have reported being hit hard by it loosing up to as much as 60% of their search engine visibility. Some of the notable companies include: the Salvation Army, 1channel.ch, dailydot.com, ets.org and porn sites like tube8, xhamster and pornhub.
Surviving Penguin 2.0 requires sticking to what works: building quality links to your site. Usually this means building quality content and hoping people will link to you. Also, I imagine a greater emphasis will be played by social signals like Google pluses, Facebook likes, and other social shares.