Penguin 2.0 - the Beastie Returns

The latest of Google's updates to its Penguin algorithm has been released and is already taking effect across global search engine results. The question is how this will ultimately affect users' Web presence. To answer this question, it is best to take a closer look at some of the answers to the most commonly asked questions concerning Penguin 2.0.

Q.: What exactly is Penguin 2.0?
A.: Expanding on previous updates - the controversial Panda and Penguin updates that impacted significant search result percentages - it is the name for the latest search engine algorithm updates by Google. It is called the 2.0 in spite of actually being the fourth update on Penguin, because it includes a massive overhaul that is expected to impact more than two per cent of US English queries. How much other language queries will be affected depends on the amount of spam present in such languages.

Q: What is the point of algorithm updates?
A.: In essence, search algorithms are constantly improved and updated in order to provide results of consistently high quality and relevance. Factors now included consist of site quality, relevance, user experience (ease of use, navigation, and so on) and more. Penguin 2.0 basically targets sites apparently using so-called 'black hat' practises for SEO and/ or spam-packed techniques in order to try and manipulate rankings. If detected, such sites will be penalised with penalties, while sites offering relevant and valuable content to users will be awarded with higher rankings.

Q: How can users avoid getting 'bitten' by this new Penguin?
A.: Google's Webmaster guidelines lay out a very strict code of conduct. The best way to prevent issues arising from Penguin 2.0 is to be aware of the guidelines and ensure that a site is fully optimised to adhere to - or comply with - this code of conduct. Those adopting the Google recommended best practises and keeping informed of developments and updates to algorithms typically find avoiding penalties comparatively easy.

Q.: How can a negative impact be detected?
A.: Keeping track of site analytics is vital in order to determine whether the new algorithm changes are having a detrimental impact on any given site. Once such effects are detected, it is essential to deal with the issues causing the site to be penalised swiftly and effectively to prevent dropping into 'obscurity'.

Final thought...

Like Panda and the original Penguin, this new beastie is really only a threat to those who are trying to abuse the system. Those following guidelines and doing their best to provide visitors with a pleasant, informative experience generally have very little to fear.

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