[Warning] Matt Cutts – Google Penguin 2.0 is coming soon

“We’re relatively close to deploying the next generation of Penguin. Internally, we call it Penguin 2.0” answered Matt Cutts, Head of Google Webspam Team, in a video released yesterday to the question “What should we expect in the next few months in terms of SEO for Google?”

But, what is Google Penguin, anyway?

Google Penguin is a code name for a Google algorithm update that was first announced on April 24, 2012. “In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at web-spam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s quality guidelines. This algorithm represents another step in our efforts to reduce web-spam and promote high quality content.”

The Google Penguin Releases:

  1. April 24, 2012 – Google Penguin 1.0 – 3.1% English language queries impacted
  2. May 26, 2012 – Google Penguin 1.1 – less than 0.1% English language queries impacted
  3. October 5, 2012 – Google Penguin 1.2 – 0.3% English language queries impacted
  4. est. June, 2013 – Google Penguin 2.0 – ?% English language queries impacted

What to expect from Google Penguin 2.0?

A. Penguin 2.0 update

“We’re relatively close to deploying the next generation of Penguin” says Cutts. “Internally we call it ‘Penguin 2.0,’ and again, Penguin is a web-spam change that’s dedicated to try to find black-hat web-spam, and try to target and address that. So this one is a little more comprehensive than Penguin 1.0, and we expect it to go a little bit deeper in have a little bit more of an impact than the original version of Penguin.”

B. Spammy search queries

Matt says, “We get a lot of great feedback from outside of Google, so, for example, there were some people complaining about searches like ‘payday loans’ on Google.co.uk. So we have two different changes that try to tackle those kinds of queries in a couple different ways. We can’t get into too much detail about exactly how they work, but I’m kind of excited that we’re going from having just general queries be a little more clean to going to some of these areas that have traditionally been a little more spammy, including for example, some more pornographic queries, and some of these changes might have a little bit more of an impact on those kinds of areas that are a little more contested by various spammers and that sort of thing.”

C. Authority boost for websites and authors

“We have also been working on a lot of ways to help regular webmasters” says Matt. “We’re doing a better job of detecting when someone is more of an authority on a specific space. You know, it could be medical. It could be travel. Whatever. And try to make sure that those rank a little more highly if you’re some sort of authority or a site, according to the algorithms, we think might be a little more appropriate for users.”

D. Warning on advertorials

“We’ve also been looking at advertorials” says Matt .”That is sort of native advertising – and those sorts of things that violate our quality guidelines. So, again, if someone pays for coverage, or pays for an ad or something like that, those ads should not flow PageRank. We’ve seen a few sites in the U.S. and around the world that take money and do link to websites, and pass PageRank, so we’ll be looking at some efforts to be a little bit stronger on our enforcement as advertorials that violate our quality guidelines.”

“There’s nothing wrong inherently with advertorials or native advertising, but they should not flow PageRank, and there should be clear and conspicuous disclosure, so that users realize that something is paid – not organic or editorial” he adds.

E. Better detection of hacked websites

“We also continue to work on hacked sites in a couple different ways” says Matt. “Number one: trying to detect them better. We hope in the next few months to roll out a next-generation site detection that is even more comprehensive, and also trying to communicate better to webmasters, because sometimes they see confusion between hacked sites and sites that serve up malware, and ideally, you’d have a one-stop shop where once someone realizes that they’ve been hacked, they can go to Webmaster Tools, and have some single spot where they could go and have a lot more info to sort of point them in the right way to hopefully clean up those hacked sites.”

F. Penalization of link spammers

Matt says, “We’re also looking at some ways to go upstream to deny the value to link spammers – some people who spam links in various ways. We’ve got some nice ideas on ways that that becomes less effective, and so we expect that that will roll out over the next few months as well.”

“In fact, we’re working on a completely different system that does more sophisticated link analysis” he adds. “We’re still in the early days for that, but it’s pretty exciting. We’ve got some data now that we’re ready to start munching, and see how good it looks. We’ll see whether that bears fruit or not.”

G. Cluster of results from the same website in SERP

Matt says, “We’ve also heard a lot of feedback from people about – if I go down three pages deep, I’ll see a cluster of several results all from one domain, and we’ve actually made things better in terms of – you would be less likely to see that on the first page, but more likely to see that on the following pages. And we’re looking a change, which might deploy, which would basically say that once you’ve seen a cluster of results from one site, then you’d be less likely to see more results from that site as you go deeper into the next pages of Google search results.”

“We’re going to keep trying to figure out how we can give more information to webmasters…we’re also going to be looking for ways that we can provide more concrete details, [and] more example URLs that webmasters can use to figure out where to go to diagnose their site.”

H. Sophisticated link analysis

“And in fact, we’re working on a completely different system that does more sophisticated link analysis. We’re still in the early days for that, but it’s pretty exciting. We’ve got some data now that we’re ready to start munging and see how good it looks and we’ll see whether that bears fruit or not.”

I. Improvements to Google Panda algorithm

“We’ve also been looking at Panda and seeing if we can find some additional signals and we think we’ve got some to help refine things for the sites that are kinda in the border zone/in the grey area a little bit. So if we can soften the effect a little bit for those sites that we believe have some additional signals of quality that will help sites that might have previously been effected to some degree by Panda.”

J. Improved communication through Google Webmaster Tools

“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m really excited about a lot of these changes because we do see really good improvements in terms of people who are link spamming or doing various black hat spam would be less likely to show up I think by the end of the summer. And at the same time we’ve got a lot of nice changes queued up that hopefully will help small/medium businesses and regular webmasters as well.”