Google's impending Penguin 2.0 update

Google Penguin 2.0

It has been just over a year since Google released the Penguin updated to their search algorithm.  Penguin's primary focus was on a combination of identifying and dealing with black hat SEO practices as well as dealing with sites that have been hacked or have malware associated with them. As Google prepares to roll out Penguin 2.0, SEO professionals are looking to Matt Cutts to help them manage the changes that will be coming.

What is this Penguin update about?

The primary foci of this update are primarily on black hat SEO practices and warning visitors about potentially hacked or malware ridden sites. Google is expanding its review process for "advertorials" that violate their quality guidelines as well.  Some of the areas they are working hard on include:

  • Improved detection of hacked sites. - While no official information has been released about this, most likely, you will be black listed by Google more quickly. 
  • Improved communication with webmasters when your site is hacked. -  Today, utilizing Webmaster tools, you can elect to receive a daily digest of issues related to your site.  Hopefully, this will mean real-time notifications will be put in place.
  • Possible differentiation between sites that are hacked and sites that serve up malware -  While many hackers will place malware serving code on your server, many do not.  This will be helpful as you go about cleaning up your website, providing you with some direction on where to look.
  • Better tools to diagnose and clean your hacked website.
  • Tackling areas that have not been so clean, such as payday loan sites. - Traditionally, spammy areas were hit hard by Penguin 1.0.  Some of the sites that were grossly affected were completely valid.  Penguin 2.0  hopes to correct the issues caused by being in a traditionally spammy area.

With the advent of Penguin 2.0, Google hopes to reduce the time interval between a site hack and warnings out to the webmaster, as well as to the general public.  To help with this, Google is also updating the Webmaster tools information to supply some sample URLs where you can go to diagnose your site.  

They will also be looking more closely at advertorials and backlinks generated from link farm sites, especially those that still pass PageRank.  This change will affect both the source site and the destination site. 

Some interesting highlights and potential side-effects of Penguin 2.0:

  • Google will still give preference to high quality content.  Content that users visit repeatedly will have a higher emphasis.
  • They will penalize paid links and paid websites that attempt to boost the rankings of other websites through backlinks.  
  • Penguin 2.0 will do a better job of giving sites who are clearly an authority in their space a higher ranking.

The Penguin 2.0 update will be released in the summer of 2013.  You can see the full video on Matt Cutt's blog.

Dealt with a "bad SEO company?"  What to do.

If you feel that you were deceived by an SEO company in some way, you may want to report it.

In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) handles complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices.  To file a complaint, visit: and click on "File a Complaint Online," call 1-877-FTC-HELP, or write to:

Federal Trade Commission
Washington, D.C. 20580