Google Rolls Out Penguin 2.0, a New Weapon Against Web Spam
According to Search Engine Land, the latest instrument of destruction in Google's battle against web spam - Penguin 2.0 - is now live. There may be confusion among the SEO media about what exactly to call the update; Google is going with Penguin 2.0, as we will as well, while Search Engine Land is calling it Penguin 4.
The updates that Search Engine Land are calling Penguin 2 and 3 were minor updates launched in May and October of 2012, impacting just 0.1% and 0.3% of search queries, respectively. The new Penguin 2.0 impacts a relatively whopping 2.3% of queries.
A Major Update Already Angering Some
If Penguin 2.0 indeed affects 2.3% of English-language queries, that's a big deal. The original Penguin covered about 3.1% of searches done in English. Plus, Penguin 2.0 will affect non-English languages as well, with the "spammiest" languages getting the biggest percentages of their queries affected.
It's also important to note that what Search Engine Land called Penguin 2 and Penguin 3 were smaller updates not just in terms of the percentage of queries affected, but in terms of what they actually did. Penguin 2.0 is based on more revolutionary, as opposed to evolutionary, algorithm changes and fixes.
So what does the update actually do? Of course, Google isn't saying, other than to note that the goal is to drop the rankings of spam sites and increase the ranking of relevant, authoritative, valuable ones. The specific algorithm changes are anyone's guess, but for some hints, you could look back to the video posted by Google web spam head Matt Cutts about 10 days ago.
In Cutts' blog post announcing Penguin 2.0, he says that there's now a form you can fill out to report any spam you see after the update. It seems likely that this form will get plenty of use, since there are already over 200 comments on Cutts' blog post, many of which are from site owners who say that despite their best efforts, spammer sites are still outranking theirs for the same queries.