Its the news the majority of SEOs have been waiting for…the next Penguin update (which is apparently going to be big!) is going to be rolled out by the end of this month. Time. To. Panic!
The announcement came from Matt Cutts himself on Twitter at the end of last week on the back of speculation that a major update was currently taking place across the pond.
Cutts announced that last week’s update wasn’t connected to a Penguin update, but did confirm they “expect to roll out Penguin 2.0 (next generation of Penguin) sometime in the next few weeks though”.
Now, as an industry we knew another major Penguin update was on its way but we now have it straight from the horse’s mouth that we’ll more than likely have felt the full force of the next update before the month is out.
But that’s not all! In a surprising move, Google released a video yesterday which highlighted a couple of things that Google is working on right now that could affect SEO in 2013.
Now, needless to say Google hasn’t always been forthcoming with information like this in the past so the release has raised more than a few eyebrows in the industry. I’ve embedded said video below so I’m not going to go through everything that was discussed in detail, however I will briefly touch upon the points covered.
1. They’re “relatively close” to rolling out Penguin 2.0 and it will go “deeper” and make more of an impact than last year’s Penguin 1.0 (no surprise there – at At SMX West in March, Matt Cutts announced that they were working on a ‘significant’ update – and one which he feels could be the most talked about algorithm update of the year).
2. They’re working to target advertorials and native advertising that violate their quality guidelines (again, no surprise – I mentioned how advertorials might be next on the hit list in a previous blog).
3. They’re working on two changes to tackle queries like “payday loans” where spam is prevalent.
4. They’re working to target yet more link spam.
5. They’re in the early stages of rolling out a new system for more sophisticated link analysis.
6. They’re looking to improve communication with webmasters (so that’s why they released the video!) and provide more information for webmasters who have had their site hacked.
7. They’re working to reward authority sites in niche industries.
8. They’re working on a system so the SERPs will only ever show one cluster of results from one domain.
Wow! So by the looks of it, SEOs are going to have a pretty interesting summer ahead of them, particularly if they’ve been indulging in less than white hat techniques.
Putting Penguin 2.0 and this video to one side for a minute, at the start of the blog I mentioned that there had been a lot of chatter about a potential update hitting a large number of American sites, along with other sites across the world – so what was all that about? Is it going to hit the UK too?
Well it’s pretty likely that it will hit the UK at some point but at the moment it’s pretty hard to tell what it could be… Saying that though, if we go with the majority of reports it looks like it could have been some kind of Venice update.
Never heard of it? Venice updates are all to do with local searches and organic results. In simple terms, it’s Google’s attempt to make local searches more relevant – Google looks at your location and then tries to serve up the best, most relevant results. Now, while Penguin and Panda are always in the headlines, the Venice updates have received less attention simply because they affect less sites – they only really affect sites which have a location bias and which are targeting location-specific keywords.
So did we see a Venice update last week? Maybe (Google has yet to announce anything)… but there’s a lot of chatter that many blogs have been hit, a large number of sites have seen half their pages de-indexed and a lot of single one word keyword SERP results have been majorly shaken up – so it’s hard to say whether it was a Venice update or Google just decided to tweak a large number of its algorithms in a short space of time.
So there you go; Penguin 2.0 is going to be with us in a few weeks, another Venice update might be on the way too and we’ve got a summer of SEO tweaks ahead of us.
Are you pleased to finally be within touching distance of Penguin or are you dreading it? Similarly, are you glad Google’s started to be more transparent with its information? Let us know!
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