Google has released some details via it's GoogleWebmasterHelp Youtube channel about some major Google Algorithm Updates that will be taking place in 2013. The big news that Matt Cutts revealed is that Google is releasing Penguin 2.0 in an effort to continue to cut-out Blackhat and spammy link building tactics from search engine results.
What should we expect in the next few months in terms of SEO for Google?
Matt Cutts, Mountain View
From what I can tell that was said in the video Penguin 2.0 will most likely go deeper than the original Penguin update Google made to it's search algorithm last April. That means if you using duplicate content without linking to the original source, using automated link building software, basically any BlackHat link building tactics or whatever your websites will likely get harder hit this time around. “This one is a little more comprehensive than Penguin 1.0” commented Cutts in the video. “We expect it to go a little deeper and have a little bit more of an impact than the original version of Penguin.”
The other change that webmasters and sites owners should be aware if is that Google doesn't want sponsored posts or paid advertisements passing on PageRank to sites that have paid for links. This violates Google's quality guidelines and I have a feeling that the Penguin 2.0 and the next set of Google Algorithm updates might make sponsored posts harder to rank. It is possible i fewer companies will want to pay for links if there is no PageRank or traffic benefit for doing so. You could always keep it secret though.
Google will also be providing more tools to webmasters that have hacked sites. “We hope in the next few months to roll out a next generation of hack sites detection that is even more comprehensive.” Cutts also said that Google will be working on communicating to webmasters so they know when their sites have been hacked sooner. It seems they will accomplish this by having more comprehensive info in Google's Webmaster Tools and a “One stop shop” as Cutts puts it, so when someone realizes they have been hacked they can go get the resources they need to clean it their site.
It also seems authority sites with great content will be getting a boost from Penguin 2.0 and the next Google Algorithm updates happening in 2013. Google wants to serve up sites with content, “According to the algorithms, might be a little more appropriate for users.” So authority sites in certain areas, like medical or travel, could be seeing a spike in traffic for certain keywords in the coming months.
Some websites that might have gotten unfairly hit by the Google Panda update back in February and April 2011 might get a reconsideration. Since Google Panda affected roughly 12% of search engine rankings, there are probably a lot of sites that were unfairly hit. Most were not hit unfairly however.
A possibly change will be that Google will have less site clustering on search engine result pages. “Once you've seen a cluster of results one site, you'd be less likely to see the more results from that site as you go deeper into the next page of Google search results.” said Cutts. It sounds like this change is not definite but will likely be something that Google will roll-out.
Matt Cutts explicitly states in the video people should take what is said, “With a grain of salt.” Google could move resources around and decide to make different updates to it's search engine if the need arises. It sounds like for the most part a lot of these plans will be rolling out over next few months in 2013.
What was most surprising in the video was actually nothing that was said by Matt Cutts, but he is wearing a Firefox T-shirt! 🙂 I noticed it immediately and I assume the Google execs and Chrome team probably were not too happy about it. Most likely they didn't know until the video went up. Google is a pretty cool place to work if they allow employees to wear T-shirts that represent competitors products. (I am writing this blog post using Firefox by the way.)
Anyway, bottom line is if you were affected by Penguin or Panda and still do BlackHat link building techniques, Google is coming for you. If you just have a simple blog or website and are not engaging in shady practices you should be fine as long as you have a good SEO gameplan with great content for users.
Matt Cutts did announce on his personal blog that Penguin 2.0 officially rolled out on May 22, 2013. About 2.3% of English language and US based queries have been affected at this point.
What are your thoughts about the Penguin 2.0 and Google Algorithm Updates for 2013? Please leave a comment below and let me know how you interrupted the video if you are a webmaster, Search Engine Optimizer, or just think I am plain wrong. Hopefully that isn't the case though.
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