It’s been nearly six weeks now since the Google Penguin 2.0 update roll-out and I’ve got to admit, it just feels like business as usual. Maybe that’s partly because I’m no longer agency side, so not exposed to the daily scaremongery surrounding the fallout, such as obsessively serps checking in case any clients drop and wondering how to tell those that have. It may be this, or some other reason, but the update just doesn’t seem like a big deal! That’s not to say it’s not important, it is. Anything Google does is serious in one way or another for eCommerce (and other) companies that rely on the internet to generate business, but as we all adjust to the reality that online visibility is no longer simply chasing keyword rankings, it’s comforting that there are many other methods of building brand awareness and bringing traffic to your website. However, that’s probably a blog post for another day, for now back to Penguin 2.0.
Here’s a round-up so far of what people are saying and what the landscape looks like at the moment:
As expected, SEOs around the world wanted to be the first to comment as soon as the update was announced. There’s some great articles to read, including these from Search Engine Watch and State of Search, both of whom presented some strong stats about the winners and losers of the update in its immediate aftermath. The general consensus at the time was that the update may not have gone exactly according to plan, and certainly not what the world was expecting. In certain competitive niches, high authority sites that had previously dominated the space disappeared, replaced by clearly spammy sites SEO’d to the hilt with crappy backlinks from low authority sites – this wasn’t supposed to happen. If we are to believe the Google hype, then white hats are supposed to be rewarded for working extra hard to engage the market and earn natural links. However, you only have to read the comments on Matt Cutts’ blog (and every other post on the subject) to get a sense that not all is well in Penguinland. Here’s just a handful of my favourites:
and my personal fave (for the sarcasm)…
Even Rand Fishkin made a contribution (albeit in some apocalyptic lets-all-hold-hands-before-the-end-of-the-world type gesture)
And today, if you do a Google search for ‘Penguin 2.0 Update’ you get a mixed bag of results; the relevant blog posts you’d expect to see from this search query, wikipedia of course, and this amazingly brazen display of SEO prowess, which I love:
The reason I love this so much is because if Google worked properly, there’s no way this site would be on page 1. It’s essentially a squeeze page, designed with just one goal. It’s an EDM (exact match domain) which are supposed to have been devalued. According to Open SIte Explorer it has just 8 referring domains. It purports to be an information site, but this is a facade to generate leads. And brilliantly, it uses Matt Cutts to accomplish its goals!
In any other niche I’d be blasting this site, by the way, but it’s just so ironic in this context.
On 11th June Johnny Artis wrote this for Econsultancy, posing the question: Has Google Got It Wrong? But also presenting evidence that acquiring more unique referring domains appears to be the forward path, provided of course that those links are on relevant, high quality sites. And by high quality, Johnny categorises these as DA50 or higher, explaining that low – moderate quality sites with DA below 50 are typical of easy to acquire cheapo SEO tactics – so the bar is set high!
Then on 18th June Paul Bruemmer wrote an article for Search Engine Land called Is Link Building Dead? Obviously the answer is no. It’s an interesting read which brings us back into the mindset that link building is about building relationships, spotting opportunities, and exercising PR and Marketing activity.
And, also on 18th June, Chad Pollitt published 4 Reasons Content Creators Should Celebrate Google Penguin 2.0 for Content Marketing Institute, in which he dissects Matt Cutts’ video and explains how each statement applies to content marketing.
So that brings us up to date, well 11 days shy. I’m sure I’ve missed a lot of people out who have interesting things to say, but the big players seem to have gone a bit quiet when it comes to Penguin just lately. I’m sure it won’t be long before it’s back in the headlines, but until then….