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Penguin 2.0: What to Expect With Google's Latest Search Update

Google Penguin 2.0Matt Cutts who is the head of Google's Web Spam Team confirmed on his Twitter account that Google's latest version of the Penguin update will be released within the next few weeks.

Penguin 2.0 will continue to devalue link spam and weed out sites that try to match Google's search algorithms with the help of SEO strategies like on and off pages. While the first rollout had an impact on only a handful of search engines, Penguin 2.0 will surely affect a larger audience.

Here are three things we can expect from Google's latest search update.

Smarter Link Spam Detection

The latest Penguin update is significantly more sophisticated than Penguin's first rollout, and it has a better understanding of the context of link spam.

It will be able to trace links between pages that do nothing but rank the page higher in search results since Google has assembled a huge amount of data from the link removal requests submitted by the Google disavow tool.

Depicting the Types of Links

Penguin 2.0 will be able to identify link spam by gauging a number of parameters including links from websites that are built exclusively for SEO, links that use overly-optimized anchor text, links from adult sites and links of sites that are irrelevant to the content of a concerned page.

Relevancy is Key

Penguin 2.0 will also encourage webmasters to acquire backlinks from reputed websites which is a good thing because a single high quality and relevant link from a reputed website is better than a hundred low quality and irrelevant links. Webmasters will thus feel the need to generate quality content so that they can share backlinks with other websites offering quality content.

Each of Google's updates has helped improve the quality of content on the internet and reduce spam as well as information that are either low quality or incorrect. While webmasters might be threatened by Penguin 2.0, the point is it will help users find quality services and information.


Tips for Using Google's Disavow Tool

It is about three weeks since Google's Penguin 2.0 went live. Unlike the 1.0 version that was released last year, the Penguin 2.0 looks at more than just the homepage for over-optimized backlinks.

If your website has a backlink portfolio that heavily uses exact phrase match anchor text (of your target keywords,) you may have noticed that you have lost your search engine ranking as a result of Penguin 2.0.


In the event you have been victim of Penguin 2.0 and you need to recover, your best recovery strategy is to use Google's Disavow tool. Below we share some tips for using the Disavow tool and to help you recover your keyword search rankings.

Disavow Tool Tip 1: Link Audit

Start by conducting a link audit. You do not have to use third party backlink tools since Google Webmaster Tools (also known as WMT) will handle the task efficiently. Mary Haynes, a leading authority in SEO, has stated that she only uses WMT links to get manual penalties removed and they work well. Go to Google Webmaster Tools and select your site. Select traffic, then links to your site, go to more and click on 'download latest links' button. Export to Google Docs or CSV.

The Disavow tool will analyze this data to determine the links that you need to Disavow and keep them in a separate file. Get rid of the links that do not conform to Google's guidelines by deleting them from this file. Make sure you have documentation of the whole process. Log into Google Webmaster Tools, go to the Disavow Tool and choose your domain. When you click on Disavow Links, you will be requested for a file containing the links you wish Disavowed. Upload the file you made (of the files you want removed) and you will be done.

Disavow Tool Tip 2: File Format

In most cases, people fail using the Disavow tool effectively because they did not use the right format for Disavow files they upload. The correct format for uploading a file is the text format (*.txt). When you upload your files in any other format such as *.doc or any spreadsheet file format, the system will reject the file meaning your reconsideration request will not be successful.

Disavow Tool Tip 3: Domain Command

To list sites that you have gotten a lot of bad links from, use the 'Domain:" command. Examples of sites that give a lot of bad links are spammy forums. Avoid trying to list and identify multiple URLs from the same domain. Such a move is ineffective as you are likely to miss out on many links. Remember to use the 'Domain:' command correctly. It should be followed by the domain name, e.g. Domain:

Disavow Tool Tip 4: Separating Files

Avoid describing what is going on in the Disavow links text file. Instead, you should use the reconsideration request report for such a description. Remember to keep both these files separate. If you put in any context in the Disavow links text file, the system may reject it causing your reconsideration request to fail.

To learn more tips and insights about Google's Disavow tool, check out this great post written by Cyrus Shepard. If you're planning to use the Disavow tool, we wish you the best of luck!


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