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First Pandas and now Penguins : Google’s effort to make SEO more humanly

In a constant approach to rank genuine content sites higher on search pages and to fight the malpractices of SEO, Google’s head of webspam Team, Matt Cutts, in his recent blog post announced the rollout of Penguin 2.0 (or Penguin 4) which is referred as the next generation of Penguin Webspam Algorithm. Google aims to move its search algorithm towards searching content rich sites which can serve the real purpose for people. It will further encourage websites owners to develop better and more humanly content.

The first Penguin Update which was initially called ‘Webspam algorithm update’ was launched back in April 2012 aimed at decreasing  rankings for sites that were violating Google’s existing quality guidelines by using Webspam techniques like Keyword stuffing, Link Schemes etc.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is not an unfamiliar term. Webmasters and website owners are using SEO Techniques since late 90’s to improve the search result and rankings of their website’s so they can attract more visitors. SEO make a site more crawlable and internal pages more accessible and easier to search.

White hat SEO are techniques which conforms the search engine guidelines and involves no deception, it helps create great content that is user centric and not designed for search engines.

Opposite of White hat SEO is Black hat SEO techniques which are malpractices opted to achieve higher rankings and traffic and involves deception. These techniques are disapproved by search engines and websites using it are penalized. This Black hat SEO is also known as spamdexing, search spam, search engine poisoning or Webspam as loopholes to promote the website in search.

Before Penguin, In February 2011, Google launched a series of algorithm updates called Panda which were aimed to lower the rank of low quality sites and return higher quality sites in top in search results. Following year in January 2012 , Google launched page layout algorithm update which ranks websites based on the content above the fold so users can get content rich pages and not Ads during the search.

Google Penguin has seen three releases since its launch , i.e, Penguin 2, Penguin 3 , Penguin 4 (Penguin 1 being the original release). 2nd and 3rd releases were just data refresh with minor changes and so were called Penguin 2 and Penguin 3. But Penguin 4 is a major change and an update in the algorithm so being referred as Penguin 2.0  internally. These updates affected search queries in English and other languages, here is the list:

Releases Date Impacting Queries
Penguin 1  24-April-12 ~3.1%
Penguin 2 26-May-12 >0.1%
Penguin 3 5-Oct-12 ~0.3%
Penguin 4/2.0 22-May-13 2.30%

About 2.3% of English-US queries are affected to the degree that a regular user might notice according to Matt who further asked users to report spammy websites which are coming in search results via special spam report form for Google to check it out. Webmasters and SEO experts are keeping a close eye on what sites are getting under radar and are losing rankings in terms of search visibility.

According to some claims porn sites, game sites and big brands like, the Salvation Army, CheapOair and Educational Testing Service etc. has been hit in less than 24 hours and it will be interesting to watch how things will unfold as experts expect a major change in search results following the update.

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