Penguin 2.0 – Success in the New Algorithm

Late yesterday (May 22, 2013), Matt Cutts of Google’s Anti-Spam team announced that the long awaited Penguin 2.0 search algorithm update had been deployed. Impacting an estimated 2.3% of search queries in US-English, SEOs across the country are now evaluating the algorithm change. After digging through the numbers and graphs this morning, we are ready to make a few high level observations about the latest algo update.

To start, none of our clients noticed any serious degradation other than a SERP place or two for terms other than primary ones. We don’t practice In several instances though, we’ve noticed some solid improvements in client rankings. These clients had undertaken three primary efforts from which they now seem to be benefiting. The commonalities of those improved sites seemed to fall into three categories:

  • an updated, well researched on-page tagging,
  • a linking strategy based on content, and
  • a Google+ and social media engagement plan.

On Page Tag Strategy:

All web pages should undergo a periodic re-analysis of title, description and yes.. even keyword… tag information. Keeping these tags fresh and focused on good quality keyword terms is always a good idea to maximize possible search engine visits.  In the recent update, pages that had been updated within the last month seemed to enjoy improved placement. Reconfiguring the title and description tags, even around the same essential keyword terms seemed to help.

Linking Strategy Based on Content:

Simply put, clients that distributed regular press releases, posted interesting blog articles and distributed other content, found their search engine rankings improved this morning.  This indicates that the traditional, value and content methodology works with the new algorithm. (Although Google’s Cutts contends that no SEO value exists for links contained in a traditional press release, a press release does seem to be a part of a successful content outreach strategy when undertaken as part of a blog outreach process.) Clients that noticed improved rankings were ones that issued regular press releases,  posted consistently to their blogs and developed (and executed on) a content production schedule.

Google+ and Social Media:

Similar to developing an outreach or content production schedule, a social media engagement plan seems to be the other common thread of sites that improved in placement and position following the release of Penguin 2.0. This is perhaps the most intriguing of the apparent algorithm changes.  The clients we observed that have so far come out the best were ones that engaged in an energetic social media outreach program that included Google+. One client began the Google+ portion of the plan early in 2013 and just this week hit the 500 follower level. Using Google+ to promote its blog and other content seems to have attracted readers, referrals and may have contributed to the improved search engine placement.

As the implications of the latest Penguin search algorithm update become more apparent, we’ll pass on our observations.

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