Google Penguin 2.0: Are You Nervously Watching Your Traffic Stats?

If you don’t compulsively hit refresh on your site’s traffic stats, you might want to go and take a look.

Google has released the latest – and highly anticipated – update to its anti-spam algorithm, Penguin 2.0.

WordPress users could be forgiven for welcoming the news with trepidation. After the last major update a year ago many sites took a massive hit in traffic… including WPMU.org

Spam
We don’t want spam, but we do want Google to recognise sites with genuine and authoritative content.

This time, the roll-out hasn’t come as a surprise. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, announced on his personal blog on May 22 the roll out of the next generation of the algorithm was complete.

“About 2.3 per cent of English-US queries are expected to be affected to the degree that a regular user might notice,” Cutts said.

“This is the fourth Penguin-related launch Google has done, but because this is an updated algorithm (not just a data refresh), we’ve been referring to this change as Penguin 2.0 internally.”

In the comments of Cutt’s blog post, a reader suggested it was “stupid” creating a truly authoritative site that was helpful to users because it was easier creating “20 throwaway affiliate spam sites with just some token content and spam them to the top” because the site could “end up sitting on the wrong side of the math during the next algo update”.

Cutts replied: “We have some things coming later this summer that should help with the type of sites you mention, so I think you made the right choice to work on building authority.”

Cutts also mentioned that denying value upstream for link spammers wasn’t incorporated in the latest update, only hinting “That comes later.”

In the latest episode of This Week in Google (#199: A Pixel Sandwich), Cutts said 2.0 was going to have a “big impact on spam”.

“It is a leap. It’s a brand new generation of algorithms. The previous iteration of Penguin would essentially only look at the homepage of a site. The newer generation of Penguin goes much deeper,” he said.

After the launch, Cutts tweeted a spam report form where people can report faults.

Time will only tell what impact Google’s fourth Penguin-related launch will have on WordPress sites. For now, we’ll be nervously watching our stats…

How has your site been affected by the Penguin 2.0 update? Tell us below.

Credits: Derdento, Nemo