As you probably know Google has rolled out the new generation of Penguin update (the 2.0 version) last week. It was an update that everyone was waiting for but I don’t think it made such a big impact as some people claimed it would.
Matt Cutts said that this update will be even bigger than the one we’ve experienced last year, but to be honest, I haven’t seen a lot of changes. Spam sites still rank high and quality sites keep getting pushed down lower and lower.
I imagine some people did get a nice boost in rankings that was well deserved but I still see a lot of websites dominating serps that should not be there.
Before this update was rolled out Matt released a video where he talked about what we should expect to happen when they integrate Penguin 2.0 into the algo.
You can check it out below.
According to his video the new update was supposed to target sites that use blackhat link building to rank in Google. Matt also stated that they will dig deeper into backlinks so that it’s even harder for people to game the system.
The way I understand it is that Google will devalue some link building methods like link pyramids, comment spam, tiered link building etc.
Google will now also look at the authority of your site and rank your pages based on overall topicality of your content.
I haven’t noticed any changes to my search traffic after the update. It’s pretty much the same since February when I got the unnatural link penalty revoked. I thought it would help my blog get back the trust it once had but I guess it won’t happen any time soon.
Google still filters me out for a lot of my keywords even though some of my pages rank good for related keywords with less traffic volume. It’s almost like they limit the amount of impressions they want to serve for my url.
Anyway, so when the update was announced I started looking around to see how the search engine results are shaping up. To my surprise the sites that are literally obviously using blackhat techniques continue to rank untouched.
For example, let’s take a look at the “make money online” key phrase. It’s quite competitive obviously but there are a few sites on the front page that shouldn’t be there at all.
The top site also is ranked with blackhat methods but the one I wanted to show you is more obvious. I took their url (makemoneyinternett.com) and plugged in to MajesticSEO.com tool.
I found some interesting backlinks from hacked sites that make this page rank on the front page of Google for this term.
It took me literally a few seconds to realize what they were doing.
For example, I found one of their hacked links to be on: http://www.mytights.com/blog/tag/opaque-tights/
You can’t actually see it unless you view the source code. After taking a closer look I found this piece of code in their HTML code:
<div style=”display: none”><a href=’http://makemoneyinternett.com/’ title=’job in the internet for home’>job in the internet for home</a></div>
Notice the “display: none” tag? That’s what makes the link invisible to the real visitor and also proves that they are getting links from hacked sites.
There are more examples like this and what’s funny is that this stuff works quite well. Spammers are literally laughing all the way to the bank while you are trying to follow Google’s guidelines and only engage in white hat SEO.
I thought that all those sites will drop like a hot potato after the update but I was wrong. It seems like just another failed update by Google…well at least for now that’s what it looks like.
Maybe the stuff that Matt was talking about will actually hit later this summer and backlinks from hacked sites will no longer pass any value, but for now it seems like it still works.
I am surprised that Google has not fixed this issue long time ago. It shouldn’t be hard to discount those links automatically.
So where do we go from now?
It’s getting extremely difficult to rank nowadays for juicy keywords. It seems like only big brands with huge budgets are able to reach the front page while small businesses are nowhere to be seen.
Search used to be a playground for everyone to play in. Now it’s all about the money and who has the most of it. If you can’t afford paid advertising or running viral social media campaigns that drain your wallet then you can forget ranking in Google.
Content is valuable but without the right budget to market it you are wasting your time.
I remember the days when you could start a blog and rank fairly easily within 2-3 months for your targeted keywords with purely white hat techniques. You didn’t have to buy links or try to game the system. Content was more important and it made sense to build a bigger authority site rather than trying to create 100s of minisites.
But to be honest, right now focusing on just one website is a mistake. One update can destroy everything you worked hard for even if you didn’t do anything outside of Google’s guidelines.
If you got hit by this update I would switch to paid traffic as soon as possible and start exploring other options. Do not rely on Google or you will end up very disappointed sooner or later.