Penguin 2.0 went “live” last night. I am seeing mixed reports from around the globe from “my family is going to starve” to “my family is going to use our extra Google traffic to fund our next holiday.”

Here is what I know: it ain’t over yet. Whether that means more rollouts of the changes Mr. Cutts talked about in his video, or whether that means new updates in the future, it ain’t over. It will never be over as long as Google drives traffic, and people want that traffic to make money, and aren’t willing to pay Google directly for that traffic.

These are the things that have become very clear throughout all of the Penguin rollouts:

  1. Links are still THE core of the algorithm. If they weren’t there would be no point in penalties, warnings, and disinformation.
  2. Authorship isn’t as close to being a viable signal for them to use to separate good links from bad links as some may believe. Again, if it was, things like guest posting wouldn’t be thrown around as targets. You would just devalue the posts quietly and call it a day.
  3. Google is using webmaster data to make changes. Things like link warnings and the disavow tool are being used to help Google connect the dots on link strategies, because at the end of the day distinguishing good from bad link signals is hard, and again links are still THE core of the algo.
  4. Google is using categorical relevance of content (site and page level) to target (where the link points to) to evaluate how natural a placement is. Kind of like finding the 42 year-old bearded dude at Chuck E. Cheese that isn’t there with a kid. That ain’t right. I think some will say that the filtering of these type of posts will be authorship based, but I think it is more so a relationship between the two web pages on a categorical level.

I think the summer will be thick with more changes for people focused on search, and so my advice is the following: Google-proof your marketing.


Stop focusing on doing stuff just to rank in Google. It’s an insane cycle that has been created. I need Google traffic, I build stuff to get that traffic, that stuff gets me killed in Google and has no value beyond that platform, I scratch my head and chase the next cheat.

That is the definition of insanity.

Here is what Google obviously wants:

  1. Brands – Websites people are talking about, not just linking too. Co-occurance – the occurance of two terms on a page. Like when people write “Dave Snyder is handsome and you can read more from him at” my author bio may start ranking for “handsome” (fingers crossed).
  2. Awesome high quality content that gets traffic from lots of places (high quality content written by experts).
  3. Links to that awesome content without crazy-ass exact match anchor text.

If you are going to build links, do what Google wants: good marketing.

  1. Contribute awesome content ongoing to relevant sites in your niche. One-off placements are a pretty easy thing for Big G to pick up on.
  2. Link back to articles and awesome content on your site as resources in this content not your homepage or product pages.
  3. Use great onsite tactics to assure the value of these links flows internally.
  4. Steer clear of publisher posting sponsored reviews and adverts with followed links, even if your stuff is natural, that’s going to be a dangerous hood.

There will still be holes in the algo, and if you choose to chase them just realize your focus is Google specific, and from a sustainability perspective is flawed. In short, accept that your wins will be short lived, and ride the roller coaster.

If you want to Google-proof your strategy, we know a lot of creative people that would be willing to help you get there 😉

Good luck this Summer.