The newest iteration of the Penguin algorithm has rolled out. In a tweet by Google czar Matt Cutts at 1:50PM on October 4th it will affect ~1% of all search queries. The tweet is as follows:
Penguin 2.1 launching today. Affects ~1% of searches to a noticeable degree. More info on Penguin: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.ca/2012/04/another-step-to-reward-high-quality.html
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) October 4, 2013
For those paying attention, the link goes to the April 2012 information on the Penguin updates. This is an indicator that nothing new has been introduced and that this is a tweaking of the current algorithm sub-set. The core change (according to Google) is that where Penguin tended to detect quality issues with the homepage of a website only, this change takes it further to assessing the quality of a website as a whole. This makes good sense given other recent changes at Google which are generally seen to be pushing people to focus their energies on overall visitor experience and interaction as opposed to a focus on subsets of visitors and what you want them to do. One need only look at the removal of the keyword data from Analytics for reinforcement of this principle.
So what does this mean for you?
Nothing that you wouldn’t have gathered previously if you were paying attention for the past couple weeks. Focusing on visitor experience globally seems to be more crucial than ever and insuring that you’re putting out good, quality content on a regular basis to reinforce your knowledge or, alternatively, to give Google something to pull data from (insert Hummingbird here) and potentially distract visitors who aren’t interested in your specific product/service. In this I’m simply referring to using the information portions of your website to give your generally-bouncing visitors something to do as opposed to heading straight back to Google.
While I may have issues with the expanded knowledge graph for what it does to publishers, clearly Google wants their visitors to get their information they want quickly, on any device and decide for themselves what subset of that information they are interested in. This tells us that we should do the same, while our product or service may not fit the searchers needs, it’s becoming more important that ever to insure that we do provide them with something. As a perk, done well – that something way well serve as great link bait.