Penguin 1.1: Processing Outside The Main Index

Google launched an update to Penguin after the first algorithmic filter rolled out a month prior. Some deemed it as Penguin 1.1 while others called it version #2. Nonetheless, it improved on the filter’s ability to combat webspam, specifically black hat SEO techniques.

What’s It For

Matt Cutts, Google’s head of webspam at the time, announced on Twitter that Penguin 1.1 was a data refresh. This targeted update confirmed that information for the filter was being processed outside of the primary search index similar to Panda. It caused a significant stir in the webmaster community.

May 2012 also witnessed another set of monthly updates that included improvements to Penguin. The developers rolled out minor tweaks that boost signals and refresh data by the algorithm. Another change that’s closely related to Penguin was the better application of inorganic backlink signals which improves the detection of various link schemes.

Other notable enhancements affect the following factors:

  • Page Titles Google rolled out three changes to how it detects and displays page titles. First, they’ve made it so that the SERPs show more short titles for results that have lengthy headlines which need to be shortened.
    The next one pertains to improving the efficiency of title generation systems to save in CPU usage while the last focused on reducing boilerplate copies that don’t provide accurate descriptions of the pages.
  • Freshness Four freshness-related changes were announced. One improvement was on the better detection of major events to ensure that Google returns the freshest web results in real-time when a significant occasion occurs. The team also replaced several thresholds used to determine new documents with more functions.
    A new classifier was introduced to help detect users who are more likely to be looking for fresh content. Lastly, the developers rolled out a simplification to the freshness algorithms which smoothens the tuning of signals and boosts the detection of bugs.
  • Autocomplete Google also continued to enhance its autocomplete feature. With the update, the search engine may include related searches, otherwise known as refinements, in the SERPs. The function was also made to work faster on mobile networks by using more robust caching processes.
    Moreover, users can expect more high-quality predictions as the likelihood of random suggestions were reduced with this update. Lastly, there’s a boost in the handling of input method editors or IMEs in autocomplete which includes support for caps lock and improved handling of inputs according to user language.

What Were Its Effects

Matt Cutts announced that the first Penguin data refresh only affected less than one percent of English searches. However, some websites that were still trying to bounce back from the significant losses they suffered when the first update rolled out experienced even more damage to their rankings. This led to speculations on whether the update improved search or made it worse for both users and site operators.

What It Means for You

Some webmasters are still recovering from Penguin’s impact on their websites. Google has always insisted that your content should provide valuable information to users. This, along with other SEO strategies, can help boost your brand’s reach.

That’s why it’s essential that you produce linkable assets so that you can leave a majority of promotion to your loyal readers and establish yourself as an authoritative source of data. Content can come in the form of blog posts, infographics, videos, press releases, software, and other tools.

Here are the qualities of a linkable asset:

  • Usefulness – Elevate your blog post into becoming a reference by offering a new perspective on your subject matter. For example, if you’re running a cooking blog, you can create a fresh twist on a fan-favorite dish and add novel ways to achieve the same delicious results.
  • Interactivity – Each post should also be actionable; not just full of theories and principles since these will confuse readers if you don’t provide useful analogies. Ensure that you evoke positive experiences from your content.
  • Emotional Impact – Whether you’re writing a funny story or a heart-wrenching one, tugging at the emotions of your readers is a sure way to boost the value of your content. It has been found that awe-inducing articles get a lot of clicks and go viral quickly.
  • Relatability – Your company must have a clear set of values that you promote. Often, consumers base their buying decisions on whether they agree with a brand’s advocacy. Since you can’t please everybody, it’s best to choose what you stand for to cater to customers who have strong inclinations on the same beliefs.