Penguin 2.0 - Reporting Spam Manually
Less than a day after the release of Penguin 2.0, Matt Cutts (head of the webspam team at Google, whose job it is to create algorithm updates like Penguin) announced on Twitter that the general public will now be able to report spammy sites that got missed by the latest round of Penguin.
Reading the response to this announcement, it's clear that there is a lot of anger towards Google from webmasters whose sites have been deranked while others seem to have been left unscathed. However, Google has always been very clear on the issue; if a site violates their guidelines then it's a matter of 'when' rather than 'if' with regards to it being caught. It's just bad luck that some got found sooner than others.
The tool can be viewed at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1rhRenrd16MDSgAOwnMVx9KQbp--0JoY9vKiJdIcMe44/viewform
This certainly isn't the first time that Google has used user submitted information to investigate spam sites. Ever heard of the disavow tool?
For those of you who haven't its a tool which allows webmasters to say to Google "please ignore links from this website, it's a spammy link". This is great for the webmaster, but it's almost certain that Google's main reason for introducing the tool was to give them a vast database of websites to investigate, far beyond what they could locate with their own small team.
This database will then have been analysed, patterns located, and careful maths programmed into the search algorithm in order to locate these sites automatically. Data from the disavow tool is likely to have been a key driving factor behind Penguin 2.0.
Our opinion on the new Penguin update so far: very positive.
All our clients' rankings are up this week, so that's great for our clients and great for us. It's also great for Google's users, because we know that a lot of our clients fight against sites who have abused the search engines and did not deserve their positions.
This is the first real sign of Google saying not only "don't get bad links" but also "here's what will happen if you do".