Penguin 2.0 (It's Here Whether You Like It Or Not)
Late yesterday evening Matt Cutts, head of Google's webspam team, confirmed that the much anticipated Penguin 2.0 / Penguin 4 update had been officially pushed live. Thanks to early warnings, the vast majority of webmasters knew several weeks ago what was coming. This is the first time the Penguin algorithm has been updated since October 2012 and promises to usher in a new era of spam-fighting techniques to demote rankings for websites using spammy tactics to climb their way to the top of organic search results. Early reports are showing that some of the biggest losers of this refresh are exact-match anchor text links and blog network link spam. Consequently, some of the early winners look to be branded terms for many sites that continue to follow Google's guidelines of building quality content for the user.
Many speculated that when Google launched the Disavow Tool last October, they would utilize the collected data to better combat certain types of spam, such as link networks & exchanges. Given the assumingly large amount of data at their disposal with 9 months full of disavow submissions, it would be an unimaginable waste of good resources to simply ignore said data. I believe that this data was definitely taken into consideration, to some degree, for Penguin 2.0 and will continue to be a "crowd-sourcing" method to assist Google in the ongoing fight against webspam.
After a few weeks have passed and the true repercussions of this update have had time to sink in, we will be updating our AlgoSleuth Tool for Penguin 2.0 so that you can check to see if your site was negatively affected by this latest Google Update. Stay tuned!