Less than 12 hours after I posted the Google SEO article about the upcoming Penguin 2.0 Google algorithm update, it arrived! When I wrote the article, I didn’t expect changes to come this quickly.
Today I was checking out some of the trusted forums that I follow and started to notice marketers mentioning or complaining about a sudden change in their rankings – for the worse. I immediately knew what had happened, but was still surprised.
There was a common theme among the marketers who had suffered a drop in rankings. Most were good marketers who only did white-hat marketing strategies. They were helping their clients in niches with big authority competitors. None had instituted any new tactics recently or made major changes to their site. None had used automated software for syndicating spun content or used linking bots.
The Penguin 2.0 update is the biggest one that Google has added since Penguin first came out just over a year ago on April 24, 2012. This new update in the algorithm is expected to impact ~2.3% of search queries.
One factor that may be having the most weight is “Authority.” If you read my Google SEO article and watched Matt Cutts’ video, you will recall that he mentioned giving more weight towards sites with Authority. This is important for so many reasons. We have been focused on “authority” for many years now. There has not been a conversation we have had with a prospect, client or colleague when we didn’t talk about authority.
Over the upcoming months we are going to discuss this concept of Authority in more detail. For now, what does it really mean?
In some of the forums, people were chiming in that Authority meant that it was a big company with a big marketing budget and a big following. I would beg to differ. That has nothing to do with authority by itself. It certainly makes it more possible as long as those companies are smart, but it does not hurt a smaller company’s ability to play in that sandbox.
Here are a few things that I believe affect Authority signals:
- Current sites, frequently updated with high value content that people want to share
- A natural sharing pattern with all content (not fabricated ‘likes’ or fake facebook views, etc)
- Produce content about current topics within the field (think trending phrases)
- Have other authorities referencing or mentioning them (not just linking, but co-citations and co-occurences)
- Business mentions and citations (even for national and global brands – it’s not just for local SEO anymore)
- Etc., etc., etc. (we will dive deeper over time)
For now, we recommend you just keep an eye on things. Don’t panic. See what happens and see how other companies and marketers react. It is about to get interesting…