Joe Meloni

On Friday, Matt Cutts reported through Twitter that Penguin 1.2 is active on the web. According to Cutts, the algorithm shift will impact 0.3 percent of English queries. While the adjustment is minor, marketers and others using SEO have waited for the next edition of Penguin since the last update on May 25.

Penguin focuses on webspam tactics used to improve search rankings for low-quality websites. Keyword stuffing, paid links and low-quality links were among the main practices targeted by Penguin. The initial rollout of the algorithm came in late April.

This Penguin update may not be what many SEO marketers expected. At SES San Francisco, Matt Cutts hinted that an upcoming Penguin release would dramatically alter search results. Impacting less than 1 percent of queries, Penguin 1.2 could be the tip of the iceberg in what’s to come. 

In general, Penguin is part of Google’s ongoing battle to remove shallow content from its search rankings. Part of this strategy is its Panda algorithm, which encourages the same idea of bringing users quality content. The most recent Panda update came on September 27, as Panda 20 rolled out and impacted 2.4 percent of queries.

Google’s search quality algorithms will continue to evolve as sites find new ways to exploit low-quality content to improve search standing. Brafton recently highlighted Cutts’ comments on guest blogging, which can be a fantastic addition to content marketing and SEO campaigns when done right. According to Cutts, the initial Penguin launch successfully penalized sites using low-quality guest blogs to boost their rankings artificially.