Penguin Questions & Concerns Cleared Up: An Interview With Google’s Gary Illyes

At Pubcon 2016 in Las Vegas, I had the opportunity to speak with Gary Illyes, the self-proclaimed Chief of Sunshine and Happiness at Google. About what else? Penguin, of course.

With the dust finally (somewhat) settled following the latest Penguin update in September, there’s still a lot left unknown and much that needs to be cleared up.

We get to the bottom of some of the finer details of Penguin in the interview below.

Here are some key takeaways from the video:

  • With this release of Penguin, Google has been able to achieve something that hasn’t been done before with web spam algorithms. Now, instead of demoting a site for having bad links pointing to it, Penguin just disregards the bad links.
  • Another major difference with this version of Penguin is it is more granular. Previously, if a web spam issue was detected, the algorithm would demote the entire site. Now, Penguin can assess websites down to a page-level and discount links pointing to that page if needed.
  • Illyes says this release of Penguin is “the nicest web spam launch we’ve ever had”, because of three main updates:
    • It ignores spam rather than using it as a negative ranking factor.
    • It can devalue pages at a more granular level, which means entire sites will no longer we wiped out of Google.
    • It runs in real-time.
  • Because Google now ignores spammy links rather than issuing penalties, negative link campaigns are no longer something to be worried about. However, Illyes says he has seen no evidence of a malicious link campaign ever working in the first place.

Please visit SEJ’s YouTube page for more video interviews. For more information about visual storytelling, please see the following resources:

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Author: Brent Csutoras

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