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SEO Update: May 2013

There wasn’t a lot of SEO news to report during May 2013, but the news that rolled out of the Google was actually pretty big; the much anticipated roll out of Penguin 2.0.

It wasn’t the only news, but it was by far the biggest. Here’s the SEO news you need to know from the last month.

Penguin 2.0

Last summer Matt Cutts promised that the next Penguin update would be, “jolting and jarring,” and last month, Google said that they wouldn’t be announcing big algorithm updates anymore.

With all this hype, most SEOs expected Penguin 2.0 to be an apocalyptic event that reigned havoc in the night.

Though it impact 2.3% of English language queries, Penguin 2.0 wasn’t nearly as bad as anticipated – for most industries. Black hat hot spots like the porn business saw some major drops (eight of the 25 most impacted sites were porn sites.) Gambling sites, however, seemed to come out in pretty good shape.

And as for that claim that Google wouldn’t be announcing algo updates? That didn’t last too long as this Tweet from Cutts on May 13 proved:

…we do expect to roll out Penguin 2.0 (next generation of Penguin) sometime in the next few weeks…

Domain Clustering Update
Google’s domain clustering update didn’t get nearly as much attention as Penguin 2.0, but it could have a much bigger impact on gambling sites. According to a video update from Cutts, Google has quietly tweaked its algorithms so that multiple results from the same domain don’t appear so many time on the same search.

Domain clustering is a big challenge for Google because while legitimate sites could offer pages of great results on a single topic, that’s not what end user are necessarily looking for. Further complicating matters is the fact that spammers are quick to adapt to any changes in domain clustering rules.

The latest clustering update falls right in the middle by showing a cluster of up to four results from the same domain on the first page; but limiting results from that domain on subsequent pages.


Google has always been serious about fighting spammers but over the past couple years, they seem to be gaining an edge. The best thing that legitimate SEO practitioners can do to stay out of the middle of this brawl is to stick with white hat, Google-approved SEO.

Did you notice any impact from May’s SEO events? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.