It seems as though Google continues to be more transparent than in the past, which is great for webmasters. At the Search Engine Strategies conference in San Francisco last week, I had the chance to take part in a Q&A with the famous Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team.  One of the attendees asked Matt about the Penguin update and what it meant going forward.  I’m paraphrasing Matt here, but he said that webmasters should expect Penguin updates to continue and to be “jarring” for a while.  Matt also specified that links would continue to be a primary factor in determining the ranking of a website.  I think that’s why Google is devoting so much time and resources to Penguin, which is in some respects an audit for the validity of links across the web.

The conversation continued on the Search Engine Roundtable blog post, where Matt clarified his comments about the continued release of the update. “We’re still in the early stages of Penguin where the engineers are incorporating new signals and iterating to improve the algorithm. Because of that, expect the next few Penguin updates will take longer, incorporate additional signals, and as a result will have more noticeable impact.”  In other words, the Penguin update will continue to evolve and probably have a larger impact on websites as the updates are released.

In a further showing of transparency, Matt Cutts answered a question via Twitter that asked what webmasters could fix in order to avoid being caught off guard by future Penguin updates. Cutt’s response? “…certainly links are a primary area to monitor. Been true all this year; expect to continue.”

Knowing the focus of Penguin will continue to be on the links to and from your auto dealer website, make sure you talk to your dealer website provider.  Do they have a plan to deal with future updates?  How are they tracking which sites link to your website, and which sites you are linking to? It’s important to take the transparency Google shows and use it to put your site in the best situation possible to weather the future Penguin updates.