Published: 23 October 2014

On Friday the 17th October 2014, Google confirmed that they had released the first Penguin update in over year, with the launch of Penguin 3.0. The Penguin updates are the updates from Google that are designed to tackle the spam sites problem, particularly focussing on clamping down on poor link building techniques that violate Google’s link building guidelines.

Penguin History
Google have released a number Penguin updates since 2012 and Penguin 3.0 is the sixth in the series. Here is a breakdown of the releases as they happened:

  • Penguin 1.0 - on April 24, 2012 (impacting 3.1% of queries)
  • Penguin 1.1 - on May 26, 2012 (impacting less than 0.1%)
  • Penguin 1.2 - on October 5, 2012 (impacting 0.3% of queries)
  • Penguin 2.0 - on May 22, 2013 (impacting 2.3% of queries)
  • Penguin 2.1 - on Oct. 4, 2013 (impacting around 1% of queries)
  • Penguin 3.0 - on October 17, 2014 (impacting around 1% of queries)

Penguin 3.0 Reveals More For Penalised Sites  
The one element that has meant that this update has been eagerly anticipated is the fact that since the last change a year ago, those sites that have been penalised by Google and have been undertaking steps to undo a penalty have had to wait until this refresh a full year later to see if there changes have worked.  

If the removal of spam links has been successful then it is likely that these sites will see improvements in traffic but for those sites that see no change, it will mean trying different tactics and then being at the mercy of Google until the next update is released (whenever that is). Having said that, Google have eluded to the fact that will put processes in place to make updates more frequent, which may counter act such problems.  

Another point that is worth bearing in mind is that there is a possibility that you may see a drop in rankings by association. Effectively, you may not be hit by Penguin but if a number of sites that link to you are effected by Penguin 3.0, then those links that were previously passing on value, will no longer do so and so you may see rankings and traffic drop slightly.

Worldwide Roll Out  
Google have now also confirmed that this is a worldwide roll out due to the fact that the focus of Penguin is on links and any language issues that may have been a barrier to a worldwide Panda roll out don’t exist for Penguin. Another factor may be that Google are trying to get this done as quickly as possible so sites that have been undertaking poor link building practices, are appropriately dealt with. It remains to be seen what further effects this will have but it is so far estimated that this update will only effect 1% of English speaking search queries.  

As we would expect some sites will benefit from the change and others will be feel a negative impact. So far none of the clients we are working with have been effected from our daily audits but we would love to know if you have seen an fluctuations in traffic since this update and share your thoughts.

Josh Whiten

Digital Marketing Director


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