Google Algorithm

Google’s Penguin 3.0: Everything You Need to Know

On Friday, October 17th, Google confirmed that algorithm changes have been made, and that the long awaited Penguin update is finally here. The internet is buzzing with interest and expectation, as many have awaited the release of Penguin hoping to regain rankings from previous penalties. The previous Penguin updates have been influential thus far, so here is what to expect during and after the update has finished.


A Little History

Penguin is a name for a series of algorithm changes that have been updated over the last few years. The original Penguin update was released on April 24, 2012. Since then there have been multiple updates released periodically.

  • #1 – April 24, 2012
  • #2 – May 25, 2012
  • #3 – October 5, 2012
  • #4 – May 22, 2013
  • #5 – October 4, 2013
  • #6 – October 17, 2014

Although there are not specific names for each update, the most common names began on the fourth update, when Google announced that they released Penguin 2.0. Therefore, the latest update is being called Penguin 3.0.


The Penguin algorithm is part of Google’s ongoing efforts to target websites practicing black hat SEO techniques, particularly those who bought links. The update lowers the search engine rankings of these sites to ensure quality content is presented in SERPs (search engine results pages), as well as those who practice web ethics.


Note: Black hat SEO is a technique of artificially improving one’s rankings in the SERPs by:

  • Buying links
  • Participating in link schemes
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Useless content for the sake of utilizing search engine spiders
  • Hidden text for search engine spiders
  • Doorway Pages
  • Cloaking

For those website that have practiced black hat techniques in the past and were hit by penguin, these websites have suffered huge losses of traffic due to their rankings decrease in SERPs.


Why Another Update?

The websites that were penalized by Penguin in the past, whether or not they have removed links or improved for Google standards, have had to wait for a new update in order to be recognized as a corrected website, and regain rankings. That being said, the course of the year that we have waited for a new update from Google has been painstaking for some websites.


Also, for websites practicing shady SEO techniques (some have flown under the radar), Google continues to update with Penguin to police and clean up the internet and rank sites based on the quality found therein.


The Update & Its Effects


Although it was first speculated that the Penguin update had already ended, Google later announced that the Penguin Update 3.0 will be ongoing for a few weeks. Pierre Far announced that the algorithm update will effect one percent of English Queries, but that the update is global.


What’s Next?

Due to the fact that the update is ongoing, we can only speculate what will happen to websites. The update is merely a refresh of former algorithm changes, so we should see expected results. The update will be great for formerly affected websites, as they may regain rankings. For some it may be a problematic refresh which deems their website as spammy. If you feel that you are hit by this update, you should look into recovery right away. The update is an automatic and continual occurrence, so continue thinking about creating clean, white hat SEO websites, with earned links, and quality content.