Taking a Close Look at Penguin 3.0

Algorithm updates are something that are dreaded by all webmasters because it means they have to put in a lot of effort into ensuring that they can maintain their search engine rankings and also keep the organic search traffic coming on to their websites. Therefore, they weren’t very pleased when Google announced the release of Penguin 1.0 algorithm update in 2012. In the next year, the search engine giant introduced the next iteration of this update in the form of Penguin 2.0. A year later, we have Penguin 3.0 coming our way, which was released on Friday, October 17th. Like previous rollouts, Google hasn’t provided a lot of details about the update, as it doesn’t want any loopholes to be exploited.

The update was rolled out without any official announcement and no major changes were seen even though on October 20th, Monday, Google’s Jon Mueller said that the update was complete and the Penguin 3.0 would affect websites that aren’t clearly articulated in the guidelines of the search engine. However, on October 21st, Tuesday, another statement was issued by Pierre Far, which highlighted that this update was simply another refresh to the previous updates that have already been issued. The purpose of Penguin 3.0 is to benefit websites that have taken the steps of clearing up webspam when penalized by previous iterations of Penguin and demote all those websites that are newly discovered with spam.

He also added that this rollout was going to affect sites globally, but it was a slow process. Therefore, changes to rankings and traffic would become obvious in a couple of weeks as everything settles down. According to the data provided, about 1% of search queries made in English would be affected by this update, but it may affect other language queries more or less; this hasn’t been specified by Google. In simple terms, websites in any region or language will be vulnerable to the impact of Penguin 3.0.

The company hasn’t provided information about any new signals that may have been added to the algorithm in Penguin 3.0 as it has only been dubbed as a refresh. This could mean that the algorithm was simply re-run in order to release websites that have fixed the issues pointed out by previous updates and demote the websites that hadn’t been picked up on. Hence, some websites will see an improvement in rankings if they were penalized in previous updates while others will take a hit if they are using spammy links.

Google has clearly mentioned that Penguin updates focus on linking strategies due to which the following practices should be avoided by websites:

  • Excessive exchanges of links
  • Selling or buying of links
  • Links that have optimized anchor text in press releases and articles
  • Bookmarking site links or submitting them in low-quality directories
  • Distributing links widely in the templates and footers of websites
  • Creating links via automation

As long as these practices are avoided, the Penguin 3.0 hit wouldn’t affect the websites, meaning their rankings and traffic will stay safe.

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Yogesh Agarwal
Yogesh Agarwal


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