Is the Google Penguin out to get You?

Google's Penguin 3.0 update is intended to be a hero, not a villain.
Image courtesy of batman.wikia.com.

Did you hear the news? Google has just upgraded to Penguin 3.0. Do you know what this means for your website? Before we dig into to the new update, we should mention what Google Penguin is. Google Penguin was the name assigned to the Google Algorithm update announced in April, 2012. Google’s algorithm is composed of hundreds of factors, which determine where pages will rank within Google’s search results.

Although Google does not reveal specific details about the updates, data is gathered from multiple SEO sources, mapping out the changes. The original Penguin update penalized websites that Google believed engaged in link spam. Many people have found tricks in Google’s ranking system which help their pages rank higher than they should. Instead of improving the quality of content on a page and optimizing for relevant search terms, they have decided to ignore the Google Terms & Conditions to benefit their website, or websites.

Fortunately, many of these black-hat SEO “professionals” have been penalized, or banned, due to Google’s Penguin update. Google is not opposed to SEO as long as it is done correctly. Their updates are generally implemented to ensure that the most organically relevant pages are appearing highest on the search list.

Penguin 3.0
The Penguin 3.0 release took place on October 17, 2014. SEO experts have been analyzing data to see if any correlations have been found with particular changes. We know that it probably reinforces past efforts to punish those who use link spam in attempts to boost their SEO rankings, however, there is no sure answer this early into the release.

In fact, SEO reporting stations are showing different effects. There is no clear correlation just yet.

Although we do not yet know what effects this update will have, we can look at past Penguin updates. SearchEngineLand released a small list showing how impactful past penguin updates have been on Google search queries.

  • Penguin 1.0 on April 24, 2012 (impacted 3.1% of queries)
  • Penguin 1.1 on May 26, 2012 (impacted less than 0.1%)
  • Penguin 1.2 on October 5, 2012 (impacted 0.3% of queries)
  • Penguin 2.0 on May 22, 2013 (impacted 2.3% of queries)
  • Penguin 2.1 on Oct. 4, 2013 (impacted 1% of queries)
  • Penguin 3.0 on October 17, 2014 (impact not yet determined)

Many websites that were affected by the past Penguin update may see their rankings increase, if they have made the necessary changes to fix their websites. When and if these websites report changes, we may be able to gather more information about the update.

SEO professionals around the globe are studying the changes to see what Penguin 3.0 brings to the table. For now, we must wait. We recommend checking your SEO rankings to see if your website has been affected.

The best way to avoid being hunted by the Google Penguin is to follow SEO best standards and practices. Avoid adding links for the sake of link power. When you create a link, make sure that the anchor link text (hyperlink text) and the content on the page are relevant. Search engine marketing is not intended to be a process, but rather a continuous effort to improve your page rankings, and ultimately user experience.

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