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Google Penguin 3.0: Way better than Beverly Hills Cop 3

Posted On: February 6, 2015

To be fair, everything’s better than Beverly Hills Cop 3. (Seriously, that was a very bad movie.) But we digress: We’re here to talk about Penguin 3.0, the Google algorithm change that focuses on reducing spam on the Internet, giving users a better search experience.

It’s true that Penguin 3.0 is estimated to impact about only 1 percent of search queries, which admittedly doesn’t sound that consequential. However, every alteration to Google’s algorithm can have significant impact both at present and in the future.

All businesses need to understand how Google’s changes work so they can alter their marketing strategies as necessary. We’re still pretty early in the release, so it will be awhile until we get significant data, but here’s some of the information we and other industry analysts have been able to glean so far:

Taking on spammy links

After being dramatically impacted by previous Penguin updates, many businesses worked hard to clean up their sites. Google was especially interested in cleaning up results by penalizing links that were spammy in nature. Some businesses were disappointed that, despite hours of hard work to clean up inbound links, they noticed little improvement in their search rankings.

Preliminary reports indicate the latest update might have finally taken all that hard work into consideration. One marketer began receiving emails from clients almost immediately noting that their sites had increased significantly in ranking for some keywords.

If you notice your site visits dropping over these next few weeks, you might still have cleanup work to do.

A global rollout

The Penguin update affects all Google users across the globe, primarily focusing on English queries. It may also impact foreign-language queries to an unspecified degree. Instead of calling it a complete update, Google’s Pierre Far contended it was more of a “refresh.”

According to Search Engine Land, this means that the site merely updated its algorithms to release those sites that had repaired their issues after the last update and pinpointed any issues that might have been missed by previous updates.

As a result, sites that didn’t repair issues but remained high in search results could be dealing with sudden drops in their rankings.

Far confirmed that the update is designed to demote those sites that still have bad link profiles, with those who have worked to improve the quality of their site links seeing a promotion.

Your particular site might not see immediate results, but watch your site’s analytics carefully for to see whether you’ve seen any sudden changes in organic search rankings recently or do so in the near future.

There’s probably more updating to come

Because Penguin 3.0 was a refresh instead of an update, some in the industry are saying it should be termed Penguin 2.2, showing expectations for a major update in the future. After waiting a year and only seeing a small change, some insiders are wondering whether this refresh is just laying the groundwork for far more substantial alterations to Google’s approach.

Sites that are on top of their game likely won’t see a significant impact from these rollouts. This is especially true of sites that focus on high-quality content and resist the urge to indulge in long abandoned activities like keyword stuffing. As we’re noted many times before, having high-quality content is always the best way to avoid sudden drops in your local rankings.

Sites that are still seeing an impact should take measures to identify outside sites that are linking to them. Those inbound links could be seen as spammy, especially if you paid for them.

If contacting the original source doesn’t result in the link being removed, site owners can use Google’s Disavow Tool to try to have the link disregarded by its algorithms.

The full effects of Penguin 3.0 should be more evident in the coming months, and we’ll keep you apprised as we learn more about it.

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