24 Oct 2014

Google Penguin 3.0 Update: What You Need to Know

Earlier this month Google’s Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst and Search Quality Engineer, said at SMX East to expect the rollout of a Penguin refresh. Google confirmed to Search Engine Land that it updated its Penguin filter on Friday October 17th, 2014. This latest update is one of the most anticipated in history, with rumors of roll outs earlier this year and over the summer proving to be untrue.

This is the sixth release of a Penguin aimed algorithm update the first dating back to April 24, 2012 and most recent Penguin 2.1 over a year ago on October 4, 2013. Those familiar with Penguin will remember that this particular filter focuses on a few things:

  • Over-optimization: aimed at sites with a high percentage of exact match anchor text backlinks
  • Links schemes: purchasing links, private blogger networks
  • Spam signals: irrelevant or unnatural backlinks, spammy redirects, bad neighborhood links and concentration of links to internal pages

Dr. Pete Meyers with Moz wasn’t seeing signs early in the week of October 20th and other SEOs were frustrated with this seemingly weak update – according to tools. By Thursday October 23rd SEOs in this Webmaster World thread started reporting an uptick in rankings, after rumblings the update had already rolled in. Looks like we’re in for more in the coming days. Christoph Cemper with LinkResearchTools.com dives deeply into Penguin 3.0, arguably one of the first in depth posts worth checking out. He uncovers a few winners and losers such as Ebay and notably sites in Australia.

What Makes Penguin 3.0 Different?

Experts are still combing over the winners and losers with the preview of Penguin 3.0. The full details on what exactly Penguin 3.0 focuses on are still being investigated, but early indications reveal a continued focus on eradicating the above offenders from the index. Additionally, experts are starting to sound off with their disappointment, that it was “underwhelming” and “disappointing” at best.

Vertical Measures’ Art Enke, Director of SEO stated the following:

Art Enke“So far Penguin 3.0 doesn’t seem to deviate too much from earlier versions. However, it seems many webmasters have prepared thoroughly for this update by updating disavow lists in Google Webmaster Tools and we’re still waiting to see the positive effects from that. Our own internal scan of client sites reveals there hasn’t been much movement up or down as a result of the latest update so we are still in ‘wait-and-see’ mode.”

We’re committed to staying on top of industry changes, Penguin 3.0 announcements and further research by industry leaders. What are your early predictions? How are you holding up after the most recent update? Tell us in the comments below.

Check out some of our Penguin content over the years to get caught up on this algorithm update.

1 Comment

  • Papi Mezzano Oct 25, 2014

    Thank you Kaila for a concise update and for tossing Art Enke in there.