Zoology: Don't get slapped by Penguin 3.0!

It's been just over a week since the Penguin 3.0 refresh was announced. Primarily looking at your site's backlink profile, Google's Penguin algorithm may demote your site if it appears to have a poor profile.

As algorithm updates go, this one was very poorly communicated by Google. Whilst they don't normally give us ages to prepare, Google only confirmed the 'refresh' 24-hours after the update was released. Very little information was provided accept for a Google+ post from a Google Web Trends Analyst. 

Bird watching

The last penguin update to be announced was 2.1 just over a year ago. Now we have got a fresh new Penguin in our midst, which has been said to impact less than 1% of English queries. Here's a quick summary:

  • It's a worldwide update that will impact all versions of Google
  • It is a slow rollout, continuing over the next few weeks
  • It will impact less than 1% of English queries, but may also impact other languages more or less
  • Demotes sites with poor backlink profiles and help sites that have cleaned up their link profiles

Unlike Google's Panda and Hummingbird algorithm updates, Penguin tends to launch globally impacting sites all over the world. It has been suggested that this strategy has been applied as Google's Penguin algorithm looks mainly a link profiles which are not language specific. Panda and Hummingbird which are focused more on content and language tend to be rolled out by language or region. 

How will it effect you?

Generally speaking when a new algorithm update is announced, Google provides Webmasters with a ballpark percentage for the number of queries impacted - in this case less than 1% of English queries. Here's a quick look at the significance of past updates. 

  • Penguin 1.0 - 3.1% 
  • Penguin 1.1 - 0.1%
  • Penguin 1.2 - 0.3%
  • Penguin 2.0 - 2.3%
  • Penguin 2.1 - 1%
  • Penguin 3.0 - < 1%

Many site owners and webmasters have been disappointed at how strict the new Penguin update remains. Whilst the intention is to cut down on spam and improve search results, many sites who have cleaned up their act have yet to see recovery. 

There is no need to be concerned however, unless you are in fact a serious offender (you would have been hit by 1.0 or 2.0 by now). Take a look at your rankings and organic search traffic to monitor how they change over the coming weeks. If you notice a sharp drop in your rankings and more importantly your traffic it is likely that you have been hit by 3.0. 

What to do if you're hit

If you notice that your rankings drop or traffic is at an all time low you will need to take the appropriate actions to recover from the update. There is no quick-fix when you are penalised but it can be turned around with a little time and effort. Here's our guide to removing your Penguin penalty.

Step One : Identify bad links and webspam

If you've employed black hat SEO you might have seen a temporary rise in rankings, but the result will be too many 'spammy' inbound links which end in a Google penalty.  Make sure that inbound links are authoritative and relevant sites not from link farms, paid links or non-industry specific forums. On-site webspam will also need to be addressed ensuring that you have no hidden text, cloaked links or are guilty of keyword stuffing. 

Check your link profile using Google Webmaster Tools or Majestic SEO

Step Two: Get removing 

To remove a spammy inbound link you will need to contact the webmasters in charge of the source site and ask your link to be removed. If they refuse or ignore your request you can use Google's Disavow Tool. Once links are removed you can file a reconsideration request. 

Step Three: Change your approach

If you don't want to ppp-pick up a penguin again we recommend that your change your strategy, focussing on building better quality links from authoritative sites. Earn links instead of  building them but turning your website into a relevant and authoritative site in your industry. 

Get my traffic back!

If you need help cleaning up your backlink profile Netmatter can help. As SEO specialists we can provide you with a full site audit detailing how to recover your site. For more information call 0845 647 1221 or email team@netmatter.co.uk. 

Catherine Durham

Catherine Durham

Digital Marketing Manager (Dip DigM)

Digital Marketing Manager at Netmatter, Catherine Durham graduated in Press & Editorial Photography. She has since gone on to work in digital marketing and ecommerce, with experience in SEO, copywriting, design and photography.

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