Not to be confused with its furrier cousin Panda, Google’s latest Penguin algorithm update (3.0) began rolling out Oct. 17, 2014. Google’s own Pierre Far dubbed this particular version a “refresh.”
This worldwide update continued its gradual rollout for weeks following the October “soft launch,” so while the biggest wave(s) have likely hit, there could still be some sites affected by small changes in ranking.
Originally launched in April 2012, Penguin (1.0) sought to punish pages that were trying to spam Google through a variety of “spammy” practices, such as keyword stuffing or “cloaking,” as well as buying links or obtaining them through link networks designed primarily to boost Google rankings- all of which are in direct violation of Google’s guidelines.
This version aims to help site that were hurt by the last Penguin update and have done a “reboot” of their sites, so to speak, over the last year.
Pierre Far made the following statement in a Google+ post on Oct. 21,2014:
“This refresh helps sites that have already cleaned up the webspam signals discovered in the previous Penguin iteration, and demotes sites with newly-discovered spam. It’s a slow worldwide rollout, so you may notice it settling down over the next few weeks.” (Pierre Far, Google)
In the midst of all of this, don’t forget that Google rolled out it’s 4.1 version of Panda in late September, which may be confusing webmasters and SEOs who are trying to figure out which algorithms are affecting their sites. That’s not all, the latest Pirate update also hit not long after all of this in late October.
Penguin Update FAQs
So what happens when a Penguin update is released? Websites that have gotten rid of bad links and made attempts to remove spam may be able to regain their previous ranking.
How can you tell if you were hit by the latest Penguin update? Has your search traffic dropped off in the last month? Then it’s possible you were hit. If you saw a rise in traffic, then Penguin helped you.
What to do if you were hit by Penguin update 3.0
Go through your site with a fine tooth comb to identify anything that Google can possible flag as spam. Then, correct it. It’s a fairly simple process that will hopefully get you back up in the rankings. The good thing is, if you were hit, now you have a better idea of what Google considers spam or “spam-like” and you know what practices to avoid in the future.