As any Disney fan knows, penguins are cute, fluffy creatures, but if you are a web publisher or SEO professional, you have probably come to hate penguins with a deep and abiding passion. Yes, you guessed it, Google has just released its latest anti-spam algorithm update: Penguin 3.0.
James Owen The Head of Search here at Click Intelligence predicted that Google would update Penguin in October during the monthly Click Intelligence Notebook: How To Prepare For Google Penguin 3.0 Update
What is Penguin?
For those who aren’t familiar with previous Penguin updates, Penguin targets websites considered to have dubious backlinks that are in direct contravention of Google linking policies. It was designed to combat black-hat SEO practices, although somewhat inevitably many ordinary websites were caught up in the crossfire.
The first Penguin update was released in April 2014. Since then there have been several smaller updates, but the last major release was back in May of last year, so Penguin 3.0 has been a long time coming and has therefore been highly anticipated. Speculation has been rife all weekend, but although there were definitely big changes afoot in the rankings, it wasn’t until Sunday that Google finally confirmed it had updated the Penguin algorithm filter on Friday evening, U.S. time.
So What Can You Expect from Penguin 3.0?
The key thing with Penguin is that if you are affected, you have to wait for the next major update to see whether (or not) the changes you have made have been effective. Since the last update, webmasters have been removing or disavowing spammy links. If your strategy has been effective, you should be seeing a big jump in organic web traffic since Friday night. If you have seen a fall in traffic, then your strategy might not have worked, although you should bear in mind that a fall in traffic and ranking may be as a result of links further along the network being discounted and therefore ‘link juice’ drying up. Be warned: if you only got around to disavowing spammy links in the last three weeks, you will not have gained anything in this update
Earlier Penguin updates saw re-runs of the algorithm a few weeks after the main update was rolled out, so you can expect something along those lines again this time. Google has also warned that the “next few Penguin updates will take longer”.
Many are already seeing significant changes in the level of organic traffic, which is a good sign that recovery work after the last major update has largely been successful. There are likely to be big fluctuations over the next few days, but if your website has been hit by Penguin, the damage will become apparent fairly quickly.
How to Deal with Penguin 3.0
Google has described the new algorithm as “softer”, but Google does seem to be getting better at identifying bad links. Since it is very difficult to have bad links removed, the only sure-fire way to check your links is to download a link profile and manually audit each one. It is a painful process, but adding each dodgy link to a disavow file will help your site recover once the next update rolls out.
Have you been hit by the latest Google Penguin update? Need advice on how to recover? Or need safe link earning strategies? Speak to one of our Click Intelligence SEO experts who would be happy to help you