Google Penguin 3.0 arrived over the weekend


What does Penguin 3.0 mean for you

The march of the penguin continues, only this time it comes in the shape of Google’s Penguin 3.0 algorithm update, and Morgan Freeman wasn’t narrating. Search Engine Land announced yesterday that Google had been in touch to announce the roll-out of the update on Friday, and answered all the speculation that had been being thrown around over the last few weeks.

Penguin has seen six updates since its first roll-out in April 2012, and it aimed to penalise websites and webmasters who were building spammy links and using manipulative techniques to build their Google rankings. Here’s a look at the first five updates, and what impact they had on the % of queries:

  • Penguin 1.0 on April 24, 2012 (impacting 3.1% of queries)
  • Penguin 1.1 on May 26, 2012 (impacting less than 0.1%)
  • Penguin 1.2 on October 5, 2012 (impacting 0.3% of queries)
  • Penguin 2.0 on May 22, 2013 (impacting 2.3% of queries)
  • Penguin 2.1 on Oct. 4, 2013 (impacting around 1% of queries)

What Happens When Penguin Bites You?

If you’ve been hit by any of the Penguin updates in the last two-and-a-half years, chances are it was quite a traumatic experience. The loss or search engine rankings – not to mention the drop in traffic – is enough to give anyone a heart attack, but when you’ve been obtaining links in a variety of ways (not all of them legit), Google had to take action eventually.

The way to deal with the issue has been to carry out a link audit and cut out all the unnecessary – and low quality and paid-for – links with Google’s disavow tool via Webmaster Tools. If you have received a manual penalty then you will be going the extra step of contacting all of the webmasters to try and get the links removed, documenting every move and resubmitting a reconsideration request to Google.

If you’ve done an effective job of getting rid of the bad links and have several high authority trusted links, chances are you’re going to be pretty happy when the effects of the 3.0 roll-out are complete.  Google’s purpose as a search engine is to show the most relevant results and the backlinks that create trust and authority for a website form one of over 200 ranking factors.

Check out Search Engine Journal’s reportage from Friday. They covered many reactions to the new update, and it also featured this interesting quote from Brent Csutoras, who is the co-founder of Alpha Brand Media and SEJ’s social media strategist:

“For years Matt Cutts and other visible search engine employees have supported social media marketing to get natural links. The issue is when people take that extra step to try to influence the link instead of letting the content naturally earn the links it deserves. This is no different to any other paid link that Google frowns upon.

For instance, Infographics are great for getting good natural links, but it becomes a problem for Google when people start slipping SEO links into the embed codes or they start paying sites to publish them and provide a link back to their client.

Penguin‘s refresh just further demonstrates their dedication and focus to eliminate any manipulation in the link-building process, pushing people to focus more on quality content and content marketing practices.”

The key point to remember here is: Stop trying to manipulate the system. You’re going to get caught eventually. Why not save yourself the time and effort and focus your efforts on being truthful, real, and as organic as possible? Create great content that people want to share and link to. The rewards will come to those who bide their time and stop thinking about short-term gains.

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