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After more than a year, Penguin 3.0 is finally here.

The first penguin update in over a year officially started to roll out last Friday night, October 17th. The update will continue to roll out for the next few weeks worldwide and is a very highly anticipated update to the Google Penguin algorithm. The original Penguin algorithm that came out in 2012 targeted sites it deemed to be spam-like. It especially targeted those sites found in violation of Google’s guidelines about linking.
This update will impact less than 1% of English queries (but may have a smaller or greater impact in other languages). This Penguin refresh should demote sites with bad link profiles and help out the sites that were previously hit by this algorithm and then cleaned up their link profiles. By this rollout most sites should have cleaned up their acts in order to start ranking again.
Penguin 3.0 – A Refresh
Google’s Pierre Far called this update a “refresh”. There was no mention of any new signals added or any algorithm changes in any way. A refresh in Google’s terminology around algorithms means they just re-ran the algorithm to release sites that fixed their issues and demote sites that had issues they didn’t pick up on still.
This Penguin 3.0 being just refresh was a surprise to many, as people felt they just a refresh could have been done way earlier than it was. Many expected Google was laying the ground work for a new Penguin algorithm and not just a refresh of an old algorithm; this is why some want to rename this update to Penguin 2.2 versus 3.0. as it is not a brand new algorithm.
Here are dates of all Penguin releases of algorithms and refreshes:
  • 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)
  • Penguin 3.0 on October 17, 2014 (impacting around 1% of queries)
Penguin 3.0 Recovery Steps
If you notice that your rankings have dropped severely since the release of Penguin 3.0, or if your organic traffic numbers are inexplicably low over the past few days, you need to take action to recover from the update.
*Note that this will be a long-term process; there is no “quick fix” for a sharp ranking drop after an algorithm update, but with time and effort, you can turn your situation around.
Step One: Identify Bad Links & On-site web spam
If you got hit with a penalty due to this refresh, it’s probably a result of too many “bad” inbound links pointing to your website. Bad links could include but are not limited to:
·         Links on article directories, link farms, and other gimmicky aggregators
·         Links you paid for directly (other than advertising)
·         Links posted in irrelevant forums or conversations
·         Links in non-industry specific directories
Step Two: Remove the Offenders
Next, you’ll want to remove the questionable links that could be responsible for your ranking drop. First, reach out to the webmasters in charge of the source sites and ask them to remove your link. If they refuse or are unable, or ignore your request, you can use Google’s Disavow Tool, in Webmaster Tools to notify Google that you would like to disavow your site’s relationship with those links. Removing a link is better than having to disavow, but must be done if it’s your last resort.
Step Three: Reassess your strategy
Build better links on better sites with a strong content strategy. Instead of building links, think about how you can earn them. Turn your website into a magnet for links, attracting them with amazing content, rather than building links that may feel forced and come off as spammy.


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