Google’s Penguin 3.0: What to Make of All the Speculation

Google Penguin 3.0

(October 31, 2014) First things first: what is Google Penguin?  

Announced back in 2012, Penguin is the code name for a Google algorithm update designed to decrease search engine rankings of websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

These sites were penalized for the deliberate manipulation of search engine indexes.  It was just announced that Penguin 3.0, the first change in over a year, began rolling out on Friday, October 17.  But don’t call it an update…

Refresh vs. Update

Some people have been referring to Penguin 3.0 as an update, but, in reality, it’s not.  An update would mean changes to the algorithm, but Penguin 3.0 is a refresh, meaning that Google is just running the algorithm again.  Here are some more facts regarding Penguin 3.0:

-It began rolling out on Friday, October 17 and will continue to do so, slowly, over the next few weeks.

-Supposedly, it will only affect around 1% of U.S. English queries.

-The main goal of the refresh is to assist sites that have corrected any web spam issues since the last refresh and to penalize and demote sites that have been “spammy” since the last refresh.

…But What Does This All Mean?

Reliable SEO news and information sites such as Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal have already joined in on the conversation, but they, wisely, haven’t jumped to any conclusions as to what this refresh will mean in the end.  Several sources have been speculating wildly as to what could happen as a result.  Will it have a small impact?  Will it have a large impact spread across several days and weeks?  Is the refresh targeted at a specific industry?  These questions are all just conjectures at this point.  The full impact cannot be assessed until the refresh is finished, so there is no need to panic or jump to conclusions.

If anything, Penguin 3.0 will be a lesson in good online practices.  Instead of using black-hat SEO techniques or engaging in spammy activity, simply be a reliable source of information and resources that people can trust and feel satisfied with.  Otherwise, Google may just punish you for it.