Google cleared up online speculation by confirming that Penguin 3.0 is indeed in effect. So, who has been affected and how can a site recover from a Penguin penalty?
In the wake of Panda 4.1 last month, Google has rolled out another update – this time to their Penguin algorithm. These updates prove that Google is working harder than ever to clean up the web, which is good news for sites that have employed a long-term SEO strategy.
Google’s Penguin algorithm was first announced in April 2012. In a nutshell, the algorithm targets sites which are deemed to be spammy, particularly those which are found to violate Google’s guidelines about link schemes. The last Penguin update was over a year ago, and those who were penalised last time have been eagerly awaiting Penguin 3.0 in order for any remedial changes they made to take effect.
If you get mixed up between Penguin and Panda, here is a simple breakdown:
So, Penguin evaluates the link profile of a website and penalises those which contain spammy or unnatural inbound/outbound links. Panda looks at the quality of a site’s content and targets those which contain low-quality content.
Who has been hit this time?
After a scour of twitter’s community, there appears to be a mixed response to Penguin 3.0, but very few have reported any negative fluctuations in their rankings. This is a good sign, as it shows webmasters understand the importance of adhering to Google’s mantra of providing search engine users with relevant, quality search results – an experience which isn’t provided by sites which use irrelevant or spammy links. This also shows that Google values sites which are legitimate and those that ensure that their link profiles are relevant and provide value to their site visitors.
Those affected are likely to be sites which may have purchased links to their website or link to sites which are deemed to be spammy in an attempt to gain a higher SERP (search engine results page). Manual Google penalties are sent directly to your webmaster tools inbox and offer insight into how these issues can be fixed, these changes can be made and you can resubmit your site to be indexed.
Unfortunately, a Penguin penalty is more difficult to recover from. Those who are in breach of Penguin’s guidelines are required to remove the offending links or use the disavow tool to tell Google to ‘ignore’ any irrelevant inbound links. Then it’s a waiting game, as these changes only come into effect when the next Penguin update is issued. However, Google have hinted that this recent update has a system which allows refreshes to happen more recently.
Of the impact that Penguin 3.0 has had, Kelsey Jones says,
None of my clients were hit by this recent update… Amazing content is the only thing that is Google update-proof. Google will never penalize useful, unique content that the user is actually looking for. Instead of spending your time on trying to beat Google algorithms, you should be focusing on asking yourself what your ideal end user really wants.
Kelsey Jones, Managing Editor, Search Engine Journal
While Google has confirmed the existence of the Penguin 3.0 update, they have yet to issue their own report, which could mean that the full effect of Penguin 3.0 may yet to be seen. Watch this space!