Penguin 3.0

After 352 days of waiting, the Penguin 3.0 update was released…

‘Hooray’ for many,
‘Boooooooo’ for some,
‘Meh’ for others…


penguin standing up












On the 17th October, reports began circulating indicating huge changes in rankings and people began to assume this was the effect of Penguin. This was later confirmed to SEO Roundtable by a Google official source.

The start of a new era (or maybe not)…

The first people that started to notice the effects and analyse the findings were the people working on a weekend…

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 10.25.54








Digital marketing agencies and SEO enthusiasts around the world began to blog, tweet and post pictures of cute penguins relating to the latest update to a Google algorithm, one that by all accounts was massive!













Since the 4th October 2013, SEO’s have been counteracting the affects of Penguin 2.1 and have had to wait 352 days to see any kind of results in this. Unfortunately and somewhat frustratingly, results of any link building, link removal and link disavowing can only be analysed when Google release the update.

Now that it has finally arrived, there is a fresh set of data to examine and I can finally consort to the cryptic ‘(or maybe not)’ in the subheading. Whilst a number of webmasters reported changes to certain client’s rankings, for others, no changes in the rankings were found and it was merely an algorithmic update that wasn’t worth the wait.

What did we find?

The best way to shed some light on this topic is to use real life examples collated from the data available to us.

Lets start on a positive note…

positive penguin update





This beautiful, upward cliff face is what makes an SEO’s life worth living!

Look how majestically it rises from the 17th October when the Penguin 3.0 update began rolling out.

This particular client doesn’t have tens of thousands of backlinks, but what this does prove is that the Penguin Update is further honing in on its ability to see the relevance of links. The site has a number of high DA links from companies within the respected industry. Although it is merely speculation, we can assume the algorithm has become more complex, more advanced and ultimately more accurate.

The data also tells us that we are doing a good job. The advantage (probably the only one) of only getting results in intervals is that big changes like this are likely and if it’s a positive one, it’s a great morale boost. If you’ve seen a similar thing for a client or your own business, stick to what you are doing for that particular company… Your strategy is working!

The negative…

If you are easily frightened, look away now…

negative penguin update




Yes, whilst the new update has done great things for some clients, it has had a completely opposite effect on others.

Realistically, we were expecting negative results, especially after the catastrophe of previous Penguin updates. Unfortunately, due to alphabetical reasons, the update seemed to have been amazingly kind… until this client beginning with the letter Y popped up.

The site came to us only a few months back in pretty bad condition, especially the backlink profile which contained a number of spammy, unnatural links and unfortunately it seems we were defeated by time.

The non-movers…

As previously mentioned, the update in some cases has had literally no effect.

Now usually I would insert another graph here, but a graph containing a straight line would be pretty boring, right? So instead… here’s another adorable picture of some penguins!










So cute… Anyway, the reason this seems to have had no effect is fairly unknown to us. Has the update finished? According to John Mueller, “Penguin 3.0 is completely rolled out” as far as he knows.

However, this has been contradicted by another member of Google, Pierre Far, who has said ‘the update will roll out over the next few weeks’.

Ultimately, it is hard to determine whether the unaffected clients will be affected within the next few weeks, but we will keep you updated.

So what does it all mean?

Realistically and in my opinion only, I believe the biggest thing the update has taught us is whether the strategies put in place are working or not. The clients that have seen positive data from Penguin… Yes. And vice-versa for the clients that have seen bad results.

It either means you stick to what you have been doing for the past year or come up with a new strategy. For the clients which have seen no changes so far, maybe take a step back and wait for confirmation that the update has fully rolled out. Once you have this, assess the situation again and determine your strategy going forward.

For sure, one thing it has taught us is how to prepare for a future Penguin update – Assess your link building strategy, change it if necessary and work very hard to continue adapting to this complex algorithm.

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