A Penguin 3.0 algorithm update was rolled out last weekend; more than a year after the last Penguin update came.

Impact of the update was noticed in Google search results late Friday night. However, SEO industry is unsure about the changes the update will cause in the search rankings. We analyzed the rankings of sites we manage after Penguin 3.0 update and did not find anything to suggest any of them got hit by the algorithm refresh. However we did found increase in rankings for almost all clients of ours.

As of now it looks like a major algorithm change rather then just a refresh. We can clearly see that more signals have been added to the algorithm compared to Penguin 2.0 Cyrus Shepard of Moz published a few screenshots displaying data from various SEO reporting stations:

Some reporting stations around the world demonstrated sharp inclines, while some showed sharp declines. There were others that did not show much of the variation

Google Penguin 3.0 Arrives: Big Recovery for Penguin 2.0 Hit Sites- Small Businesses Gain!Dr. Pete Meyers of Moz checked the available data to find there have been no signs of any large scale shakeup in the SERPs. Even if it was there, the change seemed to be limited to a few sites. He retweeted later that the data was unlike the previous Penguin updates.

Google Penguin 3.0 Arrives: Big Recovery for Penguin 2.0 Hit Sites- Small Businesses Gain!Russ Jones of Virante suggested that Penguin 3.0 eluded the SEO volatility tools and they may have to revisit these to build a proper system.

Reports coming from all around are mixed. Some SEO’s who have been dissecting the data since they have seen no signs of any large-scale shakeup in the SERPS: At the same time, some reporting stations have shown sharp inclines and declines in the rankings.

It more seems that smaller sites (read businesses) who were hit previously by Penguin 2.0 have gained rankings. This explains why most of the SEO reporting stations failed to notice any change since they track high volume keywords only.

At SMX East Google representative Gary Illyes confirmed that they would update the algorithm in near future. They did it just a few weeks later on October 17, 2014 at around 11pm EDT, as per our estimates.

Gary had said Google had been working on the algorithm for over a year for a major rewrite. The objective was to make up things for webmasters as well as users.

The only factor that makes a website steady through algorithm updates is useful, unique content developed for the end users. Rather than trying to get better of the algorithm, SEOs and webmasters must research what the end users expect and develop a site accordingly.

Efforts of webmasters to push aggressive link building may also result in getting penalized inadvertently. Latest Penguin update demonstrates Google’s resolve to eliminate any interference with the link building process and encourage webmasters to do the hard work for developing contents and keep to ethical marketing practices.

Penguin was introduced on April 24, 2012 and there have been several updates of the algorithm since then.

Penguin 1.1 – First version of Penguin focused at webspam impacting 3 percent of the search queries.

Penguin 1.2 – Update aimed at websites violating Google’s quality guidelines. Less than 0.1 percent of the English-language searches were impacted.

Penguin 1.3 – Updated algorithm affected 0.3 percent of English queries and a tiny percentage of queries in Spanish, French, and Italian languages.

Penguin 2 – This was a major update that impacted more SEOs and webmasters. Google said it was better at stopping spam.

Penguin 2.1  – The spam fighting algorithm had an impact on 1 percent of all searches.

Penguin 3.0 – The major update focused on making things better for all stakeholders.

The Penguin Algorithm

Penguin is the code name for Google’s search algorithm that monitors websites spamming Google’s search results yet ranking well. The filter targets websites using black-hat SEO techniques.