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  • Posted on 21 October 2014

Through the looking glass: Google Penguin 3.0 Update

More than a year since the release of Penguin 2.0, Google has now updated their Penguin filter. This update started on Friday 17/10 and was rolled out over that weekend. What’s Penguin, you ask? In short, Penguin is an algorithm that targets webspam.

A filter to end all spam

Unlike the rest of Google’s’ algorithms, which run all the time, Penguin (along with Panda) is a filter. This means that once in a while Google will run their entire index through the filter, and sort out everything they consider link-spam. If you are hit you have to wait for the next iteration of the filter before you are included, even if you delete all your ‘spammy’ links.

More of the same

It’s too early to precisely say what is targeted, but the first reports show that the new penguin filter penalizes sites that

  • Have links from empty pages filled with links (link building software will create a lot of those)
  • Have links from unrelated Web 2.0’s
  • Have links from SAPE (a private network where link buying occurs) and other Russian link networks
  • Have a large percentage of keyword rich anchor text links.

In short, the name of the game is still the same – don’t build ‘spammy’ links and avoid using keyword rich anchor text, although Penguin 3.0 in general seems to have a larger tolerance than its predecessors. Perhaps this will be tweaked in an coming update.

Been hit before? Now is your chance.

If you were previously hit by Penguin and have cleared up your link profile you should see an increased ranking, although you may not get back to your previous rankings right away, considering how many links you removed.

The introduction of negative SEO

In the last year negative SEO has grown from a few people sitting in their basements, to a serious sub-industry in the black hat world. And, unfortunately, we are seeing reports that some sites that were targeted with negative SEO have been hit by Penguin.

This emphasizes the importance of regularly cleaning up your backlink profile and sending disavow-requests, even if you are not doing any active link building.

Bonus – EMD/PMD update.

There’s speculation that alongside Penguin, Google has lowered the value of having your keyword in the domain even further. So if you have a domain that contains your keyword and suddenly find yourself on page 2 instead of page 1, you might not have been hit with penguin.

If you want to know more about how we can work together to optimize your search results, feel free to send us an email or give us a call!  

Posted by Philip Løvland (SEO Manager)