If there is a single event in the SEO world that sets tongues wagging more than anything else, it’s a Google search algorithm update.
Activity exploded on discussion boards amid claims that changes to the Penguin algorithm were beginning to have an impact on search results for some websites.
Within hours, Google confirmed the change but would not comment on whether the review was a simple refresh or included major new updates to the code.
Speculation had been rife for weeks that Google was planning to tweak Penguin to enable more frequent refreshes of the algorithm. It is still not known if radical adjustments are afoot and Google is unlikely to explain in detail any time soon.
First released in 2012, Penguin was designed to punish dubious blog networks that set out to fool Google by building high volumes of links from poor quality websites.
Almost a year has passed since the last update, which hit about 1 in 50 websites globally that Penguin identified were cheating to get better search rankings.
Head of Google’s Webspam team Matt Cutts speaks about last year’s Penguin update in the YouTube video below.
So far, reports are mixed on what – if any – impact the Penguin 3.0 update has had. Some data shows big improvements in rankings for some sites, while others show an equally large fall. The vast bulk of sites won’t notice any difference in their results. See our analysis on Penguin 3.0.
Previously, we said:
“Penguin is ultimately a good thing for ethical SEO professionals, as it rewards those who play by the rules. The real focus of SEO is to help quality websites and businesses attract more traffic online. And whilst keeping up with Google’s constantly changing algorithms can be a drag on productivity, taking shortcuts to get there is a big no-no.”
– Why is Penguin 3.0 good for SEO?
We argued then that creating good content and killing all links from dodgy domains was the way to go. In our view, nothing has changed.
Principled SEO professionals and agencies have nothing to fear from the latest Google shift.
While the full impact of Penguin update 3.0 is probably not yet known, experience tells us the fallout for our customers will be minimal, if they notice anything different at all.
Reaction on social networks has been muted to say the least.
How Should You React?
We urge everyone to be vigilant in checking for any major changes to their search engine rankings in the coming weeks and to keep us informed.
There are three simple ways to monitor website rankings:
- Google Analytics – Look for a drop in traffic around 18/10/14 that doesn’t ‘bounce back’ or can’t be explained by seasonality.
- Google Webmaster Tools – Similarly, search for a fall in “Clicks” and “Impressions” around the same period.
- SERPs / Rankings – Check for specific keywords that you were ranking for but now can’t be found in the top 100 results.
If you’re not playing by the rules, now is a good time to clean up your act or the consequences could be far reaching.
The only way to ensure the Penguin 3.0 update doesn’t give you a whack is to continue to focus on building quality links and valuable content on your website.
Register for a free link audit and see if your site is at risk of future penalties today.
- The Truth About Links and Link Penalties
- Why Have my Google Rankings Dropped Dramatically?
- Long Road to Recovery from Google Penalties