Google released the latest incarnation of the infamous Penguin algorithm, Penguin 3.0, on Friday night 17th October 2014. This release will likely send shockwaves through the world of Search Engine Optimisation because early analysis shows that it is already having an impact on a proportion of websites. Google normally suggest the percentage of websites that are likely to be affected in their own SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) but so far has been tight-lipped on the subject.
We are keeping a very close eye on the fast evolving situation here because we know that the potential impact on many company’s bottom lines could be significant, both positively and negatively.
Penguins impact on Search positions to date
The last version of Penguin, known as Penguin 2.1 was released on October 4th 2013 and impacted around 1% of all search queries. We are expecting a higher percentage of Search queries to be affected this time around. Google has had a whole year since the last major release and that is a long time in the world of the search engines, we think their developers will have been busy this time around. In fact, we believe that they have had enough time to develop, test and now release some major enhancements to what was always their primary solution to poor, spam link-building practices.
We expect to see further adherence to Googles quality guidelines which will naturally increase as businesses and organisations seek to improve their online presence.
Keep an eye on the quality of your link profile
Many businesses have come to us recently reporting a ‘manual penalty’ in Google. This has meant that their link profile has been manually analysed by Google following issues being flagged up by Penguin 2.1. The net result for many of these businesses has been a drop-off in Search engine traffic.
We have gained valuable insights into the way Google operates by helping these businesses to recover from their ‘manual penalty’ and put them back to where they belong in the SERPs.
This work has involved detailed link analysis to identify the poor toxic back-links that have been built to them over time. We have helped these businesses to remove these identified back-links and successfully communicated their efforts to Google in order to disavow the problems that we have identified. This has resulted in all of the businesses that have come to us being recovered in a relatively short period of time.
The rise of Negative SEO
We have also noted the ominous rise of Negative SEO over the course of the last year, this is where certain organisations appear to have targeted other organisations SERPs by systematically creating poor back-links to their identified targets. We have therefore seen a large rise in cases where businesses have lost their Search Engine positions through no fault of their own. In our view this is immoral but sadly not illegal in the UK. We strongly believe that there should be legislation in this area and are actively investigating the issue being brought to the attention of organisations such as the Trading Standards Web team.
What would we like to see?
We are hoping that Penguin 3.0 will help Google to address negative SEO in particular and will post as soon as we have seen the full effect of this new release of Penguin from them.
The final thing that we are hoping to see from Google is faster refreshes – which they have previously hinted at – with this latest version of Penguin as a great deal of time and patience has been key to success for many hit with the aforementioned penalties.
Whilst we await developments
For those that have been attempting to disavow bad links themselves the wait may go on for a little longer at we expect to see a cut-off, within Google, related to when these disavow requests have been made. In the meantime, for your information, here is a quick guide to the historic releases of the Penguin algorithm which you should be able to tie back to your own business or organisations historical SERPs:
Penguin 1.0 – Released April 24th 2012, impacted around 3.1% of all search queries.
Penguin 1.1 – Released May 26th 2012, impacted less than 0.1% of all search queries.
Penguin 1.2 – Released October 5th 2012, impacted around 0.3% of all search queries.
Penguin 2.0 – Released May 22nd 2013 impacted around 2.3% of all search queries.
Penguin 2.1 – Released Oct 4th 2013, impacted around 1% of all search queries.
Penguin 3.0 – Released October 17th 2014, impact not yet known!
We will keep you updated with all new developments related to the new release as they become apparent to us. If you would like to join in the conversation then please not hesitate to do so.