A-Z of Google Penguin 3.0

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After weeks of speculation, Google Penguin 3.0 is here. Our handy A-Z of Google’s latest algorithm update will help you understand what it means for you and your website.

Algorithm 101

Google Penguin is a major algorithm from the search engine giant, and looks into the spam factors seen on search results. Other important Google algorithms are:

  • Panda: An algorithm that targets thin content, content farms and websites with high ad-to-content ratios.
  • Pigeon: An algorithm focused on local search.
  • Payday Loan: An algorithm on the lookout for niches with notoriously spam-like results.
  • Hummingbird: A core algorithm update that is speculated to have resulted in changes to the Google Knowledge Graph and semantic search.

Bad link profiles impacted

People with bad link profiles should beware of Google Penguin 3.0. Examples of this frowned-upon tactic include having links on article directories and irrelevant links on forum.

Call on webmasters to remove bad links

If you discover a link that could lead to a penalty, ask the webmaster to remove it. If this doesn’t work…

Disavow Tool

If you have not been able to get your link removed via the webmaster, Google’s Disavow Tool is your next option. Using the tool, you can flag questionable links to Google and ask them to be eliminated from your website assessment.


The chart below, created by SearchMetrics and captured by SEBrief, shows that eBay.com witnessed a substantial rise in SEO visibility in the week that Google Penguin 3.0 was launched. What is particularly interesting about this insight is that the online auction site witnessed a drop in Google’s search results in May; a date that coincided with the release of Google Panda 4.0.

Google Penguin 3.0 winners

Friday feeling

Google Penguin 3.0 was released late on Friday October 17th — although this is just the initial launch date and there is more to come.

Google Webmaster Guidelines

Read through Google Webmaster Guidelines if you are concerned about Google Penguin 3.0 — the algorithm looks out for websites that attempt to increase their search rankings by going against the practices listed in the guidelines.

Happy anniversary Google Penguin

The launch date of Google Penguin 3.0 appears to be keeping up a yearly trend. The third Penguin update rolled out on October 5th 2012, while Penguin 2.1 was introduced on October 4th 2013.

Inexpensive SEO services are bad news

You should stay clear of cheap SEO services that advertise link-building packages in bulk, as you could end up with the very backlinks that Google is penalising.

John Mueller

It was John Mueller, a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google Switzerland, who originally revealed that Google Penguin 3.0 had been released. You can watch the announcement, part of a Google Hangout, on YouTube.

Know your audience

Setting up and managing your website by thinking about what people — rather than search engines — want is a fantastic strategy for protecting your website from Google Penguin 3.0.

Less than 1% of English queries

It has been widely reported that Google Penguin 3.0 has affected less than one per cent of English queries since its launch.


Mediaworks has closely monitored client profiles since the Penguin 3.0 release and, where necessary, taken action to counter negative effects.

Negative linking tactics frowned upon

Do you often buy or sell links? Have you used automation in order to establish them? Are many of your links found in the footers of websites and is this an approach you widely distribute? These linking strategies should all be avoided.

Opportunity for recovery

If you were penalised previously by the Google Penguin algorithm and have worked to sort out the issues, the launch of Penguin 3.0 could be your chance to see a recovery.

Pierre Far

With Google’s Matt Cutts on leave, Google UK Webmaster Trends Analyst Pierre Far is our go-to guy for news and updates regarding Penguin 3.0.

Quicker Penguin updates

We may have waited a year for a new Penguin, but Google has announced that it will be updating its algorithm more regularly in the future.

Refresh, refresh, refresh

In a Google+ post, Pierre Far was keen to stress that the newest version of Google Penguin should be viewed as more of a system refresh than a game-changing update.

Sixth edition of Penguin

Penguin 3.0 represents the sixth iteration of this particular algorithm. The first-ever Google Penguin algorithm was launched on April 24th 2012. Following industry chatter about an ‘over-optimisation penalty’, the update targeted websites that gained backlinks through spam tactics.

Temperatures didn’t jump off the charts

MozCast measures the activity of a Google Algorithm in terms of temperature — the higher the temperature, the higher the activity. On Penguin 3.0’s launch day, the temperature measured 73.6F. This is only marginally above the 70F average, and is substantially lower than the 93F reached with Penguin 1.0.

Unfinished business

Pierre Far mentioned in his Google+ post that the Penguin 3.0 rollout will continue “over the next few weeks” due to the scale of the updated algorithm.


Google Penguin 3.0 will see some link types discounted, which will result in them no longer counting as votes for your website. Therefore, your website may drop in rankings even if it hasn’t been penalised.

Worldwide update

As with most Penguin updates, Google Penguin 3.0 is being launched across the globe, so websites created in any language or covering any region can be affected.

X-ray of your site

If you are concerned about Penguin 3.0 and the impact on your website, please contact us and request a link detox from our SEO experts.

You already knew it was coming

We always strive to be ahead of the game at Mediaworks and we predicted Google Penguin 3.0’s release in September.

Zoo of Google — what’s next?

With many Google algorithms out there today, it can be difficult to keep up with all the changes. Keep an eye on our social media pages and we will let you know of any important updates.


Our Head of SEO, Kev Strong, said: “Penguin 3.0 is yet another step in the right direction to rewarding websites with the clean, natural and healthy backlink profiles that are to be expected with a website that prides itself on being a brand online.

“Our SEO and outreach teams will work to ensure that any historical links that now violate Google’s quality guidelines are removed or disavowed. Luckily, our ethical link-building practices mean that this isn’t a problem for most of our clients — several have actually benefited from Penguin 3.0.

“This is in direct contradiction of what many SEOs expect to happen during a Penguin update and we are confident that we will continue to benefit from Penguin updates in years to come.”


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