Penguin 3.0: A Refresh Impacting 1% of English Queries

Penguin 3.0: A Refresh Impacting 1% of English Queries

The long awaited and widely anticipated Penguin 3.0 update from Google is finally here. Google updated their Penguin algorithm with version Penguin 3.0 this past Friday night. It should be rolling out for the next few weeks now. The Penguin algorithm primarily looks at a site’s backlink profile and may demote a site that appears to have a poor backlink profile.

In a post on Google+, Google’s Pierre Far revealed that Penguin 3.0 is actually a “refresh” and not a full-fledged update. It impacts less than 1% of English queries but may impact other languages more or less, with the main focus of the refresh being to help sites that have cleaned up webspam penalties incurred in previous iterations of Penguin.

Penguin 3.0 Is Still Rolling Out

There was some confusion if the Penguin refresh was done rolling out or not. Last Saturday night, the Penguin update seemed to have settled down. SEOs were wondering why not all sites were impacted yet, many thought it wasn’t done and those assumptions were indeed correct. Google said that it wasn’t done. However, it was partially done because the fluctuations stopped then. On Tuesday, October 21st, Google’s Pierre Far revealed on Google+ that “it’s a slow worldwide rollout, so you may notice it settling down over the next few weeks.”

That means we won’t have all the data about the full impact of the refresh for quite a while yet. And also you shouldn’t be too relieved just yet if you weren’t affected by the refresh, or more disappointed if your site hasn’t recovered.

Penguin Impacts

Penguin 1.0 impacting 3.1 percent of queries – targeted sites with backlinks that had anchor text overly optimized for money keywords. Penguin 1.1 was 0.1% and 1.2 was 0.3% of queries.

The next big hit was on May 22, 2013, Penguin 2.0 was 2.3% of queries – went deeper and attacked sites that engaged in “black hat” practices – comments, directory listings, internal pages of blog networks, articles and mass link buying of pretty much any sort, came under its purview.

Penguin 2.1 was about 1%. Penguin 3.0, which some may argue is 2.2 and not 3.0, impacted less than 1% of queries. Throughout 2014, we haven’t heard a single update about Penguin—not even a refresh. Now, it may be higher in other languages, though Google’s measurement was English queries.

Penguin 3.0 So Far

Here is a collection of the key points of Penguin 3.0:

  • This is a worldwide update, impacting all versions of Google
  • Began rolling out on Friday, October 17th
  • Currently, it impacts less than 1% of English queries
  • A refresh, not a full-fledged update
  • It should demote newly discovered sites with bad link profiles and help sites that were previously hit that cleaned up their link profiles
  • The rollout is not complete yet, it will continue for the “next few weeks.”