Google has confirmed that Penguin 3.0 has been released and implemented, which is its first major algorithm update in over a year. Although the search engine giant had previously said to expect the long-awaited upgrade at some point in October, it began rolling out on Friday 17th.

Penguin 3.0 details

Even though the intrinsic details of Penguin 3.0 are not yet known, this latest algorithm overhaul will target spammy sites, in particular those that are in violation of Google’s linking guidelines.

As of yet, Google has not confirmed details about the percentage of search results that are affected or whether there have even been any major changes since its previous release.

However, it is one of the most highly anticipated updates in the company’s history, with marketers and publishers waiting with bated breathe to see what will be different. The last Penguin incarnation (2.0), released on 22nd May 2013, impacted around 2.3 per cent of queries. However, it remains to be seen what influence Penguin 3.0 will have.

Impact of Penguin 3.0

Since its release, various SEO reporting tools have demonstrated the impact it has had. However, this data has been quite strange and sporadic, with some reporting stations showing sharp inclines, some showing sharp declines and others showing little fluctuation whatsoever.

Russ Jones of Virante believes this is because Penguin 3.0 is eluding search volatility tools. However, Dr. Peter Myers of Moz believes the small shifts and movements mean that large-scale shake-ups are unlikely. Even so, he went on to add that the data is nothing like any other Penguin update so far.

Several marketers, publishers and developers are fairly worried about Penguin 3.0, because if your site is affected by the update, you then have to wait until the next release to see whether counter changes are good or bad in Google’s books.

That means those hit by the last version, back in October 2013, are waiting to see whether their actions worked. Steps and measures such as removing spammy links should work in theory, but only an improvement in recent traffic will be a clear indication of whether certain adjustments were successful. If they weren’t, it could be a long wait until the next Penguin update.

Dealing with Penguin updates

If your ranking has dropped since Penguin’s release, it may be because the update discounted a wide range of links, which no longer act as virtual “votes” of approval. Despite the fact that these credits were penalised by Google directly, they can have a knock-on affect for your site. Therefore, it might not be your site that has been punished by Google, but rather the behaviour of others.

To protect against future updates, Search Engine Journal founder Loren Baker has this advice:

“Amazing content is the only thing that is Google update-proof. Google will never penalize useful, unique content that the user is actually looking for. Instead of spending your time on trying to beat Google algorithms, you should be focusing on asking yourself what your ideal end user really wants. After all, that’s what Google is doing.”