Posted: November 5, 2015

What is Google Penguin?

What Does Google’s Penguin 3.0 Really Mean for Your Website?

Google recently announced they would be updating their search algorithm by rolling out Penguin 3.0 over the last few weeks of October. As with every Google Penguin update, version 3.0 has created a whole lot of buzz around the Internet.

What is Google Penguin?

To understand how Penguin 3.0 will affect your website, you first have to understand what Penguin is.

Google first launched the algorithm back in April of 2012 to combat spam found in search results. Penguin is designed to weed out websites using black hat techniques (such as keyword stuffing or link buying) to earn higher search engine rankings. It also cracks down on spam sites altogether. The original Penguin update affected 3.1 percent of all Google queries.

The second big Penguin update occurred a year later in May of 2013 with the release of Penguin 2.0. This version of the algorithm was updated to catch even more black hat techniques. It affected 2.3 percent of all Google queries.

Penguin 3.0 is simply the third version of this same Google algorithm. Though it has a few minor changes that allow it to catch more black hat techniques than ever before, it is primarily a data refresh. It is estimated that Penguin 3.0 will affect less than 1 percent of all English Google queries.

Penguin 3.0 and Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) and Google Penguin go hand in hand. SEO is the technique that makes a website more crawlable by search engines. This then makes individual web pages more accessible and easier for people to find online. Every time Google rolls out a new version of Penguin, it affects search engine optimization and the techniques you can use to improve yours.

The biggest thing to understand is the difference between the abovementioned black hat SEO and white hat SEO. To put it simply, black hat SEO is bad SEO and is categorized by Google as webspam. White hat SEO, on the other hand, is good SEO and is not penalized by Google.

Black hat SEO techniques are used to manipulate Google’s search engine algorithms in an attempt to make the website rank higher. Penguin 3.0 is even better at spotting these unscrupulous techniques than before.

Will Penguin 3.0 Affect Your Website?

Because Google does not send out an official notification on which sites are affected by the Penguin update, it can be difficult to tell whether or not yours is. Your biggest indication will be a drop in organic web traffic as well as a decrease in impressions and average keyword positions.

Fortunately, Penguin is better and better at only targeting spam sites and those that are using black hat techniques. For this reason, the most important thing you can do to prevent the new update from affecting you is to focus on producing only high-quality content and to make sure that your site fully complies with technical, content, and usability SEO best practices.