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What Google’s Latest Penguin 3.0 Update Means To You4 min read

4 min read

Now the dust has settled on yet another animal-based Google update, our Business Development Executive Emma takes a look at what that means for online businesses.

For anyone that doesn’t know, the Penguin algorithm was introduced in April 2012 with the intention of punishing those with poor backlink profiles particularly those who had bought links through link farms. If your site gets caught by Google in any Penguin update, improvements you make to regain its approval aren’t recognised until the next update.

Here lies the reason why many webmasters have been eagerly anticipating this refresh, as it’s been over a year since the last update they can now begin to see if any changes they’ve made have paid off.

1. It is a global update

Unlike other algorithms Penguin is updated on a global scale so this effects all versions of Google

2. First update in over a year

Officially released last Friday it’s expected to continue to roll out over the next few weeks

3. It’s impacted only 1% of English search queries

Thinking of this on scale it’s a tiny proportion, the impact on other languages may be more or less

4. It should demote the organic visibility of sites with bad link profiles and help improve visibility for sites who have worked to restore poor link profiles

For those hit by the last Penguin update, this is a much-awaited update – however, any changes made within the last 3 weeks were too late to be taken into account this time around.

Increasing ranking post-Penguin update

1.  Clear out unrelated links

This is simple – if you’re selling flowers you shouldn’t have links to sites talking about the worlds fastest cars or the best healthy chicken recipes as these are not related to the context of your site and will make you appear spammy to Google.

2. Do not buy links – earn them from guest posting or creating great content for relevant sites to link to

Google is smart, and it can identify the difference between a purposefully bought link and a hard-earned content-driven link if you try and fool the algorithm your only going to damage your site reputation in the long run.

3. Make sure links to your site don’t all use the same anchor text

If you’re trying to create links for flower delivery you need to ensure the anchor texts for these links vary, for example, “buy flowers online” “buy flowers” “flowers delivery London” etc. If not Penguin assumes the links are spam as they appear unnatural to the algorithm.

4. Try your hardest to only use contextual links

Penguin favours links in the body of the text as these provide more value to users. Sponsored links that are stuffed in the sidebars and footer of the page may prove to be invaluable to you and not gain Penguin’s approval. 

5. Create a mix of follow/no-follow links to make a natural profile

Internal follow links provide the real SEO value and are what Google recognises as credible to your site, internal no-follow links don’t pass any value from one link to another.

For example if you had a homepage with an internal blog link in the header and the footer both those internal links will pass value from the homepage to your blog page doing this twice will dilute the amount of page value you have to pass through, its like having 10 sweets and giving two of them to the blog and one to everyone else.

6. Get citation building

It has been implied for a while now that co-citation, when one website is mentioned by two context-relevant sites, influence the ranking algorithms of Google – to think of it simply, a link without a link.

Without getting too technical, it is important to put emphasis on your brand being mentioned by relevant sources, around the contextually relevant or semantically related text. This indicates to Google that these three websites are symbiotically interrelated and helps improve your rankings.


If you think you have been hit by Penguin 3.0 then it’s advisable to start making changes now. Below is a list of all the Penguin updates that have happened, as you can see they’re inconsistent with no equal time frame between them, therefore, it is hard to say when the next update will be.

  • Penguin 1.0 on April 24, 2012 (impacting ~3.1% of queries)
  • Penguin 1.1 on May 26, 2012 (impacting less than 0.1%)
  • Penguin 1.2 on October 5, 2012 (impacting ~0.3% of queries)
  • Penguin 2.0 on May 22, 2013 (impacting 2.3% of queries)
  • Penguin 2.1 on Oct. 4, 2013 (impacting around 1% of queries)
  • Penguin 3.0 on October 17, 2014 (impacting around 1% of queries)