Google Penguin 3.0 was a refresh that impacted 1% of queries, it will be rolling out for the next few weeks.
Google updated their Penguin algorithm with version Penguin 3.0 late Friday night. The Penguin algorithm primarily looks at a site’s backlink profile and may demote a site that appears to have a poor backlink profile.
The Penguin 3.0 release was communicated very poorly by Google. With Google only confirming the update 24-hours after the update was release and not giving us the details they would typically give when we ask them. But this morning at 3:50am EDT, Google’s Pierre Far shared more details on Google+.
Here is the summary:
(1) This is a worldwide update, impacting all versions of Google
(2) The rollout is not complete yet, it will continue for the “next few weeks.”
(3) It impacts less than 1% of English queries but may impact other languages more or less
(4) Google confirmed the roll out began on Friday
(5) Pierre Far specifically called this a “refresh”
(6) It should demote sites with bad link profiles and help sites that were previously hit that cleaned up their link profiles
Worldwide Penguin Rollout
Unlike some of Google’s other algorithm updates, such as the Panda algorithm, the Penguin update typically launches globally. So sites in any language, any region, are all open to the potential impact of this algorithm.
Why? Since Penguin is mostly about link profiles, language doesn’t really need to be looked at by the algorithm. Panda looks more at content and language, thus those algorithms roll out different by region or language. Penguin doesn’t need to worry about language, for the most part.
Penguin Still Rolling Out
There was some confusion if the Penguin refresh was done rolling out or not. SEOs were wondering why not all sites were impacted yet, they felt the roll out was halted or not complete. But yesterday Google’s John Mueller felt it was complete but then retracted that a few hours later. Pierre Far this morning said the roll out is not complete and will likely last for a “few weeks.”
So when analyzing if a site was impacted, it may be hard to nail down the issue to Penguin or another algorithm, since this is a multi-week roll out.
Penguin 3.0 Impacts Less Than 1% Of English Search Queries
When gauging how large an update was and how much of the webmaster community felt it, Google sometimes tells us how significant it was by measuring the percentage of queries impacted.
Penguin 1.0 impacted ~3.1% of queries, 1.1 was 0.1% and 1.2 was 0.3% of queries. Then 2.0 was 2.3% of queries and 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.
Now, it may be higher in other languages, but Google’s measurement was English queries.
Penguin 3.0 Launched Friday
Google confirmed that Penguin 3.0 launched Friday, October 17, 2014. Keep in mind, the rollout will continue for a few weeks as we said above.
Penguin 3.0 – A Refresh
Google’s Pierre Far called this update a “refresh,” he didn’t mention that any new signals were added or the algorithm was changed in any way. A refresh in Google’s terminology around algorithms means they just re-ran the algorithm to release sites that fixed their issues and demote sites that had issues they didn’t pick up on. They did not add any new signals to the algorithm to find Penguin related sites, it was just a refresh.
Just a refresh even after waiting over a year? Indeed and this is pretty shocking to most of those in the SEO industry. Many expected a refresh could have happened way earlier and that Google was laying the ground work for a new Penguin algorithm.
Again, this is why some want to rename this update to Penguin 2.2 versus 3.0.
Helps Some Sites & Hurts Other Sites
Like any algorithm refresh, some sites that were previously hit would see a ranking increase because they are no longer negatively impacted by the algorithm. While other sites may see a ranking drop in the search results because they were just picked up as sites that should be impacted by the Penguin algorithm.
Note: This post is originally posted on Search Engine Land.
May 29, 2020