Google has confirmed to Euphoric Agency that they have released update to the Penguin filter on Friday. The Penguin filter targets sites that are deemed to be spammy, especially those found in violation of Google’s guidelines about linking.
Some users have reported that they have noticed major changes in Google search results beginning late Friday night, which has led to speculation that this was due to the long-awaited Penguin Update that Google had said to expect this month.
Google hasn’t yet released more detail on the percentage of search results that the latest version of Penguin will have impacted on, or if there were any major changes made to it since the last release.
Penguin Releases Over Time
This is the sixth release of Penguin. Although Google hasn’t released the update with a number the SEO community is calling it Penguin 3.0.
Here are dates of all Penguin releases:
- 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)
Getting Caught & Freed By Penguin
Publishers have been anxious because of the way Penguin works. Publishers hit by the last version of Penguin — back in October 2013 — have been waiting until now to see if actions they’re tried such as removing spammy links have worked. If so, they’re likely seeing some improvement in traffic this weekend. If not, they have to try making more changes and then waiting until however long it takes for Google to release Penguin again.
By the way, for those who tried disavowing bad links, if you did that within the last three weeks, that was too late for this Penguin update. Our article from a talk Google gave at the SMX conference earlier this month explains more.
Do keep in mind that some people may see ranking drops but not actually be hit by Penguin. That’s because if Penguin causes a wide range of links to be discounted, those links will no longer pass along the credit or act as “votes” as they once might have.
Sites that gained from these fake votes — as Google would consider them — lose that credit and thus potentially visibility, even though they weren’t penalised by Google directly.
Google has suggested that with the latest version of Penguin, it also would have a new system allowing for refreshes to happen more frequently. Time will tell on that — the count starts now.