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Wherefore art thou Penguin 3.0?

Google Penguin updates aren’t anything new, and the question “when is Penguin 3.0 coming?” is a hot topic in the search marketing industry.

What is Google Penguin?

Penguin is an algorithmic update which is aimed at decreasing the search engine rankings of websites that have violated Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. According to Google’s Head of Web Spam team Matt Cutts, sites do this by using manipulative link building techniques to achieve high rankings.
You can find out more about Penguin by watching these two videos:

Can sites do well without using spammy techniques? (Mar 10, 2014)

Is there a version of Google that excludes backlinks as a ranking factor? (Feb 19, 2014)

Penguin Update History

There were a total of 135 days (roughly 37% of a year) between the last refreshes of the Penguin algorithm. Penguin 2.0 / #4 happened on May 22, 2013 and Penguin 2.1 / #5 on October 4, 2013. If we use this as a guide, then we could have expected a Penguin refresh around February 16, 2014. As it stands (on the 3rd April 2014), 47 days have now elapsed since this benchmark for the refresh.

Why is Penguin 2.2 late?

Ultimately, Penguin 2.2 isn’t late. Google do not (publically at least) have a calendar for algorithm updates, nor do they have set, scheduled times for each of the individual algorithms. There could be many reasons why it has not been updated recently.

For example, the results from an A/B split testing experiment didn’t produce enough of a difference to warrant an update. Or possibly Google is making last-minute changes to the link metrics used to ensure that they preserve the quality of the results pages, whilst at the same time not overloading the system with sites caught up with Penguin related issues.

Whatever the reason for the delay, Google will have to at some point (in theory at least) refresh Penguin. The reason being that websites which have previously suffered from algorithmic link issues, which have then removed and disavowed links (as per the intention of Google via the algorithm) are waiting in the side-line for a second chance from the refresh.

Will it affect me?

Google Penguin updates have been affecting 100,000’s of websites since Google initiated Google Penguin way back on April 24th 2012.

Unless you (or someone previously) has used a supplier to what is commonly referred to in the SEO industry as a Black-hat SEO then there is almost certainly nothing to worry about, but it is something which you should be aware of.

What should you do?

We have a robust strategy for dealing with updates to the Penguin algorithm, so you can be assured that you are in good hands. Our Manual & Algorithmic Removal Services Team (MARS) are pioneers at Forensic Link Audits and can offer the peace of mind that your website you hasn’t been put at risk from any sudden shocks caused by Google updates.