Google Launches Penguin 3.0 Update in 2014Google’s Penguin 3.0 Update not be too far off now. Google’s John Mueller said on a Google Hangout that he expects Penguin 3.0 algorithm update, which would be the 6th refresh, to happen within the 2014 year. In fact, John said “I am pretty confident we will have something in the reasonable future.”

What is the “reasonable future”? At this point, it is not reasonable to go 3+ months without a refresh, but if I had to guess, I’d hope to see one before the anniversary. I think that would be reasonable at this point in time. But your guess is as good as mine.

Google is working on making the refresh process faster, which should please many webmasters and SEOs if and when this actually occurs.

Google’s Penguin update is notorious for taking an extremely long time to get refreshed, leaving sites negatively impacted by it out of luck until Google finally pushes a refresh through. You can make all the changes you want in an effort to recover, but if Google doesn’t refresh it, it’s not going to make much difference.

We thought we saw Penguin updates before, but Google told it was not a Penguin update. I definitely believe Google has been testing Penguin updates in the live index but again, they have not fully released it yet.

Penguin 3.0 is expected to be a major update, making the algorithm more capable of running more frequently so that those impacted wouldn’t have to wait too long before seeing a refresh. Something like how Panda is now run monthly.

What Is Penguin Again? And How Do I Deal With It?

For those new to the whole “Penguin” concept, Penguin is a part of Google’s overall search algorithm that periodically looks for sites that are deemed to be spamming Google’s search results but somehow still ranking well. In particular, it goes after sites that may have purchased paid links.

If you were hit by Penguin, you’ll likely know if you see a marked drop in traffic that begins today or tomorrow. To recover, you’ll need to do things like disavow bad links or manually have those removed. Filing a reconsideration request doesn’t help, because Penguin is an automated process. Until it sees that what it considers to be bad has been removed, you don’t recover.

If you were previously hit by Penguin and have taken actions hopefully meant to fix that, today and tomorrow are the days to watch. If you see an improvement in traffic, that’s a sign that you’ve escaped Penguin.

History Of Penguin

The first release of Penguin took place on April 24, 2012, and it landed on the industry like a ton of bricks. From my perspective, everything seemed normal when Penguin 1.1 landed on May 25, 2012.

Things were looking like Panda, that we might expect regular updates, and webmasters who had been gobbled up by Penguin had a reasonable way to recover if they cleaned up their acts and started doing what Google wanted. But then the updates became rare. Here is the entire update history:

Penguin #1 (1.0): April 24, 2012
Penguin #2: May 25, 2012
Penguin #3: October 5, 2012
Penguin #4 (2.0): May 22, 2013
Penguin #5: October 4, 2013
Penguin #6: (3.0) Any Time Soon

We had five updates in just over two years, and now none in almost 10 months. [Editor’s Note: Google’s Matt Cutts said in June at SMX Advanced that “it’s probably about time” for an update; over a month later, that has yet to happen].

When you get hit by a Penguin, you are done. Toast. Not only that, if you go through a link cleanup project to try and position for yourself for recovering in the next release, and you miss it, when will you get another chance?

The Counterpoint

Why is Google handling Penguin this way? I can think of only three possible answers:

Doing data refreshes of the algorithm is incredibly hard. I only list this one for completeness, because I don’t believe it to be true.

They believe that frequent data refreshes would make it too easy for churn and burn spammers. This one is a real possibility.

They are frustrated and angry after a long war against a tide of spammers that never stop. Just like the Roman army trying to hold back the barbarians.

Could it be that the third reason explains why Penguin almost never updates? All I can say to that is, I hope not.

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