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Penguin 3.0 Trick or Treat?

In this Halloween post we want to discuss the recent Penguin 3.0 algorithm update and more specifically the positive and negative impacts it is having on small businesses. This month has definitely been a spooky one with the recent Panda refresh and the subsequent Penguin 3.0 update that was released on Friday October 17th.

The Penguin 3.0 update has been clarified by Google to be more of a refresh or slight adjustment to the algorithm, and will be affecting about 1% of US English search queries. To put this in perspective the first Penguin update (Penguin 1.0) had far reaching impacts in the SEO industry and affected about 3.1% of US English search queries. Though 1% seems small it really means millions of searches and all depends on what terms and industries are being targeted by Google.

What have we seen so far?

When we think about Penguin 3.0 we automatically assume that it is going to be big update. However, so far the industry and the local Los Angeles SEO community has been pretty quiet about the update. Unlike Penguin updates in the past there doesn’t seem to be a lot of data showing huge negative impacts across the board. Instead like most refreshes we are seeing some websites drop in rankings and other websites actually increase in rankings. We will dive deeper into the positives and negatives, but it is important to note that Google has said they are rolling out this update over the next few weeks. This means that we could see some additional movement down the road, but for now Penguin 3.0 is looking like a slight refresh in the algorithm rather than a major change.

Treats? – The positives of Penguin 3.0

Like the recent Panda update if you participated in low quality or black hat link building in the past, but then went back and fixed your mistakes Penguin 3.0 could actually bring positive results for your website. Like most updates Penguin 3.0 is an opportunity for Google to reconsider the changes you made in your backlink audits and link profile cleaning. Websites that have tried to clean up their spammy links have been waiting until now to see if they did enough to regain Google’s trust. Many businesses that have worked with low quality SEO companies in the past are able to clean up their mistakes and if they did it correctly could actual see a significant boost in rankings.

Tricks? – The negatives of Penguin 3.0

For some websites the Penguin 3.0 update could come with negative impacts. Like most Penguin updates the recent update targets websites with low quality, black hat, or spammy link profiles. If you participated in low quality link building in the past and never got caught in an algorithm update Penguin 3.0 could be the one that catches your website. Google is constantly trying to perfect the algorithm to show the best search results possible. Because links are considered votes by Google if you use fake votes like paid links or blog networks Google considers this black hat and could penalize your website. Just because a site didn’t get caught in the past for bad link building doesn’t mean it is immune to updates in the future, so it is important to keep a high quality and natural link profile and clean up any spammy links.

What to do if you have been penalized?

If your website was caught in the Penguin 3.0 update it is important to run a full audit of your link profile. As link building has become very technical things like quality of links and diversification of anchor text are essential in keeping a clean link profile. In your Google Webmaster Tools account you will be able to see if your website has a manual penalty as well. If you have a manual penalty you can run a detox on your site and then resubmit it to Google with a reconsideration request. The process of detoxing a penalized site is extremely technical because not only do you want to clean the bad links, but you also want to make sure you don’t lose good links in the process. If you don’t feel comfortable running your own detox then our team at PureSEO would love to help, feel free to reach out to us here with any questions that you might have!