Penguin 3.0 A Refresh Affecting 1% of English Queries, Google Confirms

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Google engineer, Pierre Far, shed some new light this morning on the Penguin 3.0 update that was confirmed to have starting rolling out this past Friday.

In a post on Google+, Far revealed that Penguin 3.0 is actually a refresh and not a full-fledged update. It will affect fewer than 1% of queries in US English search results, with the main focus of the refresh being to help sites that have cleaned up webspam penalties incurred in previous iterations of Penguin.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Penguin if certain sites weren’t demoted as well, and Far also points out that one of the goals of this refresh is to have sites with newly-discovered spam get demoted in the rankings.

The difference between a ‘refresh’ and an ‘update’ is that a refresh doesn’t add any new signals to the algorithm, that’s what an update is for. With a refresh Google is running the algorithm again in order to demote sites that have been engaging in spammy activity since the last algorithm refresh, as well as help sites that have corrected their spam issues since the last refresh.

Penguin 3.0 Is Still Rolling Out

Another key piece of information we learned from Pierre Far’s Google+ post is that Penguin 3.0 is in fact still rolling out. Far describes it as a “slow worldwide rollout”, which is said to last weeks no days.

“You may notice it settling down over the next few weeks,” Far says of the Penguin 3.0 rollout. That means we won’t have all the data about the full impact of the refresh for quite a while yet.

That also means you shouldn’t be too relieved just yet if you weren’t affected by the refresh, or too disappointed if your site hasn’t recovered.

If you were affected by a previous Penguin update or refresh, and have been working hard to clean up the spam signals, it sounds like you still have a few weeks yet to see if you’ve made a recovery.

Conversely, if you feel like you dodged a bullet with this refresh, don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet. With this rollout happening over several weeks, there is still plenty of time for sites to get demoted.

What We Know About Penguin 3.0 So Far

This is a collection of the key pieces of information we know about Penguin 3.0 so far:

  • Began rolling out on Friday, October 17th
  • Currently affects less than 1% of US English queries
  • Worldwide rollout said to last several weeks
  • Full impact cannot be assessed until rollout is complete
  • A refresh, not a full fledged update
  • No new signals added to Penguin algorithm
  • Meant to help websites recover from previous iterations of Penguin, as well as demote newly-discovered spammy sites

Have you had any unique experiences with this refresh compared to other Penguin rollouts? I’d be interested to hear about it. Please leave a comment below!

Matt Southern

Matt Southern

Lead News Writer
Matt Southern is the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides.
Matt Southern
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  • nadeem

    What about Arabic websites?

  • Dan Zito

    The website which have more Spammed Links and we disavowed them previously in Disavow Tool but still they are affected after 17 October in Google SERPs.

    • abdul

      Yes, same thing happened to my site. I disavowed bad links but still got affected a lot with this new Refresh.

  • Toheed

    Yes I have seen fluctuations in rankings of some sites. It seems that it will be good for those who are doing white hat SEO and avoid spamming.

  • Nick Stamoulis

    Guess it will be a few more weeks before we really know how this shakes out. Good news for those that have been working hard at cleaning up a link profile but haven’t seen any improvement yet.

  • patty

    I went up!!!! I was hit pretty hard last year, and got a manual penalty. I spent the time to clean it up….and nothing 🙁 I had no idea that a refresh had happened, but during a random check of 8 different keywords, I noticed a fairly dramatic shift…in the right direction. Then I heard about the refresh….Hope this sticks!

  • Frank

    I’m tired of penguins. Unless you resort to bad tactics and your overall stratagey is not centered off quality content, then basically you have to expect loosing some rank.

  • Jawad

    Yes i See many change in my keywords SERP is going up for some keywords but mostly down i don’t why ?

    • Rakesh Gupta

      Just remove bad links and duplicate content.

    • Aisha John

      Just remove bad links and duplicate content. thats it.

  • Aisha

    Yes I have seen fluctuations in rankings of some sites. It seems that it will be good for those who are doing white hat SEO and avoid spamming…