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

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

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 has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing... Read Full Bio
Matt Southern
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