Google Penguin 3.0 first analysis

Today, October 18th, 2014; one year and 2 weeks after Penguin 2.1, we’ve finally got a new, fresh Penguin 3.0!

This time, the update wasn’t as obvious as Penguin 2.1. I believe it rolled out slower and didn’t hit some websites as hard as the last one. This meant there was a lot of doubt in the SEO community as to whether it is really Penguin.

Penguin 3.0 Recoveries

There is quite a lot of recovery samples all across the internet. I will focus on just one that I can share (got the green light from the owners).

The website was hit with Penguin 2.0 and then with 2.1. I have worked on this website for a few months now and managed to triple their visibility in SearchMetrics. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get any higher because of Penguin. Now, the site seems to have recovered to an extent.


  • Recovery is visible because of the 100s of keywords going up and which almost flooded my position checker.
  • Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like the site has fully recovered yet, as our expectations were much higher. It’s either that Penguin 3.0 is still rolling, or the website didn’t recover as well as we expected.
  • Some keywords plummeted in rankings totally.

Sites penalized – examples

Fully dropped

Partially dropped

Some examples of sites hit with Penguin 3.0 (negative impact)

So far, I’ve counted around ~50 sites deeply affected by Penguin 3.0. Recoveries of my Penguin customers, just as well as affiliate sites and spammy sites. I am working on a group analysis of all the websites I’ve managed to gather so far. Soon, I will publish all the findings here and also on

SearchMetrics winners

SearchMetrics – losers

First conclusions

Googlers mentioned a few times that the next Penguin updates will be rolled out on a monthly basis (just like Panda).

From the few websites I saw already, I wonder if Penguin will also be applied on a page-level instead of domain level (it was like that so far). Some of my findings confirm this, but it is most likely just a coincidence.

90% of people mentioned that they are really disappointed with this Penguin. Most likely because the “spam” tolerance is much higher than many expected

It didn’t fix the negative SEO problem (again Penguin hit the negative SEO websites, including my “Kumar negative SEO” customers).

Overall, I hope it is still rolling or that maybe they will create some backdoor for small business owners hit with real negative SEO (for example Kumar’s directories, etc.). So far, Penguin got most of the spammiest sites, but guys doing “some” black hat, are still doing fine.

Update – October 21st, 2014

Before the Penguin 3.0 release, we heard a lot about Penguin being updated on a monthly basis. Unfortunately, today’s hangout with John Mueller didn’t confirm this information.

Later in the discussions, John mentioned that the holiday season is coming, and he is not expecting any major updates during that time.

Later in the discussions, he also mentioned that he is not expecting any further updates till the beginning of next year.

In my opinion, John Mueller wasn’t informed about the update and it seemed like he is a little bit confused with the questions. Pierre Far confirmed it for me in his Google Plus announcement today.

So we’ve got two statements now, one from John Mueller and one from Pierre Far. I believe that Pierre wanted to correct John Mueller’s answer from yesterday’s hangout.

In my opinion, Googlers are not too happy with the scale of Penguin 3.0 and will run it again with a stronger “threshold” this time. Matt Cutts mentioned a few times that they read black hat forums after releasing new algorithms. Imagine Matt Cutts (or whoever has taken his place now) reading a “So why I survived in Penguin 3.0?” post on

Therefore, I would expect Google to push the red button again quite soon with a stronger threshold this time 🙂

original post with Penguin 3.0 prediction

I hope you guys managed to dodge a bullet, but if you weren’t so lucky, you can use my Orca Method or just contact me about a link audit!