Penguin 3.0 Release Underwhelms

By October 24, 2014 October 27th, 2014 Digital Advertising, SEO | Inbound Marketing
Penguin 3.0

It was a cloudy Wednesday. My heartbeat quickened as I opened up SEMRush. The fears instilled in me by Penguin 2.0 were lingering in my head. A tear rolled down my cheek for no apparent reason.

As I typed in the domain name, nightmares of the past flooded my brain. And then, like a wisp in the night sky, I caught a bare glimpse:


Just kidding. This increase was on October 5th, weeks before the US release of Penguin, and had nothing to do with the algorithm change.

The reality of Penguin 3.0 is that the release has been very underwhelming thus far. Though it’s still in it’s early stages, the algorithm update that SEOs have spent the better part of a year awaiting has not impressed, as a lot of sites aren’t seeing any changes at all.

Google mentioned that it would be a “slow rollout” and that “less than 1% of queries would be affected,” so it’s very likely that we’ll see some changes in the upcoming weeks. However, the first few days have been a bit of a snoozefest.

Of the clients I personally work with, only two have seen increases that timed properly with the update. Of those two, only one can be definitively traced to the Penguin release. Even then, the website has gained 21 keywords, but top 10 has not changed:


Shown Above: A glimmer of hope

In fact, we haven’t seen much of an increase from Google/Organic traffic for this client, as keywords in the 11-20 range don’t typically give traffic.

From Google’s perspective, this makes sense. A lot of their past updates have been jarring and brutal for affected sites (Penguin 2.0 being the most ruthless). However, in a blog post by Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable, Matt Cutts of Google left a comment saying:

…expect that the next few Penguin updates will take longer, incorporate additional signals, and as a result will have more noticeable impact.

You can imagine that this left a lot of SEOs either scared or hopeful, which has led to disappointment so far.

All in all, there’s still hope and we’ll probably just have to be patient, but Penguin 3.0 has not shaken the world as we initially imagined.


Update: As of today, claimed that another update is rolling in. Although there’s no hard evidence or quotes to back it up, several people are seeing change as of this morning.


Dan McKey is an SEM Account Manager for Bluetent (pending review of this blog). You can find more posts from him here.

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