Every year, Google rolls out 500-600 updates and refreshes to its search algorithm, some more major than others in the way that they affect the search engine results. For marketers and webmasters alike, these changes are important because they provide data on which we then base our search engine optimization efforts for high rankings up the SERPs and a good level of organic website traffic. One update that was rolled out last year and created quite a buzz in the SEO world is Penguin 3.0. The last Penguin update to hit us prior to the one announced on October 17, 2014 was Penguin 2.1 more than a year ago.
A look at Penguin updates over the years
Google Penguin was first introduced to marketers on April 24, 2012 with the aim of driving websites with spammy link profiles out of the SERPs and detering link building intended to manipulate PageRank or a website’s rankings up the SERPs. Following the original launch of Penguin, several refreshes and updates have been pushed in the past couple of years including Penguin 1.1 and Penguin 1.2 in 2012 itself, Penguin 2.0 and Penguin 2.1 in 2013 and the latest Penguin 3.0 on October 17, 2014 affecting roughly 1% of English/US queries.
Google’s aim in rolling out so many algorithmic updates every year is to provide its users with the best possible search engine results. To stay Penguin-proof or to recover if you’ve been affected by the latest Penguin update, the key is to stay clear of any behavior that manipulates incoming links to and outgoing links from your website. Buying and selling links that pass PageRank, for example, is an SEO tactic that used to work beautifully in the past but is no longer viable. Excessive link exchanges and large-scale guest posting are also practices that have been flagged down by Google.