In 2012 we saw the release of the first Penguin Algorithm. This was followed by five subsequent updates, the last of which we saw roll out in October 2014.
Google has recently confirmed that the next Penguin update will be released early 2016. Many experts in the industry and website owners have been eagerly awaiting this latest update for the main reason that it’s said to be a real-time-version.
So what is the Penguin Algorithm and why should you be concerned this time around?
History of the Penguin Algorithm
The primary purpose of the Penguin Algorithm was to try and curb the black-hat SEO practice of using unnatural backlinks as a way of improving rankings in search engines.
To date, this is a list of all penguin releases:
- Penguin 1.0. Released on April 24, 2012 (impact: 3.1% of queries)
- Penguin 1.1. Released on May 26, 2012 (impact: less than 0.1%)
- Penguin 1.2. Released on October 5, 2012 (impact: ~0.3% of queries)
- Penguin 2.0. Released on May 22, 2013 (impact: 2.3% of queries)
- Penguin 2.1. Released on Oct. 4, 2013 (impact: around 1% of queries)
- Penguin 3.0. Released on October 17, 2014 (impact: around 1% of queries)
To those who were penalised by the last Google update, this latest one could mean a chance at redemption. Seemingly, the current Penguin Algorithm hasn’t been refreshed which means sites that were impacted negatively last time, and have since cleaned up their links, can get their website ranking again.
This is where the new update has gained so much anticipation.
The 2016 Penguin Update
The coming Penguin update is said to be a real-time version – which means as spammy links are picked up, sites should be impacted immediately. It also means when those links are cleaned up, the site can start ranking again just as quickly. This means websites who have been penalised can recover quickly once the necessary adjustments have been made.
Other than this major factor in the 2016 update, there is only speculation as to what other effects this algorithm may have, how it will work and what impact it may leave on search queries.
The best way to check if your website has been affected by an update is to monitor the amount of traffic your site is receiving. Once an update have been released, check to see if you notice any sharp declines in traffic, if so, then you may have been hit. If you see a spike in traffic, then your website may have actually benefitted from the update.
If suspicious links have been found on your website Google will notify you through Webmaster Central. From there you can manually remove each spammy links by using the disavow tool.
If you’re unsure of any links then the best thing to do is to contact a SEO professional to confirm any suspicions. From there they can take recovery actions to ensure this latest update leaves your website healthy and ranking as high as possible in the search results.