It's official: Google has launched it's 6th update, Google Penguin 3.0.

Since its official launch on Friday, October 17th, 2014, Google Penguin 3.0 has proven to be unlike other google updates. Instead of being a complete update all at once, it has been rolled out gradually and will continue to do so for a few more weeks. Not only that, but the last Google Panda update began rolling out mere months ago.

Google may have intentionally released the newest Panda update and the newest Penguin update so close together in an effort to hit weak websites doubly hard and force their webmasters to work more on fixing these sites. Panda is designed to prevent sites with "thin" content from ranking well, and give small or medium sites a better chance if they are of good quality.

Google waited until the day after Penguin 3.0's implementation to confirm the update, and was slow on sharing any details with the public. Since then, Google's webmaster trends analyst Pierre Far has since divulged further information. We now know a few important pieces of information, including the fact that Penguin 3.0 is a worldwide update, impacting all versions of Google, and the rollout is still not complete.

Less than 1% of English queries are impacted, but other language queries are affected differently. Because Penguin is mostly about a site's link profiles, it pays no attention to language, unlike Panda, another of Google's updates, which rolls out differently according to region and language of the search queries.

The goal of Google Penguin 3.0 is to cut down on spam, as is the case with all of Google's updates. But Penguin 3.0 is looking at link profiles and backlinks, to better catch sites that appear to be spamming search results. Action needed to be taken to remove "bad" links, and the update is "demoting" sites that have poor backlink profiles.

The more links a site has, the better its rank when its related keywords are searched. However, this is only true if the links are quality. Too many bad links contribute to a bad backlink profile.
There are many link building tactics that can boost a site's ranking and increase how often it shows up in searches. The most common ones are link requests, which involve asking another site to link back to that one; link buying, which is frowned upon; directories that either list a site for free or charges a fee for listing a site; content links, which can be done by guest blogging; and social links, which include forum posts, blog comments, and links in the descriptions of videos.

Content links are a good way of adding valuable backlinks to a site, as well as to drive potential customers to the site. Therefore, one can boost a website's ranking by interacting with people in comments and posts, and not concentrate solely on the fact that one needs to create backlinks.

Social links are helpful because some sites, such as twitter and linkedIn, allow two or even three places to put links.

And of course, if one sends a lot of emails, creating an email signature with Wisestamp can be a good link building tool. (https://blog.kissmetrics.com/natural-link-building-101/)

These are commonly used tactics, but not all of the are producing quality links that truly generate a better backlink profile and a better site ranking. One must make sure that the sites, directories, forums and blogs on which the links are posted are worth posting it on, otherwise all they end up with is one more bad link to contribute to a bad backlink profile.

Google support recommends not using certain linking tactics until the update is complete, so as not to adversely affect whether or not Google Penguin 3.0 positively affects a particular website or demotes it.

The following link tactics should be avoided:

  • Buying or selling links.
  • Excessive exchanging of links.
  • Creating links through automisation.
  • Links with optimised anchor text, the visible hyperlinked text on a page, in articles or press releases.
  • Links from low-quality directories or bookmark sites.
  • Links that are widely distributed in a lot of sites' footers or templates.
  • Optimised links in forum posts or signatures.

The update can be seen as an opportunity for the owners of any website to see how well they are doing, because a change in a site's rankings upon completion of the update can be an indication of the analysis that needs to be done on the site.

However, the update changes merely which links count in a site's link profile and which ones don't, meaning that a drop in a site's ranking doesn't necessarily make it an unfortunate victim of Google Penguin 3.0.

Because Google Penguin 3.0 will continue to roll out for a few weeks, search results can continue to change every day. This makes it hard to analyse its impact on a particular site until the rollout is over and we can see the full extent of the update.